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,
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
St Brigid’s primary in Denbighshire won a trip to The National Slate Museum in Llanberis and a day of nature based activities as their prize for participating in the Spring Bulbs in schools project 2014-15. St Brigid’s year 6 class worked very hard on the project this year, taking daily weather readings and sending these in weekly to the Amgueddfa Cymru - National Museum Wales website. Each pupil cared for their plants and entered their individual flowering dates and heights to the website.
It was very hard to choose winners this year, as many schools had complete or near complete weather records. To make the decision fair the top schools were entered into a hat and a winner picked out at random for Wales, England and Scotland. Those that were not picked out became the ‘runners up’ who each received £40 gift vouchers to spend on gardening resources for their schools. The ‘highly commended’ schools received meadow resource packs, meadow seeds and sunflower seeds. The ‘special recognition’ schools received meadow resource packs and meadow seeds. All schools who entered data were awarded Super Scientist certificates and pencils in recognition of the fantastic work they have done for National Museum Wales through taking part in the investigation.
St Brigid’s visited Llanberis on 22 May, where they were greeted by Dafydd Roberts the Museum’s Keeper and myself, the Spring Bulbs Project Co-ordinator. We began by discussing the project results for 2014-15 and comparing these to previous years. You can study the report summary 2005-2015 for yourself here.
Next, we were escorted to the Quarrymen’s Cottages at Fron Haul and given a fascinating overview by Wyn Lloyd-Hughes of how life for the inhabitants would have changed over the course of 100 years. This was a fantastic way of bringing the stories and lives of the families associated with the local slate industry alive and the group enjoyed exploring the houses and discussing differences in décor and possessions between 1861, 1901 and 1969.
Following Fron Haul, we rushed over to the yard for a short introductory film about the history of the North Wales slate industry; ‘To Steal a Mountain’. This was very atmospheric, with the class falling silent as the lights dimmed and gasping at dramatic (or loud) intervals in the film. This was followed by a slate splitting demonstration by Carwyn Price, who split and dressed slate in front of the group. We watched as he split slate tiles and dressed slate into the shape of a heart. He showed us other examples of art that could be created with these methods, such as fans and love spoons. Carwyn offered the audience a chance to try their hand at slate splitting and the class nominated their teacher Mr Madog! He did a great job and was cheered throughout by the class.
Next, Peredur Hughes took us for a tour of the Museum’s working water wheel and explained the process that turned it and how this power was harnessed to operated machines in the Gilfach Ddu workshops. This is the largest water wheel on the British mainland with a diameter of 15.4 meters, and was used between 1870 and 1925 when it was replaced by a Pelton wheel. Standing under the wheel as it sprays water, gently groans and continually turns is quite an experience, especially when you begin to comprehend the engineering skills needed to design and build it. As part of the Spring Bulbs project schools are provided with resources to aid discussions around climate change and different energy sources - seeing a massive water wheel in motion added a level of understanding to these investigations.
A quick break for lunch and we were off up to the quarry for our nature activities. To begin with we discussed the smells, textures, sounds and sights of the woodland. We then went on a mini-beast hunt which led to discussions on how to classify different species and the different habitats our mini-beasts favoured. After making our own ‘perfumes of the forest’, finding out how many legs a woodlice has and that boys are just as squeamish as girls – we moved on to our next activity and built a nest! The group were very enthusiastic, as you can tell from the pictures and the size of the branches/ trees they managed to move with their makeshift beaks (I think there may have been a little cheating here!). It was a fantastic photo opportunity and great fun.
Peredur met us at the Vivian Quarry and gave us an insight into it’s history, including a closer look at the cliffs of slate and an insight into how the Quarrymen worked and interpreted the face of the Quarry. He discussed the rock man’s terms used to differentiate sections of slate, the geology behind their make-up, and how being able to tell a ‘trwyn’ from a ‘cefn crwn‘ helped Quarrymen interpret the slate, manipulate it to the results they wanted, and lessen the risk to their lives through making it possible to predict the results of their work. This was fascinating, the Vivian Quarry provided a beautiful setting, and it was a lovely way to end our day.
I thoroughly enjoyed meeting year 6 St Brigid’s and being able to thank them personally for their contribution to the Spring Bulbs in Schools project. It was a fantastic day, and I would like to thank the staff at the National Slate Museum for their hospitality and the time and effort they gave to make the trip such fun.
Applications are now open for schools in Wales to participate in the Spring Bulbs Project 2015-16. The winners will receive an action packed class trip full of nature activities to their closest Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales site.
Applications are now closed for schools in England and Scotland, but these schools can find information on next years project (2016-17) on the Edina Trust website.