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Tulip Garden Update: October 13, 2000

Today's Report Includes:

The First Journey North Gardens Have Been Planted!
In last month's report, we were waiting for the first gardens of the year to be planted. And the word was heard across the globe!

Students from Alaska to Finland set out to plant their Official Journey North Gardens. Here are some of their comments:

09/26/00 Anchorage, AK (61.21 N, -149.86 W)
"We did research for 3 years and found a better spot to plant our garden. Our tulips should bloom before the project ends this year!"
Mr. Sterling's 6th Grade, Sand Lake Elementary (

09/26/00 Utsjoki, Finland (69.90 N, 26.00 E)
"We planted our bulbs (size 11) on a brisk Tuesday morning. The temperature was about 10 C / 50 F. The flower beds are covered with colourful autumn leaves and we hope the winter won't be too severe this time. Local florists don't recommend "Red Emperor" here in the north because of the cold winter - but of course we stick to the standards of scientific experiment and take it as a challenge!" Utsjoen saamelaislukio School (

09/26/00 Salt Lake City, UT (40.75 N, -111.89 W)
"We planted two dozen tulips near our school and have sent home bulbs for each student to plant at home (21 students)." Ms. McDonald's 3rd Grade, JCC Elementary School (

10/05/00 Council, ID (44.95 N, -116.59 W)
"Students weighed their tulips, measured the circumference of the tulips, drew a picture of the tulip bulb, and learned the parts of the tulips. Then, on Thursday, Oct. 5, we finally were able to put the tulips in the ground. Students helped to dig the earth. They placed their bulbs in the ground. They also took the air temperature and the ground level temperature. It was 85 degrees in the air and 100 degrees on the ground. This was a very warm, sunny fall day for us in Idaho."
Ms. Huter's 5th Grade, Council Elementary School (

09/27/00 Lakota, ND (48.02 N, -98.34 W)
"We planted them with the help of a senior citizen who was very interested in our project from last year. We have pictures taken for our local newspaper which involves the community, too."

Remember to Report When You Plant Yours
We've posted data below from the first Journey North Gardens of Fall, 2000. You can read comments from all gardeners on the Web. If you have planted your garden and you are NOT on this list, please report to Journey North. On the web, simply press the "owl" button and a Field Data Form will appear.

We're eager to hear from you as soon as you plant your garden!

Report Your SightingsHow to Report
Simply press the "owl" button and a Field Data Form will appear. (From the same button, you can also "Go to the Sightings Database" and read comments from all gardeners.)
How to Map Fall Data
We recommend marking the location of each garden on your map using color-coding labels. (The "Avery" brand 1/4 inch size works well.) Write the date each garden was planted on the face of the label. Next spring, you can record the date the tulips emerge and the date they bloom at the same site by covering each label with a new one.
What If...? Time to Experiment!
What if you planted your tulips upside down? Or 10 inches underground instead of 7, as the planting instructions specify? Would it really matter if you planted them in a warm, sunny courtyard? What would happen if you didn't plant your garden exactly according to the instructions?

Try This
1) Plant your "Journey North" garden EXACTLY as instructed in the Planting Instructions.

2) Gather all the questions students ask while selecting your garden site this fall. As a class, discuss which of these questions you could test in an Experimental Garden. For example, does it matter if the tulips are planted in the shade? On the north side of a building? In a sunny courtyard?

3) Then, plant Experimental Gardens to test questions you'd like to investigate.

4) Important: Next spring, ONLY report to Journey North about your "OFFICIAL JOURNEY NORTH GARDEN." (You can tell us what you learned from your "EXPERIMENTAL GARDEN" in the "Comments" section of your report.) Remember, the planting instructions are the scientific protocol for the International Journey North experiment, so follow them carefully!
Going to Extremes
The 1st Annual Microclimate Challenge
If you're looking for ideas for an Experimental Garden, why not try your skills at our 1st Annual Microclimate Challenge?

Here is the challenge: Cause two tulip bulbs to bloom as many days apart as possible.

Try This!
1) After you plant your Official Journey North Garden in the place that BEST matches your general climate, look for two opposite places that LEAST represent your general climate.

2) First learn about "microclimates."
See the lesson: "Understanding Microclimates: A Matter of Degrees"

3) Then find two areas whose microclimates are as different as possible. Find places where climatic differences are the most extreme. (Think about ALL of the factors that might affect the rate of tulip growth as you search for your two sites. Consider everything that will affect your bulb, from the moment you put it into the ground.)

4) Then tell us how you responded to this challenge!

Challenge Question #2
"Where did you plant your two "Experimental Journey North Gardens" for the Microclimate Challenge? Describe your experiment, and explain why you chose the sites that you did. Finally, predict how many days there will be between the blooming of tulip at your two sites."

(To respond to this question, please follow the instructions below.)

How to Respond to Today's Challenge Question:

1. Address an e-mail message to:
2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question # 2
3. In the body of the message, answer the Challenge Question.

The Next Tulip Garden Update Will Be Posted on November 10, 2000

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