THIS East Preston man has a real reason to be bloomin’ chuffed with his green-fingered efforts this year.
Richard Fairbrother, of Saxon Close, has spent the past few months toiling and pruning in a determined effort to grow plants native to the mountainsides of Tenerife.
And now all the hard work has finally paid off for the retired 71-year-old, whose blooms have shot up to the heady height of 15ft.
Richard, who used to work in the building trade, said he was overjoyed with his plants.
“This is the best bloom I have ever had,” he admitted. “One is about 15 or 16 foot high and the colours this year are really amazing.
“I’ve even had police officers stopping in the road and chatting to me, asking where I got the seeds from.”
Richard, who has been an avid gardener for the past 59 years, regularly makes trips to the island getaway.
He said that each year he goes he will always pick up a new batch of seeds.
“My entire garden is made up of plants from Tenerife,” he added. “It can be quite a sight.”
Richard’s latest blossoms include those from the echiunm pretii and echiunm prininana, which have shot up in recent weeks.
It had been a tricky task keeping the plants healthy during the winter months.
They are normally accustomed to growing in isolated pockets, 2,000m up in the crater of Las Cañadas.
He said: “They grow up there because its very cold and there is very little rain up there.”
With one of the wettest winters on record this year, Richard certainly had his work cut out protecting his plants.
“I had to protect the plant’s crowns from excessive rainfall, which was hard.” Richard used a Perspex sheet to shield his plants from rainfall.
“You have to have a lot of patience as a gardener. There’s a lot of frustration, especially when things go wrong. But I do love gardening.”