The official start to spring is still a couple of weeks away, but you wouldn't know it in Canada's mildest climate.
The annual Victoria Flower Count
is underway - a time when residents count their blooms and earn some 'bragging rights.'
"This is basically a fun way of poking a little bit of fun at the rest of Canada about how much in bloom we are, how much warmer our climate is," says Carlos Moniz, Horticulture Manager at Butchart Gardens. "We've always joked about this being the 'banana belt' of Canada, so we gather all our communities together, we count how many blooms there are and then we broadcast it."
On an average spring afternoon, the temperature in Victoria can hover around 15°C. Ahead of the season, from March 1 to March 7, people living in the area are encouraged to count their flowers and report them to the event's website. The tradition started back in the 1960's, as members of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce began handing out daffodils to the general public.
In March of 2010, record-breaking temperatures resulted in the highest number of produced flowers. Last year, Victoria was hit with an intense snowstorm just days before the Count was set to begin.
This year, hundreds of thousands of flowers were counted just hours into the event, despite a temperature rollercoaster leading up to it.
"Victoria had a cool stretch toward the end of February, and now temperatures have been flip-flopping in March," says Gerald Cheng, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. "The city should be around 10°C this time of year. Some days have been around 12°C, while others have been hovering around 6°C and 7°C."
Still, Moniz says Victoria residents are happy to be planting flowers and not shovelling snow at this time of year.
"The end of winter is, in theory, March 22. We really figure our winter has ended weeks ago," he says."We're already starting to get colour, we're already starting to get our nice weather. In Edmonton, they had snow the other day. So why not rub it in a little?"
Wondering what kind of weather to expect over the next couple of months? Be sure to check The Weather Network's Spring Outlook 2012