You are here:  >   >   > 



March 2013

The 1st flower records for Scotland and Wales!

Posted by Catalena Angele on 5 March 2013
The flower bud on my crocus is starting to look purple, so maybe it will open soon.
I can see the flower buds on my daffodils but they are still green.

Congratulations to Tulliallan Primary School for sending in the very first Spring Bulbs flower records of the year! Tulliallan’s first crocus and daffodil opened only a day apart, with their crocus flowering on 17 January and their first daffodil flowering on 18 January.

As Scotland is further north than England and Wales they generally have colder weather and more snow in winter. This usually means that plants flower later. Last year flowers opened earlier in Wales and England, so it is quite a surprise that our first flower record this year is from Scotland! But that is the wonderful thing about being a scientist – experiments can often have surprising results!

The second school to send in flower records was Ysgol Nant Y Coed in Wales. Three children’s crocuses opened on the same day on 1 March – St David’s Day! These were the first records for Wales – well done Ysgol Nant Y Coed!

I wonder where flowers will open next?

When your flowers open please send me your flower data, you can see where flowers have opened by looking at this map


  1. Every pupil in the class can send in their flower record! All the data that is sent in is used to create an average flowering date for each school. Watch the crocus chart and daffodil chart to see the tables change as the data comes in. It is really important that each pupil sends in their record - so the website can calculate the average flowering date for your school.
  2. Daffodils tilt their heads downwards just before opening. This prevents them from filling with rain after they open.

I would also really love to see photos of your flowers. If you have photos please ask your teacher to email them to me!

My plants here in Cardiff haven’t flowered yet. The bud on one of my crocuses is starting to look a bit purple, so maybe it won’t be long. I can see the flower buds on my daffodils too but they are still green.

Your questions, my answers:

St Nicholas Primary School rain gauge stolen. Prof P: Sorry to hear that St Nicholas Primary. I have put a new one into the post for you, I hope it arrives soon.

Ysgol Y Ffridd Glawiad Dydd Llun yn llawn ers y gwyliau. Athro'r Ardd: Mae'n rhaid ei bod hi wedi bwrw hen wragedd a ffyn yn yr ysgol dros y gwyliau! Diolch am roi gwybod i fi.

Milford Haven Junior School Temp in playground was much colder because of the wind chill factor. Prof P: Brrrr! I hope you were all wrapped up warm when you went outside to play.

Ysgol Porth Y Felin to pp we have a problem with one of the plants. It has creamy browny little things in the pot that look like mini shell pastas. We don't know what they are. ysgol porth y felin. Prof P: Gosh, they sound curious. I wonder if they could be the brownish leaves that protect the plant just before the shoots start to grow? Maybe you could take a photo and ask your teacher to send it to me? I might know what they are if I saw them!

Ysgol Nant Y Coed We have buds on the crocus and daffodils now but none of them have opened yet. The mystery bulb has grown the biggest! Prof P: That’s great news! Keep an eye on them and let me know as soon as they open.

Darran Park Primary Mystery plant has grown quite well the rest of the bulbs are slowly growing. Prof P: Thanks for your plant update Darran Park Primary.

Glyncollen Primary School Many thanks for our new rain gauge. You also sent us a new thermometer but on a slip of paper in the box it said St. Mary's. We were wondering if it was meant for us or should we send it back to you? Can you please let us know. The leaves on our flowers are growing well. Bye for now - Yr.4 Prof P: Oops! I sent out two rain gauges on the same day and things must have got mixed up. Sorry Glyncollen. I have emailed your teacher about the thermometer – thanks for letting me know about the mix up.

Greyfriars RC Primary School Dear Professor Plant, we are a bit confused because only one crocus is flowering and only one daffodil is flowering. Prof P: Congratulations Greyfriars School! You are now the second Scottish School to have flowers! You now need to enter you flower data on to the website to make it OFFICIAL! Remember: You can enter flower data as soon the very first flower opens. You record the date it opened and the height of the tallest part of your plant. Then as each new flower opens you can enter its data on the website too – you don’t have to wait until they are all open. Plants grow at different rates – some grow quickly, some take longer to grow - just like children!  I am sure your other flowers will 'catch up' soon.

