Signs of Spring
The sun is shining through my window here in Cardiff and it feels like Spring has arrived! My own plants are not ready to flower yet, my tallest daffodil is 80mm tall and my crocus is still only 30mm tall, but I am sure they will like the sunshine! I took a photo this morning of daffodils and crocuses blooming in Bute Park, Cardiff, aren’t they beautiful?
Which schools have had their first flowers?
Ysgol Glan Cleddau in Wales has reported their first crocus has opened, and Archbishop Hutton's Primary School in England have reported that their first daffodil has opened! Congratulations and well done for sending in your records.
Rougemont Junior School in Wales sent me this message: Well Professor Plant great excitement here at Rougemont School ... our MYSTERY BULBS have started to flower! They look very healthy, shorter in stem than the other Daffodil bulbs that we planted too. We think they could be Narcissus maybe Tete a tete? Will send a photo soon.
Prof. P: That is very exciting Rougemont School, and well done for investigating what kind of Narcissus they might be – Great work! I look forward to seeing your photos.
And Kilmaron Special School in Scotland said: THIS IS AN OBSERVATION OF LAST YEARS BULBS. We have been monitoring last years crocus and daffodil bulbs to see if older bulbs flower before newly planted bulbs. After our 1/2 term holiday we came back to find the crocus bulbs planted in the pots from last year had opened while this years crocus bulbs look to be about 7-10 days behind in their flowering. We are expecting to post this years results towards the end of next week.
Prof. P: This is really excellent monitoring and investigating Kilmaron! I am very impressed. You are right that older bulbs usually flower sooner than new baby bulbs, one reason for this is that they have had an extra year to grow and store up food.
I wonder where flowers will open next? You can see where flowers have opened so far by looking at this map. If your flowers haven’t opened yet then watch them closely as they may open very soon!
Remember to send me you flower records as soon as your flowers open. To remind yourself what to do, please use my PowerPoint presentation how to keep flower records, and read the What and when to record page on my website.
- 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.
- Daffodils tilt their heads downwards just before opening. This prevents them from filling with rain after they open.
- You need to all send in your flower records to win the Super Scientist Competition!
Your questions, my answers:
Ysgol Terrig: It snowed heavily on Monday morning and stopped about lunch time. Our bulbs are starting to grow :) Prof P: I’m glad your bulbs are growing, did you go out to play in the snow?
Raglan VC Primary: We missed Tuesday because it was raining cat's and dog's, and we had bike training. Prof P: I love that saying! Can you imagine what it would be like if it really did rain cats and dogs? How would we measure that in our rain gauge?
Chatelherault Primary School: Sorry we did not record information on Thursday because we were away all day at a school trip. We were excited to see little green shoots in some of the plants. Prof P: Thanks for letting me know Chatelherault, I hope you had fun on your school trip.
Greyfriars RC Primary School: The plants are growing well and it's wonderful seeing them grow up. The mystery bulbs are really a mystery. from A and A :) Prof P: I hope your mystery will soon be solved Greyfriars!
Arkholme CE Primary School: Unfortunately the plant pots are standing in water this week. Let's hope next week is drier. The mystery bulbs are growing better than the others. Flower buds just appearing. From H. Prof P: I am sure your plants will survive the rain Arkholme, keep watching those flower buds!
Rain, rain and more rain
What a very wet and rainy January we had bulb buddies! It felt like it rained nearly every day! But how much rain did we really have compared to average?
Weather Scientists at the Met Office have created this map of the U.K. to show how much rain we had in January. You can have a closer look by following this link.
How did they calculate average rainfall? The Met Office Scientists have been keeping weather records for a very long time! They added up how much rain fell in January for 30 years (from 1981 to 2010) then divided by 30 to calculate how much rain fell on average each year.
Can you see the two different shades of dark blue? Rainfall in these areas was between two and three times the average for January. Can you see the black areas in the south of England and in eastern Scotland? Rainfall in these areas was more than three times the average for January!
Top tip for using this map:
- 100% of average means that the rain was the same as average.
- 200% of average means that there was twice as much rain as average.
