Update: April 14, 2011
Please report:

The map is getting more red each week, but tulips are just emerging in some gardens in Vermont, Montana, New Hampshire, and Alaska. In your blooming gardens lies an opportunity for a botany lesson. A slideshow will help you study the tulip flower and its separate parts. Discover some other related flowers. Check out a flower "sport." Maybe you have one in your garden, too.

Today's Report Includes:

Image of the Week

Maps, Questions, and Highlights

Test Gardens are popping up as temperatures across the continent warm up this spring. Check out the map to "see" this happening! Warmer than normal temperatures through the mid-section of the continent really sped up the emergence and blooming last week. (See the temperature map below.) Melting snow revealed tulips peeking out of the soil in Vermont, Wisconsin, Maine, Ontario, Minnesota, Alaska, and Montana. "Yeah! Spring is here in our little corner of the world!" reported students from Whitefish, Montana.

Tulip flowers from your Test Garden offer a great opportunity for a botany lesson. Kansas students reported their garden blooming and took a good look at the flowers, "...all the blossoms were wide open so we could see the pistils and stamens inside. They were purple and yellow."

Warm Temps Bring Blooms
"We've had an unusually warm week that seemed to encourage everything to blossom! Our crocuses have been open for over a week, daffodils and hyacinths have been open for a few days, and the tulips decided to join them today with their first blossoms. You can see the students' excitement as they notice new blossoms each day," is the report from Van Meter, Iowa.

departure from normal temps
April 3-9
Temperature departure from normal
Tulip Test Gardens: North America
Journey North Test Gardens: Europe, Fall 2010


(North America)
This Week's Map Questions Handout
Spotlight on an Unusual Flower

When growers propagate large quantities of a bulb variety, it isn't uncommon for an odd tulip to show up now and then. These oddballs are called "sports," or "chimeras." Look carefully at the flowers below that bloomed in a Test Garden planted with a mixture of Emperor tulips. What do you notice?

  • Count the number of petals you see in the pictures below.

How can this happen? Have you seen a tulip with 8 petals in your garden? It is a possibility. Look closely at your tulip flowers and you may find your own tulip chimera.

normal sport normal
Left 2 from Mixed Emperor batch of bulbs (these include Red, Orange, Yellow, and White Emperors) Right flower is normal Red Emperor flower.
Slideshow: Tulip Botany

The tulip bulb you planted in the fall looks a lot different in the spring. A big red flower grew from the bulb!

A plant's flower holds the key to helping scientists classify all plants into families. Explore this idea when your Test Garden blooms. Use the flowers to learn more about the science of botany.

A botany Lesson
Related Journey North Lessons and Links
More Journey North Lessons and Teaching Ideas!
The Next Tulip Garden Update Will Be Posted on April 21, 2011.