THE earliest snowdrops for 40 years have flowered in the National Botanic Gardens, bringing hopes of an imminent spring.
These flowers first bloomed a week and a half before Christmas, according to the garden curator Paul Maher.
While he can't say that spring has fully sprung, he confirmed that the soil is warm, the grass is growing and some plants are flowering three weeks ahead of schedule.
"We think the winter we've had has been quite benign, and a very mild one as well," said Mr Maher, explaining why so many flowers are blossoming in mid-January.
Another strong indicator of spring is the magnolia tree, as it leads the pack in terms of who flowers first. Mr Maher said the buds of the magnolia tree in the National Botanic Gardens "are just about to burst open".
He said this swelling of buds is a real indicator of spring.
The national gardens also recorded temperatures as high as 9C this January.
Met Eireann explained that growth occurs at temperatures over 6C and we've hit that on several days this week.
Also in flower is the very rare and very expensive Daphne, which is also blossoming in the National Garden Exhibition Centre in Kilquade, Co Wicklow.
Meanwhile, an astonishingly early rose has been seen in a garden in Buncrana, in Co Donegal.
It came from a small bud that was bursting to bloom.