Freaky flowers

Glow-in-the-dark roses are just some of the extraordinary new plants heading our way this year
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Roses are red, violets are blue, but we've got some news - that's no longer true. The flowers in your garden are going to change colour as part of a freaky flower movement that is about to sweep through pastel-shaded English suburbia.

This year, gardens will be growing bronze rhododendrons, yellow geraniums, glow-in-the-dark roses, purple cauliflowers, apricot-coloured raspberries, scented begonias, a clematis that smells of chocolate and a 50ft-high bamboo that threatens to become the new leylandii.

The yellow geranium is big news for gardeners. Competition has long been fierce between breeders in the multimillion-pound plant industry to develop lemon-coloured petals. This spring, for the first time since the plant was bought to England by Charles I's plant "headhunter", John Tradescant, in the 17th century, gardeners will be able to add a new colour to the red, white and pink hues that normally grace flowerbeds and window boxes around the country.

More than 17,000 plants - half the world's stock of the yellow geranium, called Guernsey Flair - will be on sale in Britain next month. Peter Freeman, buyer for Thompson & Morgan plant suppliers, said he hoped the breed would sell half a million by next year: "There has never been a yellow geranium before. All geranium breeders have been working towards this over the last 10 to 15 years."

Last year, a similar stir was caused when a black hyacinth, Hyacinthus 'Midnight Mystique', was exhibited at the Chelsea Flower Show. According to Lucy Hoare, deputy editor of the BBC's Gardeners' World Magazine, freaky flowers will soon be a fixture in British gardens. "The trend for novelty flowers, with their extraordinary new colours, is very big now," Ms Hoare said. "Everyone's always looking for something new on the horizon, and it's a good way to show off to your friends. A few years ago it was all muted greys and whites, but things have changed."

The Glendoick nursery in Perthshire has announced a breakthrough: a bronze rhododendron. The nursery says the new hybrids should "revolutionise the use of rhododendrons in the landscape".

Neither is the world of vegetables immune. The Graffiti, from Weiser Family Farms in California, is a "slightly spicy" cauliflower - that happens to be a vivid purple.

Glow-in-the-dark roses and chrysanthemums will also be making their debut. The fluorescent blooms, which appear white in regular light but emit an eerie green glow for several hours in the dark, are the creation of Frank de Koning. The Dutch florist says he hopes to makes his money in the "bling" end of the market: "I was inspired by seeing how watches glow. We thought it would be great to try it with flowers. We launched them in Holland for Christmas, and they were very popular, so we decided to go international. We are also looking to expand into discos, where they glow under the UV lights."

Admirers of scented gardens will soon be able to smell begonias for the first time: Thompson & Morgan claims to have conjured up "a very strong and deep smell of rose". Owners of fenced gardens, however, will be nervous about neighbours planting a new, fast-growing bamboo with a maximum height of 50 feet. The Chinese Moso may be providing some unwelcome shade any summer soon.

Additional reporting by Katherine Haywood

Blooming Amazing: Coming to a garden near you

YELLOW GERANIUMS: Guernsey Flair is the first commercially available variety in this colour. Its lemon-coloured parent was discovered by accident in a German nursery in 2001. Cost: £10.61 for three cuttings

BLACK HYACINTH: Hyacinthus 'Midnight Mystique' caused quite a stir at the Chelsea Flower Show last year. Cost: £9.99 a bulb

CHOCOLATE-SCENTED CLEMATIS: Clematis 'Jan Fopma', bred by Dutch florist Wim Snoeijer, took 14 years to develop and costs £12.75

BRONZE-LEAVED RHODODENDRON: This unusually coloured dwarf hybrid costs £14.95

GIANT BAMBOO: The 50ft Chinese Moso flowers every 50 to 100 years, at the same time all over the world. It is on sale for a limited period next month. Cost: undecided.

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