Many thanks

Prof P

February 2013

Climate Week 4-10 March 2013

Posted by Catalena Angele on 26 February 2013
Many top scientists agree that pollution levels are contributing to global warming

Hello bulb buddies!

Next week is National Climate Week – a good time to think about climate change, how it affects us and how we can help to take care of the planet.

For the last 150 years scientists in many parts of the world have been measuring temperature and rainfall, just like you are now in your Spring Bulbs investigations! The scientists have seen that temperatures are rising all over the world and that rainfall patterns are changing too.

Warmer weather and more rain might help your crocuses and daffodils to grow… but global warming also means more extreme weather events, such as heavy snow, storms, flooding and droughts!

There have been lots of floods and more snow in the UK in recent years. Last year the Met Office announced that 2012 was the second wettest year on record in the UK and the wettest ever in England.

Many top scientists agree that pollution levels are contributing to global warming, so what can we do to help?

Be energy – efficient! If we use less energy we create less pollution. How? Simple things we do every day can save lots of energy at home or at school. For example: Turning off the TV or computer when you are not using it saves lots of electricity!

Can you think of some other things that you could do to save energy? Maybe you could talk about this in class? You could also have a look at this Global Warming presentation – it has some other ideas for saving energy.

If you are interested in other things you can do for Climate Week then you can have a look the Climate Week website.

Your questions, my answers:

Thorneyholme RC Primary School PP, We were off on Wednesday afternoon, and our mystery blubs are growing.  Prof P: Can you guess what they are yet Thorneyholme or are they still a mystery?

Lakeside Primary Sorry about all the non recorded dates.  Prof P: That’s okay! Sometimes I have to miss a day recording too. Keep up the good work.

Ysgol Capelulo We have not got any flowers yet :(  Prof P: Don’t be sad Ysgol Capelulo, my plants haven’t got flowers yet either… I am sure they will come soon.

RAF Benson Primary School Some our daffodils and crocuses have started growing.  Prof P: That’s great news!

Newport Primary School It has been quite good weather here this week with no rain and some sunshine but the last couple of days have been really cold and quite dull. On Sunday 17th we had an almost spring day and we were all able to get out and have a good time as it was really sunny and felt quite warm.  Prof P: Excellent weather reporting NewportPrimary School! Really detailed, thank you! It has been very cold here in Cardiff too.

Balcurvie Primary School Our big rainfall on Monday was after the half term holiday when it snowed heavily! Great fun for us but not for our poor wee bulbs! Prof P: Sounds like you have been having some extreme weather in Scotland! I am glad you have been enjoying it Balcurvie.

Many thanks

Professor Plant

Happy Half Term

Posted by Catalena Angele on 19 February 2013
Crocuses growing in the ground near National Museum Cardiff are already flowering
Daffodils growing in the ground near National Museum Cardiff. They are much taller than my daffodils in pots!

I hope you had a nice half term break!

I wonder if you had fun outside during half term? When I am out and about in Cardiff I always look to see if there are any flowers growing like mine… have you noticed any growing near you? If you are playing in your garden, going to the park or walking to school you can still be a Super Scientist – here are some questions to help you. Happy investigating!

Can you see any other flowers growing? Can you spot any daffodils or crocuses? Are they bigger or smaller than your plants? Have they started flowering yet?

Kilmaron Special School have sent me a message to say they have noticed something interesting in their school playground…

Kilmaron Special School All our daffodils in pots are now sprouting and for the first time the children are seeing a couple of daffodils in the ground poking through. There’s still no sign of our crocus bulbs. We have daffodils planted up the side of our drive and in our sensory playground and they are taller than our Edina Trust sprouts. We were wondering if it’s because they’re a different type but won’t know until they flower.

