03/01/2012 12:31 EST | Updated 05/01/2012 05:12 EDT

Greater Victoria boasts thousands of blooms as flower count and gloating begins

VICTORIA - Southern Vancouver Island residents are poking through their gardens as they tally all the crocuses, snowdrops and daffodils busting out of the soil — just so they can maintain their annual gloating rights to the rest of Canada.

They are taking part in the annual flower count, which began Thursday and continues until March 7 across Greater Victoria.

Just hours into the launch, more than 520,000 blooms were counted.

The numbers are expected to climb quickly because the flower count website estimates a single, medium-sized tree in full bloom contains half a million blossoms.

The count is a light-hearted event promoting southern B.C.'s warm weather to the rest of the country, where temperatures are hovering at or below freezing and snow is forecast for most cities from Calgary to St. John's.

Despite a snow squall in some regions of B.C.'s south coast on Wednesday, one central Saanich farm is frantically searching for pickers to pluck millions of daffodils from its fields in time for shipment across the country. (CFAX)