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Tulip Garden Update: November 4, 2005

Today's Report Includes:

Spreading the Red: 172 Gardens and Counting
From 16 to 172 in one month! Gardeners were slow to get planted this fall. Can you predict why? One big reason was RAIN. Large storm systems to our south brought wet weather into the central and northeast sections of the continent. Sloppy, muddy soil slowed the gardeners, but didn’t stop them.

Today's Tulip Map
October's Tulip Map
% of Normal Precipitation
July-Sept. '05

Try your map skills and compare last month’s map with today’s map. Then study the precipitation map and look for clues to explain the planting pattern since October. What big weather phenomenon occurred in October?

Planting Date: Does it Really Matter?
What difference does it make whether you plant your tulips early or late in the fall? Does it matter if they go in extra late or extra early? Experts agree that the bulbs should be planted in time to form their roots before spring, but not so early that they begin to grow above ground before winter arrives. Because climates vary across the continent planting times can vary, too.
Gardens and planting dates in Alaska
Hardiness Zones for Alaska region

Try This!
So far we have 5 tulip gardens planted in Alaska. Their planting dates span a wide range - from September 16 to November 1!

Challenge Question #3:
"Is it going to be too late for the Gustavus, Alaska tulips to root before winter? Defend your answer. (Bonus: Predict which Alaska garden will emerge first? Explain your reasoning.)"

Look at the close-up map of Alaska gardens. Study the garden locations and planting dates. Next study the National Arboretum Hardiness Zone map for the Alaska region. In what zone is each garden located?

  • For a reference point, find your own hometown on the Zone map. How does your zone compare with the zones in Alaska?

Using this information how would you answer today’s challenge?

To respond to this question, please follow these instructions.

Global Garden Partners – How do We Compare?
Many gardeners would like to share information with distant garden locations. After you have planted your Journey North garden, why not choose a "Partner Garden" somewhere else in the northern hemisphere? How to decide? Maybe you have a relative or friend in a certain state or province. Or, you could choose a garden in an area that you have always wanted to learn more about.
Journal pages for printing

As the seasons change, compare weather, climate, geography and other variables. Predict where tulips will emerge first and why.

This lesson and printable journal pages are available to get you going.

Get a head-start by finding out when tulips bloom where you live. How many types of information sources can you use to find out? As a class, come together and review the information you collect. Is there a date everyone agrees upon? Share this with your Partner Garden.

Taking the Challenge
Our Challenge Question #2 got many young scientists out to explore schoolyards across the continent last month. We asked," Where did you plant your two "Experimental Journey North Gardens" for the Microclimate Challenge?"

Students from Southmoor School in Littleton, CO took the challenge seriously. Here’s what they had to say:

I believe that the 2 tulip bulbs will bloom 17 days apart in the 2 different microclimates.
Microclimate 1 Description: Right outside our classroom, this microclimate faces north. The snow doesn't melt nearly as fast as other places or microclimates around the schoolyard. Microclimate 2 Description: Facing north as well, but right by a brick wall.

The coolest area was outside our room facing north because ice and snow stayed there the longest. The warmest site is in the garden facing north and the brick constantly heats it and it's not at all shaded from the sun. I hypothesize the warmer sites tulips will bloom 17 days before the colder sites tulips.

I predict they will bloom March 12, 2005, and April 14, 2005.

Southmoor students predicted bloom times between 2 days and 45 days apart. Whose prediction will be most accurate? Watch this spring for their spot to turn RED.

Spotlight on the Classroom
The Naturalist for the Minneapolis Parks system kicked it into high gear this fall. Kids at the city parks are joining the Journey North Garden experiment. Neighborhood kids are planting 8 city gardens with Red Emperor tulips so they can proclaim spring’s arrival.
tulip_MplsPk_02 tulip_MplsPk_20 tulip_MplsPk_31
Planting one of 8 Minneapolis city park gardens

These local parks all have community centers with computer labs and garden beds. Their programs help make local kids more aware of nature observation and what happens in their neighborhood. Now they can add "Celebrating Spring" to their park projects.

Join in on their planting day activities: Visit the Planting Gallery to see the fun!

The Next Tulip Garden Update Will be Posted on December 2, 2005.

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