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Record Keeping in the Journey North Test Garden

As you make observations in your own Test Gardens, you begin to see how seasonal climatic factors influence plant growth. The relationship between geography, temperature, and the arrival of spring is revealed right before your eyes. What can you do with the data you have collected from the Test Garden? Let's explore one set of data.

We Hit the Jackpot!
We hit the jackpot when a Test Garden in Virginia sent us 13 years of data collected from one site. Since the fall of 1998 we have data from when the garden was planted, emerged, and bloomed from fall 1998 through spring 2011. What can we learn from their data? What does data collected over time reveal about climate change?

What can we learn from data collected over time?

garden data

Garden data: 13 years in Children's Garden
before bloom pollination study proud of the garden
Students in the Test Garden at Virginia Living Museum. Spring 2011
Try This!

Analyzing Virginia Garden Data

1. Asking Questions
The best way to start is to ask some questions. What do you want to know about the data? Here are some examples of questions you might have:

  • What is earliest emerge date?
  • What is the earliest bloom date?
  • Does removing a tree in the garden area affect emerge and bloom dates?

2. Organizing the Data
There are many ways to arrange data so it attempts to answer your questions. You could put the data into a graph (line, bar, circle). You could put the data into lists in some kind of order.

3. Analyzing the Data
After you arrange the data you should be able to answer some of your questions. Listing the data can help you find the mean, median, minimum, maximum dates.

4. Making Conclusions About the Data
Does your data lead you to ask more questions? For example:

  • Does planting date affect emerge and bloom date?
  • Why do the tulips emerge at such different dates?
  • What factors can I explore to find more answers?

You may need to do more research into weather and climate to help you answer some of your questions. Finally, make some statements about what you have learned from analyzing the data.

Consider collecting data from your Test Garden this year and for many years to come.