Guernsey Lily


Back in 2015, we spent a couple of weeks exploring the Bailiwick of Guernsey. The first week was spent camping with friends from London and the second week with some old friends we'd met in Swansea but who had returned to live on the island of their birth. It did mean we had the best guides on the island!

One of the mementoes we brought back were some Guernsey Lilies (Nerine sarniensis) given to us by a local breeder (and brother-in-law of our friend). A bulbous perennial originally from South Africa, the dormant bulb spends most of its time in our frost-free greenhouse and only comes out at this time of year when it is in flower. Fortunately, the flowers do last for a month or so. This year only one of our plants has flowered; the others have produced leaf so hopefully will flower next year.

Both pictures (taken with a Moto G Play) are of the same flower which is definitely orange in colour!

Guernsey is a great place to visit though much of its history is based around the German occupation in WWII. Lots of great walks and if you go in August, as we did, plenty of local fetes to visit. We took boat trips out to Herm and Sark but did not manage to get out to Alderney.

The Bog Garden

 We had the bathroom re-fitted at the beginning of 2020 which left us with various bits of hardware to dispose of. It was easy to re-purpose the toilet into a bog garden. The artwork on the pan lid is entirely Mary's.

The pan was lined with black plastic and filled with coir (recovered from last season's Quadgrows) plus a little homemade compost and perlite. A small plastic plant pot was added for watering; the compost needs to be kept damp and coir is especially good at retaining water. Two pitcher plants, bought from a local shop, were set in the compost fore and aft. The picture below was taken on 7th June 2020, about two months after planting. Both plants (Sarracenia purpurea) had settled in well and were producing more trumpet pitchers on a regular basis.

During the hot summer of 2020, the plants suffered some scorching as the bog garden was facing nearly due south. The pitcher plants seemed to 'enjoy' the sunshine but not the heat. In August we moved it to a more sheltered east-facing location where it over-wintered.

In Spring 2021, the bog garden was moved once again to a west-facing position near the newly built summerhouse where it would be more visible and more likely to receive regular watering.

This year the pitcher plants have flowered (11th June 2021):

The flowers are an engineering wonder designed for pollination by bees whilst avoiding self-pollination (diagram courtesy of Wikipedia). 

courtesy of Wikipedia
The flowers generally last for about 2 weeks after which seeds form and mature. Here are photos from  June 30th:

July 5th:

Sept 21st:

They certainly give value for money and require very little maintenance apart from keeping the soil damp with rainwater. OK, sometimes they get the odd treat if I find a dead fly but they are largely self-sufficient.

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