Human Flower Project

Orrington, MAINE USA

flag flower bed

parker basket thumb
Princeton, MAINE USA

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Who’s Counting? We and Victoria

The City of Victoria tallies its flowers this week, a continental gloat over the rest of snowbound Canada.

imageLogo: via Victoria

As of 1:30 pm Central Standard Time (U.S.), it stood at 39,542,160.

We refer to Victoria’s annual Flower Count, which began yesterday and will run through March 3. While much of Canada faces two more months of snowplows, spring has arrived in Victoria and its residents enjoy rubbing it in. This crowing count is the community’s spring festival, heavy on the math.

Like Pasadena’s Tournament of Roses each January 1 (a floral in-your-face to the wintry U.S.), Victoria’s custom seems to have been drummed up by busness leaders to inspire visitors.  In the late 1960s, members of the local Chamber of Commerce, wearing Victorian-era garb,  “descended on shivering Canadian cities such as Edmonton and Winnipeg during February, dispersing fresh, Victoria-grown daffodils to the public, radio stations and news organizations to promote snow-free winter tourism.” Local residents were urged to join in the count by 1976 to stir the promotional pollen, and since then, it’s become a citywide rite of spring.

imageRhonda Rose at the University of Victoria’s Finnerty Gardens

checking out (or perhaps counting) a rhododendron

Photo: University of Victoria

Helen Chesnut, columnist for the local paper, gives a sense of late February here: “Beside the driveway, near the front of my house, a hugely spreading Springwood Pink heather taken from my father’s garden over two decades ago never fails to clothe itself in colour at this time of the year. Nearby, beside the front lawn, a Chinese witch hazel’s spidery yellow flowers linger in partnership with a Pink Dawn viburnum’s rosy bloom clusters. Next to the carport, a winter daphne (Daphne odora) is set to open its blossom clusters and release one of nature’s most exquisite floral perfumes.”

But wouldn’t it take all week to count the flowers on just one cherry tree? Possibly, so officials have simplified things. For a medium tree full of blossoms count 500,000, for a large heather bush, 2,000, etc. Check here for details. Tabulators are urged to call in their numbers by phone. A “Banana Belt” goes to the happy, cross-eyed winner.

2002’s record-setting count was 8,521,514,876 flowers—last year’s total, a mere 1,766,698,868. For Victorians who may lack pencil and paper, we offer this aid: How to count to 1023 on your fingers.

And it so happens that this post is the 1000th entry on the Human Flower Project, a milestone for which no banana belts will be awarded. We would like, however, to send thanks to all our contributing writers, members, visitors, and friends. And we send special greeting to those who have tripped over the e-threshold unawares. A quick look back at “search terms” shows a very few of the many interests that brought you here.

imagePhoto: Tulsa World

“fibroids cut open with teeth”

“cher as giantess”

“vatican tumbling angels”

“muslims ‘no stringed’ instruments”

“bride flip flops”

“removing splinter from toddler foot”

“inexpensive Betty Boop statue in Ohio”

“bagpipe fingering chart”

“spoiled shrimp pictures”

“Brain teaser: why is the letter t like an amphibian?”

Beats us!

Posted by Julie on 02/27 at 03:34 PM
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