Great investigating Kilmaron Special School! Often daffodils in the ground come up quicker than ones in pots; I have wondered why this is too! You are quite right; some varieties of daffodil do grow faster. Another reason could be that plants in the ground are better protected from cold weather than ones in pots. If our bulbs got colder they may grow a little slower! One other possibility is that the daffodils in you playground may have been planted a few years ago. Baby bulbs like ours grow more slowly in their first year, but they will flower again every spring and you may find they grow quicker next year.

Your questions, my answers:

Coppull Parish Primary School I'm worried that we've done something wrong with our bulbs. You see crocuses and daffodils are sending up shoots in our neighbourhood; but none of ours are peeping through at all. Prof P: Don't worry Coppull Parish School! As I've explained above bulbs in pots often grow slower. I hope you will have some growth very soon, keep sending me updates and let me know how your bulbs get on.

St Joseph's Primary School (Penarth) We are very excited because we have started to notice that some of our bulbs have started to sprout - we can't wait for them to flower. It is half term for us next week so we will be interested to see how our bulbs have grown when we return to school on 18th February! Prof P: I hope you all had a nice break, your bulbs might have grown a lot when you get back!

Darran Park Primary We have growth in all of our pots. Some pots contain more than 1 shoot. They seem to be growing quickly now. The mystery pot is showing lots of growth. We are on half term next week so won't be able to send in any records. Prof P: The mystery bulbs are very exciting aren’t they?

Henllys CIW Primary Some crocus shoots are coming up. Prof P: Thanks for your report Henllys CIW Primary, it won’t be too long now until they flower.

Ysgol Porth Y Felin To pp the plants are again all ok they’ve grown a lot since last Friday you can see the temperature has been quite high and there hasn’t been much water. From Ysgol Porth Y Felin. Prof P: I’m glad your plants are okay, excellent weather reporting too.

Milford Haven Junior School They started to sprout and it’s getting warmer. Prof P: Great news Milford Haven! My bulbs are sprouting too, I can see their leaves but I can’t see any flowers yet.

Rogiet Primary School Dear Professor Plant and Baby Bulb, Some of our bulbs have started to appear we hope to see some more after half term. We are looking forward to finding out what our mystery bulb might be. From Year 4. Prof P: HelloRogiet Primary School, I can’t wait to see what my mystery bulbs will look like too.

Ysgol Nant Y Coed The spring bulbs haven't flowered yet but they’re growing. The mystery bulbs are growing the highest. Prof P: I love a good mystery! Do you?

Ysgol Bodafon The weather is getting warmer. Prof P:  You are quite right Ysgol Bodafon, hopefully this will help our plants to flower soon.

Many thanks

Professor Plant

What a lot of weather!

Posted by Catalena Angele on 12 February 2013
Daffodil shoots now 7cm tall
Crocus shoots now 7cm tall – you can see the colours of the leaves
Crocus shoot 4cm tall

What mixed weather reports you have sent me over the last few weeks! Some schools had lots of snow but others had none at all! Well done to all of you for sending in your weather station records despite the frosty weather.

Some snowy comments …

We had reports of snow from lots of schools…St. Mary's Catholic Primary School, Bwlchgwyn C P School, Glyncollen Primary School, Stanford in the Vale Primary School, Thorneyholme RC Primary School, Coppull Parish Primary School, Freuchie Primary School, Balcurvie Primary School, Gladestry C.I.W. School and RAF Benson Primary School all reported that they had snow.

Some schools, including Manor Primary School, St Joseph's Primary School, Henllys CIW Primary,  Ysgol Nant Y Coed, Rhydypenau Primary School and Rogiet Primary School told me that their schools were closed due to snow!

However some schools had very little or no snow. Thanks Stepping Stones Short Stay School and Milford Haven Junior School for your reports.

