Warmth brings early golden host

MEGAN MILLER
Last updated 07:44 05/10/2012

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This year's unusual transition into spring, marked by torrential rain and dramatic temperature shifts, has left its mark on some seasonal South Cantabrians - the daffodils.

At Pleasant Valley Daffodils in Geraldine, commercial grower Gordon Coombes said his season will be ending a week to 10 days earlier than in a typical year.

"I'm picking flowers now that I'd normally pick around the middle of October," he said.

It's a phenomenon that appears to be affecting growers all over New Zealand, he said.

"I've been to the [World Daffodil Convention] in Dunedin last weekend, and all the growers throughout the country are saying the same thing," he said. "North Island growers have had to put flowers in the fridge to have flowers for the show."

Mr Coombes and other local daffodil growers speculated that the unusual growing season could have been caused by the heavy rains of August combined with warmer temperatures that arrived not long after.

"It's just one of those quirky oddball seasons," said Alistair Davey, a member of the National Daffodil Society of New Zealand. "Once they got that rain they just kind of grew overnight, and then the warm nor'westers really brought them into it."

He estimated that the beginning of daffodil season arrived in the Timaru area as much as a fortnight earlier than usual, which might have been a boon for the Timaru Horticultural Society show.

"We sometimes struggle to get many flowers, so that was probably one of the best shows we've had in years," he said.

Normally, Pleasant Valley Daffodils stays open to visitors through Labour weekend, but this year Mr Coombes might close a week early.

"I've been doing this for 19 years and I can't remember a season quite like it," he said. "But you just take it as it comes."

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- The Timaru Herald

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