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Hello Bulb Buddies,

An exciting number of schools have reported that their Daffodil and Crocus plants are growing. Some schools have noted that their plants look close to flowering. With that in mind it is a good time to discuss the next part of the project – flowering records! There is a resource on the Spring Bulbs for Schools website entitled ‘keeping flowering records’. This document tells you how to keep flower records, the equipment you must use and the methods for collecting information.

The resource pack sent to your school in October contained a Crocus flowering chart and a Daffodil flowering chart. You can use these to record the dates that your flowers open and the height of your plants on these dates. You can then enter your flowering date and the height of your plant on this date to the National Museum Wales website. Once the first flowering date has been entered for your school, a flower will appear on the map on the Museum website to show where your school is!

Last year some schools were confused and entered the height of their flowers weekly. You can monitor how tall your plants are growing each week and let me know in the ‘comments’ section when you enter your weekly weather records. But, the ‘flowering date’ and the height of your plant on the day it flowers are to be entered on the NMW website only once the flower has opened. 

Look at the picture of Daffodils at St Fagans National History Museum. This picture was taken on a cold day, so the flowers haven’t fully opened. But you can still tell which ones have flowered by looking closely at the picture. If you can clearly see all of the petals then your plant has flowered. Before flowering the petals are held tight in a protective casing and look like this: 

The picture to the right shows a flower bud. Once the flower has matured inside the bud (and the weather is warm enough) the casing will begin to open. This can take a few hours or a few days! If you watch your plants carefully you might see this happening! Once you can see all of your petals and the casing isn’t restricting them at all you can measure the flowers height and enter your findings on the website.

Have you compared the heights of the flowers in your class? Are there big differences in the size and maturity of the plants, or are they all very similar? What about the plants planted in the ground? Are these any bigger than the ones in your plant pots? Why do you think this is? You can let me know your thoughts in the ‘comments’ section when you enter your weekly weather records!

Once the bulbs start to grow send your stories and pictures to our bulb-blog and follow Professor Plant on Twitter

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies!

 

Thank you for updating me on how your plants are doing Bulb Buddies:


Ysgol Pentrefoelas: Dim llawer o law ond yn gynnes. Aethom am dro i weld y lili wen fach yn nghoed y Foelas ac roedd miloedd yno fel carped gwyn. Dim swn am bennau ar ein bylbiau ond maent yn dechrau tyfu. 4 pot heb ddim byd yn y golwg!

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: Not so much rain this week but some frost at night. Almost all the crocuses have shoots now.

Arkholme CE Primary School: Warmer week than usual. Rainfall was less than last week. Bulbs are growing well. Some of last year’s bulbs are flowered.

Bacup Thorn Primary School: We have noticed a real growth in our bulbs and shoots. We have also observed a faster growth in our experimental plants indoors. Our crocus bulbs are around 9cm high and dafs are around 12cm indoors and 10cms outdoors.

Maesycoed Primary: A few crocuses are popping through the surface, yay!

East Fulton Primary School: Some of our bulbs are starting to sprout.

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: Variable weather, mostly windy with a little rain. The daffodils are growing well and 22 of the 30 crocuses are showing shoots. They still don't need watering.

Silverdale St. John's CE School: One of the daffodils has nearly opened - it might happen over the weekend!

Darran Park Primary: This week, the growth of the Spring Bulbs was 5cm. Last week it was 2.5cm, therefore it has gone up 2.5cm

Grange Primary School: We have lots of shoots appearing! Children very excited to see their first flower.

Braidwood Primary School: Still no signs at all of any growth in the bulbs planted in the ground. The bulbs in pots show some growth in the form of shoots.

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: This week has been quite windy with rain at times; the end of storm Jonah! The bulbs still don't need watering! It is quite warm outside for this time of year. We have noticed that 2 crocuses have now got shoots and the daffodils are growing quickly. It is very exciting.

Darran Park Primary: Last week, the growth of the spring bulbs, was 1cm but it has increased by 2 cm this week, and is now, 3 cm.

