Although the winter is over (we hope), now is when you can tell how severe it really was. Last year, for example, our kiwis only bloomed under the snow line, and the double-flowering plum had only a single flower on it. Our cherry tree suffered some minor winterkill and didn't bloom at all, but that could have been because it had been recently planted and was too young to bloom. The kiwis and the flowering plum, however, are good indicators that this past winter was somewhat less severe than the one before, since their flowers are both marginally hardy here. They should bloom most years, but might not after an extra-cold winter.
What a difference a week can make! A week ago it was snowing, and now it's almost summer outside. The lilac trees are blooming, and some of the apple trees are too. Our Cupid Cherry has flowerbuds all over it, and even the Arctic Kiwis look like they'll bloom this year. The double-flowering plum on the other side of our fence also looks like it will be putting on a decent show within a couple of days.