The Greater Victoria Flower Count will be a little friendlier this year.
Community leaders gathered at Abkhazi Garden Monday morning to kick off the 46th annual flower count competition, a spring tradition that pits the region’s communities against one another in an effort to have the “bloomingest” community. Participants in the 2020 count reported 46 billion blooms across the region, with Saanich taking the top spot against other municipalities, and Cordova Bay Elementary School counting the most – reporting more than 552 million flowers.
“Last year around this time, COVID was just getting underway,” recalled Bruce Williams, CEO of the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce. “The consistency here is that the flower count is still on, but all matters have changed and we all need a little bit of an optimistic look at things right now.”
Kimberley Hughes, board chair for Destination Greater Victoria, said the feeling this year is one of gratitude.
“We have an incredible community,” she said. “It’s a great time – as the days get longer and the days get warmer – for us to think about all that we have. It’s been a challenging year, so I encourage you to get outside (and) count some blossoms.”
Along with generating some friendly competition, the flower count is typically a cheeky display of the region’s warm climate to the rest of Canada, often still experiencing winter conditions when Greater Victoria starts seeing its first spring blossoms.
“We do this sometimes as a kind of an ‘in your face thing’ for the rest of Canada,” Williams said. “We’re not doing that this year … we’re sending a bouquet of love of comfort (and) of caring. So to the rest of Canada, we’ll get through this. We will and you will soon have your own flowers to enjoy.”
The Greater Victoria Flower Count runs from 8 a.m. on March 3 to 3:30 p.m. on March 10. Counts can be submitted online at flowercount.ca. There are some formulas for counting – a small tree full of blossoms equals 250,000 blossoms, a tree fully in bloom counts for 750,000 blossoms and a mid-sized heather bush has 1,000 blossoms.
For those who want to follow the count on social media, posts will be made under the name @FlowerCount on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and the #FlowerCount hashtag can be used. Those who use the hashtag will be entered to win a bundle of “garden goodies.”