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: Very windy week observed and we have 3 daffodil flowers in the ground out in flower!

Castlepark Learning Centre: The crocus are starting to appear.

Castlepark Learning Centre: The first daffodils are showing.

Arkholme CE Primary School: It was not very wet this week, mild temperatures as well. Some snow on Saturday and Sunday. Our bulbs are growing well because it is very mild weather.

Ysgol Esgob Morgan: We have had a very windy week, but the daffodils are starting to grow now. From W.

Darran Park Primary: The majority of the pots the spring bulbs have sprouted around 1-2 cm.


Drumpark Primary ASN School: We can see the leaves sticking out but not all of them yet.

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: Starting to feel like spring....

Welcome back Bulb Buddies,

I hope you enjoyed your holidays! How are your daffodils and crocus? Before we broke-up for Christmas a number of schools had written to tell me that their daffodils and mystery bulbs had begun to show above the soil! How are yours getting along? You can update me on how much your plants have grown by adding to the ‘comment’ section when you send in your data. It’s always exciting when you see the first shoots begin to show!

Last year the average flowering date for the Crocus was the 7th of March and the average flowering date for the Daffodil was the 16th of March. The first flowers were reported in early February, but they may appear even earlier this year.  So keep an eye on your plants because it won’t be long now! Remember to measure the height of your flowers on the day they bloom. We will then look at all the dates and heights recorded to find an average date and height and this will help us to spot any changing patterns when we compare our findings to those of previous and future years.

Remember flowers need sunlight, warmth and water to grow. Last year saw less rain and lower temperatures than 2014 and as a result plants flowered slightly later. What has the weather been like where you live? Do you think our flowers will bloom earlier or later than they did last year? 

I look forward to seeing your data this week! 

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies, 

Professor Plant

Your comments, my answers:

Prof Plant: There was a lot of news about the weather before and during the Christmas holidays. It was very interesting to read comments about how the extreme weather was affecting you. We have had a few comments about flooding from schools across the country. Thank you for sharing your stories:

Arkholme CE Primary School: A very, very wet week. Some local flooding, the playground was under water and our football match was cancelled.

St. John the Baptist Primary School: On Wednesday we didn't get out to play because of the rain and it is getting cold!

Staining C of E Voluntry Controlled Primary School: We have had local floods in Staining

Ysgol Rhys Prichard: River Bran flooded Monday and Thursday evening causing roads closed and cars rescued by the fire brigade.

 

Mellor Saint Mary CE Primary School: Internet down due to flooding.

 

St. John the Baptist Primary School: Storm Desmond made it very wet here and our pupil who lives near the Clyde had to put sandbags on the path near the river. The Clyde burst its banks near Ikea and flooded the motorway. Even though it has been quite mild this week, it was snowing in Lanark on Monday and we had hail here today - it is getting colder.

 

Ysgol Pentrefoelas: Cawsom lawer iawn o law dros gyfnod y Nadolig gyda llifogydd yn lleol. Tymheredd cynnes am yr adeg yma o'r flwyddyn.

 

Coppull Parish Primary School: On Tuesday we found a piece of ice in the rain gauge! It must have been cold!!! One day it was raining a lot and we had to bring an umbrella!!!We love doing this project and we wish you good luck on it.xxx

Prof Plant: Hi Coppull Primary, I’m glad to hear you are enjoying the project. Did you wait for the ice to melt to take your rain fall reading? Did you compare the volume of ice to the volume of water once it had melted? If so, what did you find? Ysgol Pentrefoelas also reported ice in their rain gauge: Ysgol Pentrefoelas: Bore oer a wedi rhewi Dydd Llun (dwr wedi rhewi yn y twmffat).

Stanford in the Vale Primary School: Another cold and wet week observed this week! We had a light dusting of snow Saturday morning!!!We have spotted our bulbs in the ground have started to poke through the soil...

Prof Plant: Exciting news about your plants growing Stanford in the Vale Primary! A few other schools have reported seeing their first shoots, including St Joseph’s Primary and Wormit Primary.

