When I chose to buy bulbs of Nerine filamentosa, I was wooed by the catalogue description of flowers so delightful that one might imagine they were sent from heaven. How easily seduced am I? Three bulbs duly arrived in spring. I noted they were much smaller than those of other nerines and wondered if I had made a mistake: the bulbs were not inexpensive. I potted them carefully in gritty compost and kept them warm and toasty in the greenhouse over summer. Up sprung three tufts of thread-like leaves, closely resembling weedy grass. My precious nerines looked generally unpromising, as so many bulbs do when out of flower.
A couple of weeks ago, slim buds started to emerge on long, snakelike stems. With their fuzzy surface the flower ‘scapes’ appeared entirely unrelated to the smooth, shiny leaves. Each bulb produced one scape, and they stopped growing about at about 20cm high, exploding into umbels of a dozen or so clear pink flowers. The tepals recurve dramatically, recoiling gaily like a gymnasts’ ribbons, whilst stamens and stigma project proudly forward. The appearance of the flowers is part balletic, part oriental, but on the whole lovely to behold.
It turns out the catalogue description was pretty accurate. I should have more faith. N. filamentosa is a very pretty nerine. Petite, perhaps, but the thought of my bulbs clumping up and producing a more generous display in future is mouthwatering. TFG.