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Board Director Douglas Justice on early blooms

by | Jan 14, 2024 | What's in Bloom | 0 comments

Douglas Justice, Associate Director with the UBC Botanical Garden, and a Director on our Board, gave an interview to CityNews about why we saw so many flowers bloom ahead of schedule.

With warmer temperatures around the corner, will we see them come back? Watch the interview to see what Douglas has to say.

Just days into January, Vancouver is already seeing signs of spring.

After one of the warmest Decembers on record, some plants and flowers around the city have begun to bloom, with daffodils on display along the English Bay seawall Thursday.

“This year, we were shocked,” one local told CityNews. “Yesterday, (we were) like ‘no,’ so very early, and it’s lovely.”

“I walk down here all the time and have for years and this is the first year I’ve ever seen them in January,” another resident said.

Douglas Justice, the associate director at the UBC Botanical Garden, says the daffodils — and other plants, like the Sweet Box — are making an early appearance because of the cold snap we saw in October.

“It satisfied the chilling requirement for those things that don’t really need a really big, long chilling. So, having been cold and now warming up, they think it’s spring,” he explained.

“We’re seeing a lot of plants in flower in January that we would normally not see until March probably at the earliest.”

But the daffodils aren’t here to stay. Freezing temperatures are starting to set in this weekend and into next week, with even snow in the forecast for some parts of the Lower Mainland.

Justice says the flowers are too delicate to survive.

“Flowers can’t tolerate those kind of temperatures, and so they’re going to get frosted off, it’s going to look, probably pretty, bad, but generally speaking those daffodils that came up — the bulbs — they’re far enough down in the ground that they’re not going to be affected,” he said.

However, Justice says this does mean these daffodils won’t make their next appearance until next year.