Stonehouse Primary School: We are doing this by ourselves now.

Prof Plant: Fantastic Stonehouse Primary, you are doing a very good job!

Shakespeare Primary School: Dear professor plant, we have had so much fun going outside during lessons. We have been running up and down the field.

Prof Plant: I’m glad you are enjoying the project Shakespeare Primary. You can learn anywhere and I hope being outside caring for the plants and studying the environment around you is helping to bring your lessons to life.

Wormit Primary School: Four of our pots have been vandalised at the weekend. We are going to ask parents to keep an eye out and ask our community policewoman to help as well.

Prof Plant: I’m sorry to hear that your pots have been vandalised Wormit Primary. Especially as I know how excited you were to see your first shoots before Christmas. I hope this won’t happen again. Your plants are very robust so hopefully they will still grow.

Stonehouse Primary School: When we came back after the holidays our water container had blown over and we think it had overflowed. A tree in our school garden has also blown over.

Prof Plant: Hi Stonehouse Primary. You must be having really windy weather if trees are being blown over! Did you think the rain gauge was overflowing because there had been a lot of rain? You could look at the MET office website to see the rainfall rate over the holidays: http://wow.metoffice.gov.uk/

The Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary School: When we came back after the Christmas holiday our polytunnel had blown down so the bulbs had not been protected from the weather. However, they were all fine and many of them are showing shoots. The daffodils in the bed are all showing shoots and are already bigger than those in the pots. There has been so much rain that the ground is now getting very muddy. We will have to bring our wellingtons to school so we don't get too dirty!

Prof Plant: Hi Blessed Sacrament Catholic Primary. I’m sorry your polytunnel blew over, it must have been very windy! I’m glad your plants were Okay. They are very hardy and should be fine in all kinds of weather as the soil provides a warm layer protecting the bulbs from the cold. I’m glad to hear your plants have started growing. Why do you think the plants in the ground are growing quicker than the plants in pots? Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies.

Pontrhondda Primary School: Hello Professor Plant Over the Christmas holidays our class plants have been growing as well as they could be growing. The rainfall and tempriture has been ok over Christmas. How have you been over the holidays.

Prof Plant: Hi Pontrhondda Primary, I had lovely holidays thank you. I hope you did too. I’m glad to hear your bulbs are doing well. Keep up the good work!

St. Brigid's Primary School: Primary 7 were at Kilbowie this week, Primary 6 stepped up to the challenge to record this week’s results.

Prof Plant: Hi Primary 7, thank you for arranging for the weather readings to be taken while you were away. Thank you and well done to Primary 6 for recording the data! Maybe you will be taking part next year?

I hope you enjoy your Christmas break and are looking forward to the New Year and seeing your bulbs grow! You will start taking records again from the 4th January.

Some of you have already reported that shoots have appeared in your pots! Usually we say to look out for shoots in January and February, so these are very early this year! We think the shoots are appearing early because the weather has been so warm this winter. It will be interesting to see if our Daffodil and Crocus plants flower earlier than normal. The earliest average flowering dates recorded for Wales by this project were 2007 and 2008. The average flowering date for the Crocus was the 16th of February for both these years. The average flowering date for the Daffodils was the 14th of February in 2007 and 6th March in 2008.

What do you think Bulb Buddies? Why not look at the report 2005-2016 on the Spring Bulbs Project website and see how your data compares so far to that of previous years!

Llanharan Primary have been in touch to share pictures of their first shoots! Have a close look at the pictures so you know what to look out for!

There have been lots of spring flowers appearing early this year. I have included pictures of some that have been flowering in the Cardiff area. If you see any early flowers please tell me about them in the comments section when you enter your data after the holidays. Or better yet, maybe you could take photos and ask your teacher to share them with me on Twitter or by email!

Happy Christmas and a Merry New Year,

From Professor Plant & Baby Bulb

 

Your Comments My Answers:


Ysgol Deganwy: Do we round up or down with rainfall totals greater than 20?