Since the snow many schools have also reported high winds, storms and lots of rain, and as I look out of my window today the sun is shining – what varied weather over a few short weeks! The shoots on my tallest daffodil and crocus bulbs are now 7cm tall! How tall are your shoots?

Top Tip in frosty weather: If you have snow or ice in your rain gauge, bring it into the classroom to melt and then record it on your sheet. Don’t forget to tip the water away after it has melted and then put your rain gauge back outside!

Your questions, my answers:

St Joseph's Primary School (Penarth) Our school was closed last Friday because of snow so we couldn't get in to check on our freezing bulbs. We have noticed, however, that one of our bulbs has started growing whilst the others are snug underneath the compost in their pots. We tried to think about why this might have happened and wondered whether it is because that particular bulb was planted by you, Prof. Plant and maybe you have encouraged it to grow!?    We are pleased to see that the weather has got a bit warmer and are hoping that this means that our bulbs will start to grow. We are very keen to see them flowering!  Prof P: Thanks St Joseph’s! Well, I am very green fingered! It’s very exciting waiting for your flowers to arrive isn’t it?

Rogiet Primary School The bulb pots were full of snow this week, we were worried they would die but Mrs Carter said they would be all right!  Prof P: Don’t worry, Mrs Carter is right, they are very hardy little plants so I’m sure they will be okay.

Ysgol Nant Y Coed We are sorry for sending the records late because school was closed because of the snow last Friday.  Prof P: No problem! Thank you for sending them in when you could.

Stanford in the Vale Primary School Wow... what a bitter cold week, and all the snow we have had! All our bulbs are completely covered in snow... and more snow is expected tonight! Monday's snow/rainfall was frozen, so we brought the recordings inside and allowed to melt! (We hope this was the correct thing to do!) :-)  Prof P: Well done Stanford in the Vale that was exactly the right thing to do!

Gladestry C.I.W. School We have started measuring the few bulbs that have come out. The daffodils and mystery bulbs have come out; we think the mystery bulbs are snowdrops, as they have grown very fast.  Prof P: That’s a very good guess!Keep watching them and let me know if your guess is right.

Balcurvie Primary School One of the extra bulbs that we planted in a pot and left it in the classroom has began to sprout! We were all very excited. We have also had a very wet week!  Prof P: That is exciting Balcurvie! I hope you enjoy watching it grow. I wonder when your outdoor bulbs will catch up?

SS Philip and James Primary School We thought it went well except we forgot to pour out the water once so we counted the amount of water added on the next day. We enjoy doing it, Phil and Jim Team.  Prof P: That’s okay, thanks for letting me know and keep up the good work. I’m glad you’re enjoying it.

Ysgol Y Ffridd Dim Record Dydd Iau oherwydd ysgol wedi cau (Dim Dwr yn yr ysgol).  Prof P:  Athro’r Ardd: Diolch am y wybodaeth gan Ysgol Y Ffridd. Gobeithio bod y d?r wedi trwsio erbyn hyn.

Darran Park Primary 42 of the bulbs have sprouted.  Prof P:  Gosh that’s a lot! Well done Darran Park Primary.

Ysgol Porth Y Felin To pp, plants are all ok the temperature rised alot on Tuesday! there was a storm on Saturday night so there was loads of rain on Monday. Happy planting!!!  Prof P: Great reporting Ysgol Porth Y Felin, hopefully all that rain will help your plants to grow.

Rhydypenau Primary School A very interesting week of weather!  Prof P: I agree!

Many thanks,

Prof. P

November 2012

Cycle Champs 2012.

Posted by Danielle Cowell on 5 November 2012

The Cardiff Cycle Challenge sees workplaces compete to see who can get the most staff cycling. This summer staff at National Museum Cardiff took and won their category! Our team prize was a delicious cup cake delivery – well deserved after the calories we burnt!

