When you think of Canada in winter, snow usually comes to mind. But if you are from Victoria, the capital of Vancouver Island, your mind goes in a totally different direction. While the majority of Canada is measuring the strength of its winter in inches (cm!) of snowfall, the residents of Victoria are using a totally different yardstick, one of blossoms.
Come again, you say? Blossoms, in Canada, in the winter? Well, it’s true. Victoria enjoys a Mediterranean climate, with relatively little rainfall, few nights below freezing, and rarely a day above 86 degrees Fahrenheit. In fact, it is not uncommon for Victoria to go a whole year without snow, or even frost. The record was 716 days, when there was no frost from Dec. 23, 1998-December 10, 2000!
So, what to do when everyone else is counting snowflakes? Count flowers, of course! Each year since 1960 , the residents of Victoria have gone outside with their clipboards and pencils, and for one week, they count all the blossoms that they see. The numbers get tallied up in a central office, and municipalities compete against each other for the highest flower count. The prize is bragging rights. This year, the dates of the Flower Count are next week, March 3-9. Follow the fun on their Facebook page, check out their website, and see why Victoria is called the “City of Gardens”!
For those of us in the Northeast, where the Witch Hazel is already in full bloom almost a month earlier than usual, we have a chance to count blossoms ourselves, for a change. So get your clipboard, count the blossoms, and join the residents of Victoria in a celebration of winter flowers. Who knows when we will get the chance again!
Thanks to The Daily Mail for this picture!