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flowers a-z: n is for nerine

by SarahB

Welcome back for another adventure in the floral alphabet!  This week in A-Z, “N” is for the precious and lovely Nerine.  Nerine, sometimes called a “spider lily,” is native to South Africa, although the bulb is now grown throughout the world.  Nerine is in the same family as the perhaps more familiar winter-blooming amaryllis bulb.

Nerine is lightly fragrant and quite simple to use in designs.  The stems have no leaves to be pared and each blossom has several buds that will eventually open and bloom.  Because the nerine has a delicate composition, I like to display it with other more substantial blooms.

Please join me after the jump for a very spring-y and abundant arrangement, highlighting the sweet nerine. –Sarah

Because the nerine are a bold pink hue, I decided to choose a richly colored blue vase for contrast.

I also happened to pick up these completely amazing cornflower blue Dutch hydrangea, which I thought would set a fabulous landscape for the arrangement.  The bulk of these hydrangea will facilitate nerine placement.  You could actually fill out the entire vase with 3-5 hydrangea and then simply add nerine, if you were so inclined.  But you know I prefer to really jeuje, so…

Mustard yellow yarrow will do the trick.  I think this combination of the blue and yellow has a very Country French feel.  Notice I added the yarrow in a cluster, almost forming a strip, just to the left of center in the arrangement.  Particularly when using a shock of bright color, it can be interesting to “color block” in this way.  It adds a modern twist to an arrangement of otherwise classic blooms.  I also worked in a European, pavé style with this arrangement, which works beautifully for displaying the nerine.

Going with a spring theme, I added muted pink parrot tulips (aren’t they outrageous with that green feathering?), blush peonies and soft pink astilbe.  I like how the hydrangea allow the other blooms to nestle right in.

And finally, the nerine (in various stages of opening) along with some baby yellow ranunculus.  In fact, this arrangement might be a wonderful “new baby” gift!  You have your pinks, you have your blues…

With each passing day, the various elements in this arrangement will continue to grow and change shape.  The tulips will literally continue to grow a few inches in water and open up wide, the peonies, ranunculus and nerine will also evolve and bloom.  So, for those wildflower/garden style lovers, your arrangement that started in rather a neat bundle will let its hair down soon enough :)

Enjoy working with spring bulbs of all kinds while we still have them and join me back here in two weeks when “o” will be for…

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  • Hi,
    Thats a lovely arrangment! I would love love love to learn more about flower arranging. Do you know of any classes in the DC area?


  • Nerines are in flower in Scotland in late september, early october. I’m an October 5th baby and apparently came very close to being called Nerine as a consequence!

    I *love* your arrangement, although I’m not sure that it works as a vehicle to highlight the nerines per se- there’s so much other loveliness going on that it’s hard to pick out a central feature.

    We regularly grab a huge handful of Rhus cotinus (I think more properly called Cotinus coggygria) and fill a vase with its dark oxblood leaves and the amazing pops of pink nerines. Perhaps this is by force of ‘what’s still in the garden in October’ but it looks great, as far as I’m concerned!

    I’d never thought of nerines as a spring flower- I stand corrected!

  • Thanks, all, for the wonderful comments! I love learning from you all and hearing about your experiences with flowers as much as I love working with the blooms!

    xo – Sarah

  • I love the way you balance out the bright pink with the other colors, such a beautiful mix. I didn’t know Nerine is related to amaryllis – thanks for the great tips and floral lesson!

  • I love your arrangement, it’s so different and stunning. I had to do a double-take at those hydrangea; I thought they were made of paper they’re so perfect looking!

  • Hi just as Spring is blooming in the States here in New Zealand I have just finished pulling the last of the Nerines out of our flower beds. They pop up EVERYWHERE in the spring and all throughout the fall. The kicker is that instead of Nerine or Spider lily we like to call them Naked Ladies because of the straight stalk and Pink flowers with no leaves :) Thought i would put that out there.