Type of FlowersGuernsey lily:
Guernsey lily called ( Nerine sarniensis,Jersey lily) is a species of flowering plant. Despite its common name it is neither a true lily nor does it originate from the Channel Isles. In fact, as a member of Amaryllidaceae it is more closely related to Amaryllis and Sternbergia, and native to the Northern and Western Capes of South Africa. It is a bulbous perennial growing to 45 cm (18 in) tall by 8 cm (3 in) wide, with strap-shaped leaves and umbels of crimson, lily-like flowers with conspicuous stamens, in late summer and early autumn. Widely cultivated in the temperate world, it is particularly associated with the island of Guernsey, as reflected in both its Latin and common names (sarniensis means "from Guernsey").It requires winter protection in colder areas. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.
The Guernsey Lily was the first Nerine to be cultivated in Europe and is reported to have been grown in Paris in 1630. 200 years later and the Nerine blooms were among the first flowers to be exported to London in the infancy of the island's s horticultural industry.
The Guernsey lily or 'Nerine sarniensis' was so-named because Sarnia was the name given to the island by the Romans.
The bulb is indigenous to South Africa and grows in the wild on Table Mountain and other south western mountains of the Cape Province of South Africa. There are about 30 known species of the lily, or amaryllis, growing wild in South Africa and some of these have a number of cultivated forms. In its natural state it has several colour forms ranging from scarlet to crimson, but can also be found in white.
Local legend states that the first bulbs were washed ashore on the west coast of Guernsey from a Dutch ship wrecked whilst en route from Japan.
Another story claims that it was introduced by green fingered Roundhead General Lambert, during his imprisonment in Castle Cornet. What now seems more likely is that a homebound Dutch East India Company ship put in at Cape of Good Hope where the crew collected nerines from Table Mountain. Six bulbs were given to Jurat de Saumarez after the vessel was temporarily 'cast ashore' on mid 17th century Guernsey.
Guernsey Lily - the Folklore Story There is an other intriguing story of how the 'Guernsey Lily' came to the Island. Legend holds that a handsome fairy prince met and fell madly in love with Michelle de Garis, a beautiful Guernsey girl. Michelle left her cottage early one morning to see to her cows. As she entered the meadow, she was surprised to find a young man asleep on the grass. He had a particularly small stature, was finely proportioned, and remarkably handsome. Michelle stood and admired the small man dressed in green and with bow and arrow. When he awoke he told Michelle that he was a fairy prince from England and asked for her hand in marriage, as they had both instantly fallen in love. She agreed but as they headed to Fairyland she asked that she leave a token to reassure her family. The prince gave her a bulb, which she planted. Michelle's mother later discovered a beautiful flower above Vazon bay, on the west coast of Guernsey. It was the colour of Michelle's shawl and sprinkled with elfin gold - the Guernsey lily. Sometime later on, many fairy men came from Fairyland, entranced by Michelle's beauty and looking for a Guernsey girl of their own. They asked that Guernseymen gave up their wives and daughters, which ended in many battles between the fairies and Guernseymen. The Rouge Rue (Red Road) is said to have been named after a particularly fierce battle.
Each October there is a Nerine Festival in the Guernsey events calendar. Hundreds of varieties in a wide range of colours are shown at the lower glasshouse, Candie Gardens, St Peter Port. The bulbs form part of the Guernsey National Council for the Conservation of Plants and Gardens.