Janneke Brinkman
botanical artist

What began as a strong professional interest in nerines has evolved into a truly unique relationship, with nerines now being an inextricable part of her life. In this story, she lets us in on how this came about.

Janneke Brinkman
botanical artist

 “Thanks to Bas van Keulen, a nerine breeder from the Dutch town of Heemskerk, I was able to draw the nerine’s bulb as well as its flower. Since they are normally seen in bouquets, you usually only get to see the nerine flower, but as a botanical artist, I was keen to see the plant in its entirety – how the leaf emerges from the bulb, and what the bulb, roots and buds look like. Unlike a photograph, a drawing allows you to show several different stages all at the same time. In my opinion, the best flower illustrations are those which achieve a carefully balanced combination of botanical aspects and artistry. And that’s the challenge I’ve been setting myself for years, with every pencil stroke.

I’ve had a special bond with the nerine ever since, and nerines have been with us on many family occasions, both joyous and sorrowful: we had nerine bouquets at the funerals of my father-in-law, my brother-in-law and my own mother, for example, and when our beloved granddaughter Berenice passed away, small arrangements of nerines were placed on top of her tiny coffin too.

As you can imagine, it means such a lot to me that the nerine breeders have since named a white with pink nerine after her. Together with our son, Eduard, and his wife Paula – Berenice’s parents – we attended a flower-naming ceremony during a Nerine Flower Show at the Hortus in the Dutch town of Haren and christened this Berenice in champagne. We are delighted and very honoured that this beautiful flower will enable her name and memory to live on in such a natural and colourful way. I really hope that, once the bulbs are readily available, this Berenice will soon be bringing joy to many, many people. And our Berenice will always be with us, in our hearts.”

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