William shocked by mutant flower in garden

WHEN William Underwood strolled into his Suffolk garden to check on his recently planted batch of chrysanthemums he received quite a shock when he spotted what turned out to be a rare genetic mutation.

WHEN William Underwood strolled into his Suffolk garden to check on his recently planted batch of chrysanthemums he received quite a shock when he spotted what turned out to be a rare genetic mutation.

Nestled amongst the array of colourful flowers the 73- year-old from Cavendish noticed one that was exactly half yellow and half pink.

Mr Underwood, a retired long-distance lorry driver, said: “When I first saw it I couldn't quite work out what I was looking at. I assumed it was two flowers squashed together. On closer inspection I could see the flower head was coming from just one stem and I knew something quite unusual had happened.”

After contacting the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) the keen gardener discovered it wasn't just unusual, it was in fact a rare mutation seen only four or five times a year out of the millions of chrysanthemums blooming in Britain.

According to the RHS the phenomenon takes place when the plant consists of just two cells and results in a flower head with a definite split down the middle.

Mr Underwood, a life-long Cavendish resident, was inspired to take up gardening by his late wife, Katherine, a professional flower arranger, when they married 40 years ago.

Most Read

He said: “It will be ten years ago this October, just before we both retired, since Katherine died of cancer. I'm quite sure she would have been very impressed with this flower, not that I had any idea I was growing it of course.”

When Mr Underwood is not tending his own garden he is busy ensuring a perfect playing surface at Clare Bowls Club where he is a member.

He added: “I bought the seeds in West Sussex near Chichester earlier in the year when I was visiting my sister. I planted them in April but I can honestly say in all my years of gardening I've never had a result like this.”