Date: 
Monday, November 28, 2011 - 09:00

Daffodils are flowering outdoors at Cornwall’s Eden Project earlier than ever before.

The first daffodils started blooming in mid-November near the iconic bee sculpture and the project now has around 30 flowers with more expected, adding a vibrant burst of colour to the winter landscape.

The daffodils are Rijnveld's Early Sensation, a variety which typically flowers in January.

Don Murray, Eden's Chair of Horticulture, said: "Cornwall is a paradise used to early flowering, however the extra special and quite bizarre, warm temperatures this November really are more akin to spring. I'm sure the first few cold snaps will remind us that winter is approaching, in the meantime we are enjoying the splash of colour!"

Alistair Griffiths, Eden's Science Curator, said: “It is unique that we are still enjoying summer wildlife such as butterflies and some fungi, alongside early budding and flowering shrubs and bulbs. This is likely to be down to the mild autumn and the unusual recent rainfall patterns in the South West.

"A recent study by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology concluded that seasonal events in the UK were occurring on average 11 days earlier than a generation ago. Scientific investigations of nature are critical for us to better understand and sustainably live on our planet.”

Other winter horticultural highlights at Eden include Midwinter Fire which can be found outdoors and features bright orange and red-tipped stems from late autumn through until early spring.

In the Rainforest Biome, Pink Powderpuff (Calliandra haematocephala) is flowering with bright crimson pom-pom flowers while the white-flowered Broom (Retama monosperma), one of the earliest brooms to flower with snowy cascades of scented blooms, is putting on a show in the Mediterranean Biome.

For more festive sparkle, Eden’s Christmas festival has now started with evenings featuring lantern parades, live music, ice-skating and seasonal food and crafts. The Time of Gifts nights run from 6pm every Friday and Saturday from now until December 17 and every night from Tuesday, December 27 through to Friday, December 30. For more information, opening times and prices see www.edenproject.com.