The stats:

Fifty of the 297 staff cycled 4,565 miles and burnt 144,350 calories as part of their daily commute!

By cycling they prevented another 1,170kg of carbon dioxide being pumped into our atmosphere.

Whilst we put in an extra bit of effort for the competition – we do cycle all year around. Recent, investment in bicycles shelters and staff training has helped to get more and more people involved.


October 2012

Twelve thousand bulbs prepare to land in schools across the UK!

Posted by Danielle Cowell on 11 October 2012
Professor Plant and Baby Bulb
Springfields daffodil farm in Manorbier - where the bulbs were grown.
Investigation pack sent to each school - Funded by the Edina Trust - many thanks Edina!
Leaf letters sent to me by St Joseph's primary.
» View full post to see all images

This week, six and a half thousand young scientists across the UK are getting ready for the big bulb planting day.

Twelve thousand bulbs will be planted and monitored as part of this long term climate investigation being co-ordinated at Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales. If there was a world record for the most people planting bulbs simultaneously, (in several locations) we could smash it! I may suggest a new category to the Guiness book of records...

All the bulbs have been counted up and are steadily being delivered to the 120 schools across the country. I'd like to welcome each an every pupil and teacher who will be working on this project! If you haven't already recieved my letter please follow this link

Before each bulb is planted, each pupil must also adopt their bulb and promise to care for it. If you want to know how see this link 

The children of St. Joseph's School in Penarth were very excited to read my letter and are very keen to help. They have written me some replies on leaf paper and have promised to plant the bulbs and look after them. Thanks so much St.Joseph's I love these, great idea!

Before you adopt your bulb you may also wish to know where it's come from. My friend Baby Bulb is going to explain:

'My bulb buddies and I come from a nursery plantation in Manorbier, near Tenby in Wales, it's called 'Springfields'.  We didn't spring from the fields, but we were picked and loaded onto a van ready to go to our new homes. At first I was a little afraid, but then when I met Professor Plant at the Museum I understood that I would be cared for by a nice young person and that I have an important job to do. We have all been selected to help us understand how the weather can affect when my friends and I make flowers. My parents before me grew here too, Springfields have been growing us 'Tenby Daffodils' for about 25 years, we are one of the two daffodils that are native to the British Isles".

Just one week until planting now! I can't wait!

Professor Plant 


August 2012

Summer Snaps! Wildlife Photography Workshops @NMC

Posted by Gareth Bonello on 30 August 2012
Fox by Patrick - NMC Photo Workshop - 24/08/12

Over the past two weeks we have been running family activities linked to the Veolia Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2012 Exhibition here at National Museum Cardiff.

Over 400 of you took part and it has been a fantastic fortnight of photographic fun! I've been busy uploading as many photos as possible to the NMC Photo Club Flickr page and I have to say they look great! When you visit the Flickr page the photos are organised into sets on the right hand side of the page so if you took part all you need to do is click on the date of your visit to the Museum and look for your name!

The photos will be going up on the screen in the Clore Discovery Centre in the Museum on Saturday the 8th of September so if you came to the workshops pop in to see your pictures on display at the National Museum!

I'd like to say a big thank you to Cat, Lauren and Catherine for all their excellent work in running the workshops and I'd like to thank everyone who came along to take part as well. Thanks!

July 2012

Improve numeracy & get free bulbs for your school!

Posted by Danielle Cowell on 17 July 2012

Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales is looking for new schools to be involved in this exciting project and receive free spring bulbs.

Spring Bulbs for Schools (KS2)

Plant bulbs in your school grounds to study climate change. Join this UK wide investigation and improve science and numeracy skills. For more details visit

The application only takes a minute to complete and the project  is FREE to all schools who apply by the 30th July.

May 2012

Blind shrimps

Posted by Julian Carter on 29 May 2012
Groundwater shrimp Niphargus aquilex
The blind groundwater shrimp Crangonyx subterraneus.

