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Indian summer brings out the poppies

If not recreated using plastic and paper for Remembrance Day, poppies are the flower that most gardeners equate with the early summer months.

Yet a field of poppies in Shaftesbury, in Dorset, has defied all conventional time frames, springing up more than a month after the scheduled close of season in August. Experts predict the phenomenon is the result of an unusually warm and dry September. The poppy seeds are thought to have spread "unintentionally" into the field and drilled into the ground by farmers planting corn.

Chris Gingell, a regional manager at the National Trust, described the occurrence as "startling". "These poppies have obviously made a late showing after a warm September," he said. "We'd expect them to have been over by the end of August."

But the spectacle, which is attracting nature enthusiasts, is for a limited time only. Poppies that appear in June usually flower for just a few days. Mr Gingell expects the lifespan of these late-arrivals to last comparatively longer. "Because the temperature is cooler now than it would be in the height of summer they might last for a week or so."