Professor Plant: That’s a great question Ysgol Deganwy. You round the rainfall reading up or down depending on which reading it is closest to. If the reading is less than halfway between two marks (say 2mm and 3mm) then you round down, if the readings are halfway or higher (so in this example 1.5mm or over) you round up! Here’s a fun clip on BBC Bitesize to help illustrate estimating and rounding numbers: http://www.bbc.co.uk/education/clips/zgnyr82 Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies!

 

Dasfen Primary School: Where doesn't seem to be an option to input 0.1mm etc, please advise as to how I am supposed to input this data. Thank you.

Professor Plant: Hi Dasfen Primary, in this instance you would round down to 0mm. Ysgol Deganwy asked a similar question above!

 

Law Primary School: It snowed a little today at lunchtime.

Professor Plant: Fantastic Law Primary School. I hope you enjoyed the snow. Elsewhere the weather has been warmer than usual and spring flowers have started growing!

 

Ysgol Rhys Prichard: It was very windy over the weekend and on Thursday night. Some of the plant labels blew off so we had to staple them on to the pots.

Professor Plant: Good thinking Ysgol Rhys Pritchard, stapling your labels to your pots is a great idea. I hope the weather has calmed down for you now!

 

Abbey Primary School: Friday 13th November is a local holiday. I have used figure from BBC weather website as I couldn't send no record.

Professor Plant: Great work Abbey Primary School. Apologies that the ‘no record’ button wasn’t working, it should be working again now.


Carnbroe Primary School: Look at how much rain we had on Thursday evening. We had our parents evening on Thursday night and had climb a fence as part of the main entrance was flooded!

Professor Plant: Wow Carnbroe Primary, there must have been a lot of rain! Castlepark Primary also commented that they were surprised by how much rain they had.

 

Saint Anthony's Primary School: M and me found it interesting seeing how the rain gauge after storm Abigail.

Professor Plant: Hi Saint Anthony’s, I was interested to see your rain readings after the storm. Other schools reported heavy rain fall for this week, including Silverdale St. John's CE School: ‘Another wet week - we certainly don't need to water our bulbs!’ and Drumpark Primary ASN School: ‘We had lots of rain and wind at the end of the week from Storm Abigail.’ And Shakespeare Primary School: ‘Dear Professor Plant, We got absolutely soaked on Friday. It rained nonstop! We are loving the project though.’


Bent Primary School: Sorry we were at a residential trip for 3 days and although we asked the weather to be recorded , we do not think their results are accurate enough to add to the data.

Professor Plant: Not to worry Bent Primary School, thank you for trying to arrange for the data to be collected but you did the right thing by entering ‘no record’ if the readings weren’t accurate. Keep up the good work!

Teacher: On Thursday we needed to keep our plants in because of the strong winds and rain also because the storm [Abigail] was going to blow them away or make them fall over.

Professor Plant: Hi there, well done for looking out for your bulbs. We do ask that the pots are kept outside to ensure a fair experiment, but you did the right thing by taking them inside until the storm passed. It’s always best to keep them in a cool area as a warm room could affect the results. Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies.

 

Calderwood Primary School: We have had such stormy weather this week with really high winds. It is also to be very cold over the weekend. We hope that our bulbs outside will be ok. We have been taking good care of our bulbs in the class.

Professor Plant: Thank you for taking such good care of your bulbs Calderwood Primary. Remember that all your bulbs in pots should be kept outside in a sheltered area. If some are inside and some are outside you can compare the flowering dates to see if those inside or outside flower first. If this is the case then please only enter flowering dates to the Museum website for the plants being kept outside. Keep up the good work bulb buddies!

 

Betws Primary School: A stormy week, we are hoping our plants are not too soggy! St. Paul's Primary School: Another very wet start to the week! We wonder if the extra rain will affect how the bulbs grow later! Are they drowning?

