It’s been a blooming marvellous winter – reckon some of Doncaster’s gardeners.
The weather may be turning cold now, but the mild weather in the borough up to this point has brought out blooms which are not usually seen until the spring.
One great-grandmother was overjoyed to find that her favourite flower bush has bloomed six months earlier than expected.
Anne Parrott, aged 70, was shocked to see that her Rhododendron bush had started to bloom in late December and now – less than a month later – it is fully flowered.
“I couldn’t believe it when I saw the buds just before Christmas,” said Anne.
“At that time we were supposed to be getting some frost so I didn’t want it to flower. But that didn’t happen and the bush is in full bloom now.
“It’s a pink apple blossom colour, it’s beautiful.”
The bush is extra-special to Anne because it was given to her by her late daughter Amanda, shortly before she died aged 29 in 2000.
Anne said: “My daughter Amanda, who was very young when she died of a heart attack, gave it to me.
“I feel like this must be a message from her. You always think of your family at Christmas, so this was like a Christmas present from her.
“I have other rhododendron bushes in my garden, but this is the only one that comes through, I think it’s because this one was a present from Amanda.”
She added: “I’m so surprised – I keep looking at the bush to make sure the flowers are still there.”
The grandmother-of-five said seeing the bright colour of the bush has lifted her spirits through a period of ill health.
“I haven’t been very well in recent times, I’ve had kidney failure, but to see the bush flowered in the garden is really uplifting. It’s amazing,” she said.
“It doesn’t normally come out until June, or late May at the earliest, so I was very shocked to see it coming out in December.
“I know we’ve had mild weather, but even so I didn’t expect it. I have been a keen gardener for all my adult life, for at least 30 years, and I have never known Rhododendrons bloom at this time of year.
“Rhododendrons are my favourite flowers, I love them. Myself and my husband Michael will go to National Trust properties to see them.”