Can you find where you live on the map? What colour is the map where you live? How much rain fell in your area? Is it more than average? Or less than average? You may want to ask your teacher to help you answer these questions!
Your questions, my answers:
Gladestry C.I.W. School: Our school was closed on Thursday because of a power cut so our head teacher recorded the results that day. Prof P: We done to your head teacher! I am very glad your head teacher is helping you with your investigation.
St Mellons Church in Wales Primary School: Hello Professor Plant. It has been so windy this week that our thermometer has blown off the wall and broken. We have been using the car thermometer. L, J and L-b. Prof P: Hello L, J and L-b at St Mellons School! I am very sorry to hear that your thermometer is broken, I will email your teacher and arrange to send you a new one. Well done for your quick thinking in using the car thermometer.
Bleasdale CE Primary School: It is very cold and wet. Prof P: I agree BleasdaleSchool!
Ysgol Gynradd Dolgellau: Yn anffodus mae ein thermometr wedi torri ar ol cael ei chwythu gan y gwynt mawr yn ystod yr wythnos. Athro’r Ardd: Trueni mawr i glywed hyn Ysgol Gynradd Dolgellau. Bydda i’n e-bostio eich athro i drefnu anfon thermomedr newydd atoch chi.
Manor Road Primary School (Lancashire): on Wednesday there was a red weather warning but luckily the plants stayed in place. Prof P: I’m very happy to hear that your plants are okay!
Stanford in the Vale Primary School: It is very rainy here but we are not flooded. Prof P: I am very glad to hear that Stanford! What colour is the rainfall map is your area?
Burscough Bridge Methodist School: The heavy gales have caused the rainfall measurements to be unreadable as the measuring vessel was continually disrupted and blown over. Prof P: Gosh it must have been very stormy. Thanks for letting me know, keep up the good work!
1st flower records for England and Wales!
Fantastic news bulb buddies, we have our first flower records!
Carnforth North Road Primary School in Lancashire, England were the first school to send in flower records. Their first crocus opened on the 4 February.
Raglan VC Primary School in Monmouthshire, Wales were the first Welsh school to send in flower records. Their first crocus opened on 7 February.
Well done to both these schools for sending in your flower records!
Archbishop Hutton's Primary School in England have also reported that the crocuses that they have planted in the ground have started to flower. Plants in the ground often flower sooner than ones in pots, has anyone else noticed this?
These flower records are much earlier than last year, when the first crocuses were reported on the 1 March. Why do you think this might be?
If we look at the results from the Spring Bulbs Project in previous years, flowering has been earlier in years with higher rainfall, warmer temperatures and more hours of sunshine. Why not have a think about what the weather has been like where you live? Do you think this year’s weather will help your flowers to grow?
Your questions, my answers:
Ysgol Terrig: Our bulbs are now growing above the soil. Prof P: Fantastic new Ysgol Terrig, hopefully it won’t be long until you start to see flowers.
Glyncollen Primary School: we are very exited because are bulbs are going to open soon. next week we are going to measure them. Prof P: Great investigating Glyncollen, have fun with your measuring.
Manor Road Primary School (Lancashire): It rained a lot and it was very cold and windy. It has not been minus yet. Prof P: I haven’t recorded a minus temperature in Cardiff either.
Stanford in the Vale Primary School: We have had alot of rain recently but the bulbs continue to grow bigger and bigger. Prof P: It certainly has been very very rainy, I hope you haven’t had any flooding.
Greyfriars RC Primary School: Me and D. are watering the plants really well. We enjoyed it alot. D: I am really enjoying the bulbs. My one is called xdox and pop. It was supposed to be xbox and pop. Thank you enjoyed this week. Prof P: What funny names for your plants! Very imaginative.
Freuchie Primary School: The children were really excited on Monday 27th January when they realised that 40mm of water had been collected over the weekend! Prof P: Wow - that really is a lot of rain!