Professor Plant: Not to worry Betws and St Paul’s Primary, the bulbs like the rain and will be fine. The holes at the bottom of the pot allow excess water to drain away. If it is raining a lot and the soil is moist then there is no need to water the plants. The amount of rain does affect the development of the plants, they develop later in years with less rain and less sunlight hours. Why not have a look at the report 2005-2015 on the Spring Bulbs website and compare your readings so far this year to the average readings for last year? Do you think your flowers will appear earlier or later this year?
 

East Fulton Primary School: Thank you for the super seeds and certificate - it is now up on our Science wall!

Professor Plant: Hi East Fulton Primary. The seeds and certificate were provided by the Edina Trust – I’m glad you liked them! I’m sure the Edina Trust would love a photo of your science wall! Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies!


Ladywell Primary School: We have still yet to experience the flowering of our plants and hope we get to see them soon.

Professor Plant: Hi Ladywell Primary you have a little while to wait yet! Your plants should flower between February and March. Well done for looking after them so well. Keep up the good work!

Hello Bulb Buddies,

We are off to a fantastic start this year. With 177 schools and 6,339 pupils taking part in the Spring Bulbs for Schools investigation 2015-16.

Each pupil taking part has planted their Daffodil and Crocus bulb and labelled their pot. Schools have been using the thermometer and rain gauge provided by the project to take weather readings on days they are in school, and have been uploading their findings to the National Museum Wales website.

You can see the findings so far on the Spring Bulbs project webpage

The results for each participating school are illustrated by graphs. The website has been edited this year to include results from previous years. This means that returning schools can easily see how their data compares to previous years!  

Schools in Wales took part in the Edina Trust’s ‘Planting Day Photo Competition’ for the first time this year. We had some lovely photos sent in by participating schools and it was very difficult to choose just five winners. You can see all of the photos on the Spring Bulb project Twitter page: @Professor_Plant

There have been many interesting questions and comments sent in with the weekly data. Please see below for these and my responses.

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies,

Profesor Plant

 

Your questions, my answers:

Stonehouse Primary School: Tuesday was a strange day for weather. It was frosty in the morning but in the afternoon all the children had their coats off because it was so hot. Ysgol Pentrefoelas: Mae hi wedi bod yn gynnes wythnos yma a nin chwarae allan heb ddim cot. Professor Plant: Hello Ysgol Pentrefoelas and Stonehouse Primary. You both noted in the first week of weather records that it had been warm enough to play outside without coats. Aren’t you lucky! Other schools reported lots of rain and frost! It’s interesting that you are both so far apart and that one of you is on the coast (Conwy) and the other is in-land (South Lanarkshire). What strange weather for November! Have you seen that the warm November weather has caused Daffodils to flower in Cornwall! Daffodils flower slightly earlier in Cornwall because it is slightly warmer there, but this variety of Daffodil would usually flower in December and they were a month early! I wonder if our plants will be earlier than usual this year!

School: Hi, I'm unsure as we are recording the amount of rain- do we need to water the plants ourselves? Professor Plant: Hello, thank you for your question. Yes, please do water your plants twice a week if they look like they need it. You won’t need to water them on days where it has rained enough that the soil is moist.

St David's RC Primary School: It was sunny at the start of the week and then the rain came and got heavier and heavier through the week and it was terrible weather for us. We had to stay inside through the rest of the week it was awful weather we had on Wednesday Thursday and Friday. We did not like the weather, did you have good weather where you are or bad weather because we didn't have very good weather it was horrible it was very, very, very boring for us because we had to stay in side for 2 weeks isn't that boring Mr Plant what would you do if you stayed inside for 2 weeks. Professor Plant: Dear St David’s RC Primary, I’m sorry to hear you had such awful weather during the first week of the project. I hope it has improved! I will look at your weather reading now to see! Inside for two weeks! I would probably read lots of books if I had stay indoors that long. There are some things you can read on the Spring Bulbs website. When you are next stuck indoors why not have a look for the ‘Life of a Plant – make your own Origami booklet’ resource on my website!

