A CHARD couple have described a sudden bloom of poppies in their garden as a “natural phenomenon”.

Frank and Celia Long, of Vicarage Close, say their garden was overgrown and with no sign of poppies when they moved into the property around 18 months ago.

Frank, 82, believed the arrival of poppies in their garden this summer is more than just a coincidence.

He said: “I’m a firm believer that God works in mysterious ways and it’s incredible that this has happened on the centenary of the First World War.”

Celia, 67, spotted the poppies growing from one stem at the bottom of the garden and said the clump has become bigger and bigger.

She said: “I thought I’d leave it in to see what was happening because I wasn’t sure what it was.”

The couple said: “We have no answer to it – we don’t know whether a bird has dropped a seed in the garden or whether we disturbed it when we dug up the garden.”

The poppy has a long-standing association with Remembrance Day and scarlet corn poppies grow naturally in conditions of disturbed earth throughout Western Europe.

The destruction brought by the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th Century transformed bare lands into fields of blood red poppies, growing around the bodies of fallen soldiers.

In late 1914, the fields of northern France and Flanders were again ripped open as the First World War raged.

Once the conflict ended the poppy was one of the only plants to grow on the barren battlefields.

It was reported earlier this month that land owned by farmer Phil Jones near Bristol was attracting tourists from almost 6,000 miles away after two of his fields, which had previously never seen poppies, turned into a carpet of red.

Celia said: “I’m not sure whether to cut it all out or leave it because if I take it out the seeds could spread and it could be even bigger next year.

“It’s massive, and in four weeks it has just grown and grown – now the group of poppies is about six feet wide.”

Poppies are often found growing wild in fields, their bright petals bursting with red, orange, yellow and other colours.

They need at least six hours’ sunshine a day and there are 250 species in the poppy family.