Woodplumpton St. Anne's Primary School: We are very excited because the first shoots are beginning to appear. It has been very wet but so far the temperature has not dropped below zero. We wonder if this is unusual. Prof P: Great question Woodplumpton! I have had a look back over our weather data for previous years and it looks like this is not that unusual. The average daytime temperature for the month has only dropped below zero once in the 8 years we have been running the Spring Bulbs investigation. This was in December 2011 when there was heavy snow. I do think it has been less cold this January than in previous years. I look forward to receiving the weather data from all the schools so I can compare all the data in my Spring Bulbs Report!
Newport Primary School: Horrible wet weather most of the week. Prof P: The trouble with the rain is that it gets in the way of playtime doesn’t it?
Manor Road Primary School (Lancashire): The weather has been cold, wet and windy this week. We have spotted our first shoots peeping through in our pots though. Prof P: It seems like your bulbs don’t mind the wet weather too much.
Chatelherault Primary School: Bad news some people have been pulling out our bulbs but some are growing. And we have had a lot of rain and sun. Prof P: Oh no! I’m sorry to hear that someone has disturbed your bulbs. I hope that the ones that are left will be okay. Sun and rain are the perfect combination to make them grow!
Big Garden Bird Watch
Last weekend was RSPB’s annual Big Garden Bird Watch, the world’s largest bird survey! On Saturday I joined in the fun by making fat ball birdfeeders with some of the visitors to the museum. Inspired by the Big Garden Bird Watch, I spent a little time this week in the bird hide at St Fagans. Here are a few photos of what I saw…
Did you take part? What birds you see in your garden? Remember to report your findings to the RSPB - Big Garden Bird Watch
Keep in touch with the wildlife at St Fagans by following on Twitter
Little Tiny Shoots
Hi bulb buddies
How are your bulbs getting on? Remember to watch them closely as from January onwards you may start to see little green shoots pushing up through the soil – it’s very exciting when they first appear! I was so happy when I went outside this week and saw these little tiny shoots in my plant pots – they are so lovely!
Archbishop Hutton's Primary School sent me this message: A. and J. came running to tell me that our first crocuses have appeared over the weekend and we have taken some photos of them.
That’s fantastic news! Well done A. and J.! I am really glad you are so excited about your plants. I would love to see your photos, maybe you could email them to me?
I hope you are all enjoying your investigation bulb buddies. When your plants start to peep through the soil, why don’t you take some photos too? If you email them to me I will put them on this blog.
WHAT TO DO NEXT…
- Keep up the great work sending in your weather reports.
- Watch for your first shoots to arrive.
- Keep watching every day as they grow taller.
- When you flowers open - celebrate!! Then record the date and how high the plant is.
- Send me your Flower Records on the website.
Please use my Power Point presentation to find out how to keep flower records.
Your questions, my answers:
Ysgol Bro Eirwg: Blwyddyn Newydd Dda Athro’r Ardd! Ar ôl y gwyliau roedd y casglydd glaw yn llawn, felly methu cymryd darlleniad cywir. Arthro’r Ardd: Blwyddyn Newydd Dda Ysgol Bro Eirwg! Diolch am roi gwybod i fi am eich problemau mesur glaw, bydda i’n nodi hyn. Peidiwch â phoeni, digwyddodd hyn i lawer o ysgolion oherwydd iddi fwrw cymaint o law dros y gwyliau.
Cawthorne's Endowed Primary School: Im sorry we missed Friday we still want to go to Wales!!! Please wish us luck in Manchester. Prof P: Wishing you lots and lots of luck with your Spring bulbs Cawthorne School! Just wanted to let you know that if you are an English School and you win the Super Scientist Prize, we will arrange a day out for you in England instead of you travelling to Wales. It will still be a Super fun day, I promise.
Woodplumpton St. Anne's Primary School: sorry we forgot to take readings on two days - our teacher was not in school to remind us. There was a lot of rain over the holidays! We were surprised the temperatures were as high as they were. It felt colder. We talked about wind chill. Prof P: You are doing a great job and I am very pleased to hear you have talked about wind chill, it can make us feel VERY cold, can't it? Brrrrr.
The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: When we came back from our Christmas break the rainfall gauge was overflowing as nobody had been able to empty it over the holidays. The ground is getting very wet and muddy and we have to be careful collecting the information. Prof P: Be careful in the mud! We don't want any accidents, were you wearing your school shoes or your wellies?