Severn Primary: We had an INSET day on Monday November 2nd, so we didn't take any readings. It wasn't really 0degrees. Ysgol Mair: On Monday 2nd November we were not in school so have no data but we were not able to record 'no record'. Professor Plant: Dear Severn Primary & Ysgol Mair, I’m sorry you weren’t able to record your inset day. We had a slight blip with the website where the ‘no record’ button wasn’t working. In future please record all days where there are no readings as ‘no record’. Thank you for spotting that readings of 0degrees can affect the results and for letting me know Bulb Buddies!

Betws Primary School: We collected the data for our class. It was warm and sunny at the start of the week. We had a lot of rain on Thursday and Friday. Our bulbs should be happy! Professor Plant: Well done Betws Primary. Keep up the good work.

Castlepark Primary School: P6 were very enthusiastic about keeping track of the temperature and rainfall this week. They felt like real scientists and are ready to show another class how to record the details next week. Professor Plant: Fantastic Castlepark Primary. I’m glad you are learning new skills through the project and that you are having so much fun doing so. You really are Super Scientists!

St. Oswalds V A School: We are worried about having a true reading on a Monday if it has rained over the weekend. Shall we empty the rain gauge Monday morning and take the rainfall measurement as normal? Professor Plant: Hi St Oswalds. That’s a good question, well done for thinking about the effect this has on Monday’s results. The reading on Monday afternoon will include any residual (left over) rain fall from the weekend. Please don’t empty the rain gauge before taking Monday’s reading, as we want the reading to reflect the weather over at least the last 24 hours. Keep up the good work bulb buddies.

Our Lady of Peace Primary School: Hello we had fun planting the bulbs. It wasn't the first time we have planted something. We have planted spider plants in primary 1. Hopefully our plants come up healthy. Good bye. Professor Plant: Hello Our Lady of Peace Primary, I’m glad to hear you enjoyed planting! You sound like experienced gardeners now! Keep up the good work!

Drumpark Primary ASN School: We have had fun taking data. Professor Plant: I’m glad to hear it Drumpark Primary. Keep up the good work!

Biggar Primary School: We are enjoying the experiments. Professor Plant: I’m glad to hear you are enjoying the project Biggar Primary. For more experiment ideas look for ‘Professor Plant’s investigation Ideas’ on the Spring Bulbs website: https://www.museumwales.ac.uk/spring-bulbs/

Maesycoed Primary: A very mild start to the season. Our year group is split into two classes with a different facing outdoor area. We are monitoring the effects the other class experience against our own as we have more sunlight then they do but they are more sheltered. We will let you know if their flowers appear first. Professor Plant: Fantastic experiment Maesycoed Primary! Please do let me know what your findings are and what you learn from them! This also gives you an opportunity to practice averages. As only one reading a day is needed on the Museum website, you could look at the readings taken by each class and work out the average to enter to the website! Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies.

Brisbane Primary School: Our Monday reading is collated over the weekend. We are taking our readings at 2.30pm Mon - Frid. Thank you Professor Plant. Professor Plant: Hello Brisbane Primary, thank you for your up-date. It’s great that you are managing to take your readings at the same time each day, as this helps to ensure a fair experiment. Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies.

 

Hello Bulb Buddies,

There is only a week to go before planting day on 20th October! Are you ready? Here are some helpful resources to prepare you for planting your bulbs and for looking after them over the coming months! These are also on the Spring Bulbs for Schools website: http://www.museumwales.ac.uk/spring-bulbs/

Before planting day you should have read these documents:

  • A Letter from Professor Plant (introduction to the project)
  • Adopt your Bulb (an overview of the care your Bulbs will need)
  • Planting your Bulbs (guidelines for ensuring a fair experiment)

And completed these activities:

  • Bulb Adoption Certificate
  • Make Bulb Labels

It's important you read these as they contain important information! For example, do you know how deep you need to plant your bulbs? Or how to label your pot so that you know where the Daffodil and Crocus are planted?

Remember to take photos of your planting day to enter into the Planting Day Photo Competition!

Best of luck Bulb Buddies! Let us know how you get on!

Professor Plant & Baby Bulb