Tropical Gardens UK: Nerine Collection at West Dean Gardens

Its rare to come across any nerine in the UK unless it is the ubiquitous (and the only species proven to be hardy in the UK) Nerine bowdenii - the Guernsey lily, name as such despite its South African origins! However there are approximately 20–30 other half-hardy and tender species in the genus, the exact number of which is still being debated by scientists.

As you would expect from a genus with such a showy blooms, Nerines have been widely cultivated and much hybridized worldwide, especially Nerine bowdenii, N. masoniorum, N. sarniensis and N. undulata. Notably, the hybrid cultivar 'Zeal Giant' with its umbels of deep pink flowers up to 5 cm across has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. However most of the other 20 species are rarely cultivated and very little is known regarding their biology. 

In fact many species are threatened with extinction due to the loss or degradation of their habitat which is why the collection of Nerines on show in the Victorian glass house is something very species indeed. Where else are you going to see such a range of quality plants in bloom?

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