Raglan VC Primary: Extreme rainfall on Wednesday evening. Prof P: There has been some very extreme weather recently Raglan, you are right!
Llanishen Fach C.P School: No rainfall measurement for Monday as rain gauge was full from holiday. Very high measurement for Friday rainfall - gauge was emptied on Weds and no rainfall Thursday during day. Prof P: Excellent weather reporting Llanishen Fach.
Stanford in the Vale Primary School: Monday we were off. We have noticed that the bulbs have started to sprout and are growing nicely. Prof P: Fantastic news!! Thanks for letting me know I hope you enjoy watching them grow!
Greyfriars RC Primary School: it was 50mm because that was all over the holidays. C: this is exciting and i dont know whats gonna happen. R: it was fun watering the plants with C. Prof P: Well done C and R, its great to hear you are working together and having fun.
Ysgol Nant Y Coed: School was closed on Monday sorry professor plant. Prof P: That's okay Ysgol Nant Y Coed, keep up the good work!
John Cross CE Primary School: we had some problems because sheep got on to our field and knocked over the rain collector. Prof P: What cheeky sheep! Maybe they were interested in your investigation and came over to have a closer look.
At the beginning of January we had a crochet session where myself and Anna Phillips attempted to turn everyone into crochet queens. Anna made up a great little easy pattern to crochet circles which could then be turned into a garland, or maybe a coaster if you stopped at just making one. We will be having another crochet meet up on March 15 so come along to that one, and because everyone seems keen I'll try and add more dates to the rest of the year.
St Dwynwen's Day Cards and a Mocktail
Last saturday (25th) was St Dwynwen's Day! I hope you all had cards and treats... we had a family drop-in card making session here in St Fagans National History Museum and we also did a bit of sewing too.
We will be doing something pretty similar for Valentine's Day on 8th and 9th of February.
And the mocktail?
That was for reading group! We were discussing 'Rules of Civility' by Amor Towles which is set in 1930s New York and therefore we had suitably 30s type refreshments - Shirley Temples and kit kats all round! (the kit-kat was introduced in 1937). Our next reading group meet up will be on 22 February where we'll be discussing Alan Hollinghurst's 'The Stranger's Child'. It's a big book, so you'd better start now.
A Child's Christmas in Wales - Your Chistmas Memories
We've had some lovely, poetic and evocative examples in our Dylan Thomas themed family workshops these past couple of weeks, lots of laden christmas trees, roaring fires, burning christmas puds, snow boots and snowmen, and stocking full to bursting point to name but a few, here are some photos of some of them.
A Child's Christmas in Wales - Family Christmas Holiday Workshops at National Museum, Cardiff
Inspired by the amazing Peter Blake exhibition 'Llareggub' (Peter Blake illustrates Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas) we are going to be enjoying extracts from Dylan Thomas' 'A Child's Christmas in Wales' in the Clore Discovery Centre and making lovely bags to store our own festive treasures.
As can be seen from the photograph of our prepartations the activity will involve lots of ribbon, shiny bells, the wonderful words of Dylan Thomas and a chance for you to share your favourite Christmas memories.
Nadolig Llawen / Happy Christmas
One recording week til Christmas!
Merry Christmas Bulb Buddies!
I can't believe this is the last recording week of 2013! Congratulations on keeping weather records for the last six weeks! You don't need to keep anymore records now until the week beginning the 2nd of January 2014. You can leave your bulbs in school over Christmas and relax until the New Year. I hope you have a fantastic Christmas after working so hard this term!
We've had some terrible weather this week so I do hope you didn't have any storm damage or flooding in your local area. The weather has caused some terrible problems for people across the UK - see the weather in pictures http://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/feeds/25232374
Manor Primary School (Oxfordshire) reported:We are very sad to say that all the plant pots blew over. As a result the bulbs and compost came out the pots. I just wondered what you would like us to do and whether we can re pot and carry on?
With the recent weather, I'm sure many pots blew over and many bulbs will need re-potting. Don't worry your baby bulbs are fairly tough and will be fine if they are quickly tucked safely back into their pots.
