Nature has been playing tricks on Wellington's Botanic Garden again - and tulip fans are advised to get in early if they want to see the garden's famous tulips in full bloom.
The traditional Tulip Sunday - the start of the annual Spring Festival in the garden - is scheduled for 30 September. However this year's mild winter has caused the majority of the 25,000 tulip bulbs to bloom early - so they are looking their best right now.
Wellington City Council's Botanic Gardens Manager, David Sole, says while there'll still be lots of tulips to see on 30 September, some of them, like the glowing orange-yellow Daydream, may not be at their best by then.
David says Mother Nature has been particularly mischievous in the past 12 months. "Last year we had the big snow and the cold temperatures meant the tulips were very late, but this year the warm wet winter has really got them growing.
"They are looking stunning right now - so maybe enthusiasts should have their own unofficial Tulip Sunday this weekend..."
Charmaine Scott, the garden's Visitor Services Officer, says Spring Festival does move around on the calendar to some extent but the timing is only ever a best guess.
"Once upon a time the Council's Parks and Reserves manager would wander down to check out the tulips on a Monday and, after some studying, would duly pronounce: 'We will have Tulip Sunday this week'.
"However the Spring Festival is now a big event that requires a lot of early organisation and date-setting so we can no longer react that fast.
"The main message is this: if you like the gorgeous colours of tulips, don't muck about - get up to the gardens!"