Credit: CC0 Public Domain

The first day of spring, when daylight hours begin to exceed nighttime hours, seems especially significant this year—record warm temperatures in the Northwest are marking the change of seasons. But our blooms may be a couple weeks behind schedule after February's snow and cold weather.

Ray Larson, curator at UW Botanic Gardens, explains that earlier cold temperatures may have delayed flowering plants, with bulbs and perennials being weeks behind their normal blooming time. But he says while warmth is a big factor in how plants grow, springtime's increasing daylight plays an even bigger role.

After a few , he says this year's cold snap may have tested the hardiness of some plants—but not to give up on them coming back yet. Don't assume they are dead; give them until May or June before removing weather-beaten plants.

Credit: University of Washington