The number of plants blooming on Valentine’s Day this year shot up by over 60% according to the results of the National Trust’s 11th annual February flower count. Each year the Trust counts the number of flowers in bloom on February 14th at 18 of its gardens in the south west of the UK. The sudden increase this year is thought to have been caused by high rainfall and mild temperatures, causing plants to become confused about when they should bloom.
A total of 1,983 plants in bloom were counted in gardens across Devon and Cornwall, up from 1,345 in 2015. The highest numbers of flowers were at Saltram, Devon, with 193 blooms.
However, it’s still not a record-breaker: the earliest spring so far recorded was in 2008, when a whopping 3,335 plants in bloom were recorded.
Among the unseasonal appearances, this year were daffodils appearing at the same time as snowdrops, and bluebells flowering in February – at least two months earlier than usual. Even summer flowering plants such as hydrangeas, fuchsias and agapanthus were recorded in flower in some gardens. The Trust says the changes in their gardens can be seen as a clear indicator of climate change, posing ‘the single biggest conservation challenge to our gardens’.