Merry Christmas from Professor Plant and Baby Bulb!
St. Mary's Catholic Primary School, Leyland: Dear Professor Plant. On Tuesday and Friday this week, we think our temperature was so high because the sun was shining right on our thermometer. It felt so much colder - our teacher’s car thermometer showed 3 degrees. Next week, we are going to move our thermometer to a different place where the sun will not shine directly onto it. Love from Mrs Thompson's Year 1 Class. Prof:P: You've done the right thing here, it's important that thermometers are not placed in direct sunlight or they will show higher temperatures.
Raglan VC Primary: Rainfall on Mon included the weekend rainfall. A crocus bulb was starting to shoot (20/11/13), we covered it with a handful of compost. Prof.P: This is a good idea to keep the bulb warm but as long as the crocus bulb was planted 10cm beneath the soil then you shouldn't need to cover over any shoots in future.
Ysgol Bro Eirwg: Cwestiwn oddi wrth Rhys: Pam mae angen dwr ar y bylbiau? Prof.P: You only need to water your bulbs if the soil in the pots becomes dry to touch. At this time of year there should be plenty of water from the rain but it's important to check your pots when you make your weather records. Bulbs need water which they absorb through their roots. The water helps the plant grow shoots and prepare to flower in the spring.
Manor Road Primary School (Lancashire): It's been a blustery but fairly dry week here in Lancashire. Our bulb labels have suffered in the winds but hopefully the bulbs will be snug in their pots! Prof.P: Sorry your labels are ruined but glad your bulbs are safe :-)
Burscough Bridge Methodist School: Tuesday there was a small layering of snow. Prof.P: How exciting! Also bulbs need cold weather to trigger their growth at this time of year - so all good for the bulbs.
Ysgol Rhys Prichard: Tuesday rainfall fell as sleet. Thursday was the first real frost this winter. Prof.P: Again, this is great for the bulbs to trigger their growth.
Arkholme CE Primary School: There are some difficulties on a Monday morning because sometimes it might have rained over the weekend. Prof.P: Don't worry Arkholme - we expect all the schools taking part to have a higher reading on a Monday so this is not a problem.
Greyfriars RC Primary School: hi our bulbs are doing fine and the leaves on the trees in the school garden have fallen. The Scots Pine still has its needles. From Airlie and Athen. Prof.P: Yes the Scots pine is one of our few native plants to remain green in the winter. Can you think of anymore? These plants are often mentioned in carols.
The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: The weather is very varied each day; sunshine, cloud, breeze. On Sunday night it froze hard so even though the temperature was high in the sunshine, the compost in the pots was frozen. Prof.P: this is good for the bulbs at this time of year it tells them that it is winter now and that spring is on its way in a few months.
St. Ignatius Primary School: Again the bulbs have been vandalised over the weekend. The pots have been moved or tipped over. Our janitor is out at the moment trying to fix them and get everything back to normal. We are very upset and disappointed by this but we will continue to look after our plants as best we can. Prof.P: Very sorry to hear that this has happened again but delighted to hear that you are determined to continue. Is there anywhere else in the school that is safer to keep them?
Glyncollen Primary School: We are getting really good at recording our weather data. This week has been very cold. We hope the bulbs are warm in the earth. Prof.P: Don't worry the bulbs will be fine - they like it cold at this time of year. Glad to hear that you are getting good at keeping your weather records it's a very useful skill that you are learning.
Raglan VC Primary: 10% of pots are showing growth of bulbs. Prof.P: I like how you are reporting this. Good use of numeracy!
Burscough Bridge Methodist School: Thursday night seen the area hit by storms. Prof.P: Glad the school is safe.
The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: A terrible storm on Tuesday night which continued with a wet and windy Wednesday. The pots keep filling up with leaves as fast as we can clear them but no need to water yet. The children are enjoying looking at the scales on the rain gauge and thermometer and comparing them to the rulers we are using in maths. Prof.P: Great to hear you are enjoying comparing this will make you super at science. Don’t worry about the leaves too much the bulbs will find their way through the leaves without any problems.