Within the groundwater in the rocks below our feet is a hidden world where living animals can be found. It’s a secret world that is difficult to study, and frequently forgotten as it is out of sight. In the UK these groundwater dwelling animals tend to be made up of crustaceans (which includes familiar animals such as crabs and lobsters), and range from tiny microscopic copepods to ‘larger’ shrimp like animals.

Recent survey work by Lee Knight, a freshwater ecologist, and Gareth Farr, a groundwater specialist with the Environment Agency, has found some new species to the Welsh fauna. This has included the first records for the very small amphipod Microniphargus leruthi which has now been found in a number of sites around South Wales.

Recently I joined Gareth on some fieldwork around the Bridgend area to collect some voucher specimens for the museum collections. On this particular trip we found two species not represented in the collections (and shown in the pictures). Both of these are termed ‘stygobiont’ animals, which means they are permanent inhabitants of underground environments. As a result they are characteristically white and eyeless as an adaptation to life underground.

So why does it matter that we learn about such animals and their environment? Understanding biodiversity is always important. Our whole way of life is underpinned by the environment through the food we eat, the water we drink, to the resources we use. In the case of these groundwater animals if the groundwater they live in gets polluted, then this affects not only these animals but us through contaminated water supplies. Thus even these small blind beasties have an important role to play in the sustainability of our environment.

Travel Plan for St Fagans

Posted by Danielle Cowell on 23 May 2012

This week is Wales Sustainability Week – a perfect time to launch St Fagans: National History Museum Travel Plan!

We are the first national museum in Wales to launch a Travel Plan, which is all about promoting sustainable travel for both visitors and staff.  This Travel Plan will ensure options for travelling by public transport, bicycle and walking are expanded and promoted. 

The public transport links to the Museum have greatly improved in recent years.  The local service bus from the city centre stops on-site directly outside the main visitor entrance.  Go to our Planning Your Visit section where you can use the Traveline Cymru journey planner tool to find out how you can visit us by public transport.

Our new shuttle bus service travels everyday between the main entrance of National Museum Cardiff and St Fagans.  It costs £3 return or £1.50 single.  Why not make a day of it and visit the two museums?  The shuttle bus timetable is on our website.

If you are feeling more energetic, the main cycle route to the Museum from Cardiff city centre is via the Ely Trail. The signposted section from Fairwater is traffic-free and follows a pleasant riverside route.  Sheltered, secure cycle parking is available for visitors outside the main entrance.  Lockers are available on request. 


  • National Museum Cardiff

    National Museum Cardiff

    Discover art, natural history and geology. With a busy programme of exhibitions and events, we have something to amaze everyone, whatever your interest – and admission is free!

  • St Fagans National History Museum

    St Fagans

    St Fagans is one of Europe's foremost open-air museums and Wales's most popular heritage attraction.

  • Big Pit National Coal Museum

    Big Pit

    Big Pit is a real coal mine and one of Britain's leading mining museums. With facilities to educate and entertain all ages, Big Pit is an exciting and informative day out.

  • National Wool Museum

    National Wool Museum

    Located in the historic former Cambrian Mills, the Museum is a special place with a spellbinding story to tell.

  • National Roman Legion Museum

    National Roman Legion Museum

    In AD 75, the Romans built a fortress at Caerleon that would guard the region for over 200 years. Today at the National Roman Legion Museum you can learn what made the Romans a formidable force and how life wouldn't be the same without them.

  • National Slate Museum

    National Slate Museum

    The National Slate Museum offers a day full of enjoyment and education in a dramatically beautiful landscape on the shores of Llyn Padarn.

  • National Waterfront Museum

    National Waterfront Museum

    The National Waterfront Museum at Swansea tells the story of industry and innovation in Wales, now and over the last 300 years.

  • Rhagor: Explore our collections

    Rhagor (Welsh for ‘more’) offers unprecedented access to the amazing stories that lie behind our collections.