Despite the lack of light and heavily sodden ground some flowers have begun to bloom, helped by the milder temperatures and fewer ground frosts over the winter months.
The most surprising appearance perhaps comes from the extremely rare rhododendron magnificum, which has reemerged in Cornwall – marked as only the second time the plant has flowered in 30 years.
The evidence comes from the National Trust’s annual survey – held each Valentine’s Day – which confirmed that while many flowers are reluctant to bloom until the drier and brighter seasons, some blooms are withstanding the blustery conditions.
After studying 23 properties across the South West, the National Trust’s Ian Wright said: “Our gardens in the South West are already a profusion of blooms at ground level with masses of snowdrops and crocuses.
“When you look up you can see bountiful blooms from camellias, and soon the rhododendrons and magnolias.”
A breakdown of the survey shows snowdrops were the most commonly spotted flower, in 85.2% of gardens, followed by primroses (52.5%), daffodils (33%) and camellias (13.6%).
Both tulips and rhododendrons were recorded in 1.1% of gardens, while magnolias were not discovered at any of the sites.
Mr Wright added: “The Met Office has said its been the wettest winter since records began, however, despite some rather wet and windy weather, our annual flower count has shown that spring is very much starting to peep its head through the rather soggy ground and all thanks to the current very mild conditions.”
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