A NON-native species has turned up in the greenhouses of Exeter City Council's Belle Isle nursery.
A 12-ft model giraffe has taken up residence in the local authority's plant store, awaiting a golden makeover!
The African visitor will form the centre piece of the 'Growing for Gold' show garden being created by Jon Wheatly, the Chair of SW in Bloom and winner of 21 Chelsea gold medals, for the Royal Horticultural Society's Hampton Court Flower Show in London on the 8th, 9th and 10th of July.
'Gerald the Golden Giraffe', as they are calling him, will represent the City of Exeter as he stands among a host of giant sunflowers, developed by Sutton Seeds, called 'Giraffe'. He will form the 'community art' element of what is expectated to be a spectacular garden.
Before then, the giraffe, which is made from resin and found by Exeter Park Watch lurking in Bovey Tracey, is being kindly hosted by the City Council at its Belle Isle Nursery. A scaffold has been erected around the model giraffe before it is painted by Scott Gilaffin's company, ' Scratch Perfect'. Scott, who is spraying the giraffe free as a sponsorship gift, set up his successful company with the aid of The Prince's Trust and the giraffe will help celebrate his success.
When Gerald the Golden Giraffe returns to Exeter, he will be 'put out to grass' at RAMM close to his larger brother. After that he may go to visit Paignton Zoo who have so generously helped to sponsor this project.
Exeter Parks Watch is working closely with the City Council on Exeter's entry in this year's Britain in Bloom South West competition - the first time the city has entered the event in over ten years.
Cllr Keith Owen, Lead Councillor for Environment, Health and Wellbeing, said he was delighted to be providing a temporary home for the giraffe.
"We have worked closely with Parks Watch on a number of projects including this year's entry in Britain in Bloom, which will be judged next month. We are more than happy to help out, as there can't be many places in Exeter that have as much head room as we have down at Belle Isle!"
Christine Fraser, of Exeter Parks Watch, said: "We are so grateful to the City Council for helping us out and to Scratch Perfect, who have kindly agreed to paint the giraffe in gold."