Since 1996, Nova Scotia Plantwatch has collected earliest flower dates for 12 plant species at 200 sites in Nova Scotia. The initial results for 1996–1998 are compared with records collected by MacKay between 1892 and 1923. Although the Mackay data were from a colder climatic interval in the Northern Hemisphere, most flowering dates are not significantly different from the present warmer ( 0.5–0.7°C) period except during the 1998 season of record warmth. The only two species that showed significant differences are Epigaea repens and Syringa vulgaris. While E. repens showed significant later recent dates of first bloom, S. vulgaris showed earlier dates. Some of the variation within the province may be linked to oceanic influence; other variation reflects latitudinal gradients. These phenological results are compatible with other evidence that the average spring climate of the Atlantic Canada region has remained cool since 1948, but the early flowering in 1998 may be a response to a warming trend in the western part of the region.
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