One of Victoria’s quaint annual customs is the “Flower Count”, held in early March, usually two weeks before Spring officially arrives. The idea is to have volunteers and anyone with time on their hands, counting each bloom that pops out of the ground and officially entering it as part of the flower count. Those of us who abhor such boastings are pessimistic enough to feel the same bloom was probably counted five times by other volunteers.
Victoria was often the first to send their daffodils and tulips eastward. These blooms proved that Victoria had the mildest climate in all of Canada as well as the mildest winters. We seldom saw snow that lasted more than a day. We do have a lot of rain which is where the term “liquid sunshine” and “galoshes weather” comes into play.
But braggarts eventually do get their come-uppance. I remember one March, just as the flower-count got officially underway, the first snow-flakes began their lazy dance to the ground. Within a few hours, the bare pavements were covered in snow and the first signs of panic hit the City. Volunteers scurried frantically to make sure each flower had been counted and registered, including every daffodil bloom on the farms. The snow kept falling and people began their slow migration home. Buses ran late; taxis were rarely seen empty; cars slowly and cautiously inched along the snow-covered roads. Victoria drivers are not good at driving in snow, even if it was newly fallen. The next morning, there was exactly 1-1/2″ of snow on the ground that had frozen over during the night. Victoria drivers are even worst driving on ice. There were three times as many “regulars” waiting at the bus-stops. By the end of the day, the snow/ice had melted and a light rain washed away whatever snow remained.
And the flower count continued. That year was one of the best totals ever. . . .