It’s January, and winter is supposed to be here. But on the south island, spring seems to have already sprung. “It’s a summer blooming perennial that is still blooming in January, so a little bit unusual,” said Suzanne McKnight, an employee at Garden Works in Oak Bay, said while describing a flower on Tuesday. Gardeners in the area have been seeing plants that usually die off in winter, survive, and even keep flowering. “It’s been very mild, and it’s quite unusual to go without a real killing frost,” said McKnight. Victoria is on track for a January one degree warmer than normal. But even with that, the city is not breaking any records. “We’re seeing that we’re about 12th/13th ranked in terms of on warmest January’s on record,” said Armel Castellan, an Environment Canada meteorologist. But whatever you do, just don’t tell anyone east of the Rockies. Central and Eastern Canada are in the grips of brutally cold temperatures. Environment Canada has issued alerts from Manitoba right through the Atlantic provinces, with temperatures hovering around -20 degrees Celsius, and getting colder.Heavy snow and freezing rain forced hundreds of flight cancellations and school closures. The weather was so bad, Montreal had to even cancel its snow festival. But instead of a shovel, islanders, may be reaching for their sunglasses. “From Thursday onward, we’re going to see the sun come out, and probably some flowers too!” said Castellan. But experts say to hold off from getting that green thumb back in the garden, at least for a few more weeks. “We want to get into our gardens and start working and pruning, but if you get a real cold snap after you’ve pruned, you can have die back on your plants so it can be quite damaging to them,” said McKnight. “I say wait a little bit because in February we can do our pruning, nothing is going to be budding that much earlier. It’s a bit safer than going out now.” Experts say this El Niño is supposed to stick around though, so the flowers will likely keep popping up. We already knew it was the best coast anyways, right?