Update: March 29, 2012
Please Report
Your Sightings!
Report Your Sightings
March is coming to a close and we can remember it for lots of weather surprises. In some gardens bare ground turned into red blossoms this month. What happened in your garden? Set aside the time to really look at your tulip plants. Borrow from Georgia O'Keeffe to exercise your artistic side! Don't forget to Ask the Expert this week.

This Week's Update Includes:

Image of the Week
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News: Garden Highlights
Up and Down Temperatures
Early warm temperatures across the Midwest and eastern parts of the continent have pushed tulips into bloom. Compare this spring's map with one year ago. What do you notice?

Warm temps bought tulips into bloom, but a turn in the weather caused concern.

  • In Westbury, NY, students felt that it had returned to winter this week.
  • In Southington, CT, blooming plants basking in 85 degrees were covered with boxes as the temperature plummets to a windy 40 degrees. 
comparing springs
Comparing Springs
Explore: Short Stems?
Many gardeners have reported their tulip flower stems appear to be short this year. Some are so short, the flower is blooming barely above the leaves! What's going on? We asked our Test Garden Expert:

"We are seeing short stems due to the warm spring weather," says Mary Meyer. For more, read how she explains...

Record the length of your tulip parts (leaves, stems, etc.), then make a realistic drawing. Use this week's Journal page. Keep track of things you wonder about and send your questions to our Tulip Garden Expert!

short stems
Credit: Carol Ann Margolis
The flower is rapidly forming and thus we are seeing some very short tulips! How short are your stems?
Focus: Continue to Capture the Season's Flowering Tulips

"Nobody sees a flower, really--it is so small--we haven't time, and to see takes time,
like to have a friend takes time." -Georgia O'Keeffe (1887-1986)

Gather your blooming tulips, or tulip pictures, paper, and chalk. Use this technique to focus and capture the beauty of a tulip flower, or any other wonder of spring.

art in the classroom
Spotlight: Albany, New York
Veteran Test gardener Carol Ann Margolis has been planting tulip gardens in schools around Albany, New York for over 10 years. Albany holds an annual Tulip Festival each May showcasing over 100,000 tulips.

She encourages all Test Garden participants:

"Forget about predicting the outcome of "March Madness" in the NCAA tournament and try your luck at predicting the date of next year's Red Emperor tulip bloom date!"

Test Gardens: Maps and Journal Page
The map of North America reflects this spring's warm temperatures. Take time for observing your growing Test garden. If your tulips are blooming, what do the flowers look like? Are your flower stalks long or short? Gather your journals, markers, and rulers this week to draw a life-sized tulip plant.
tulip gardens North America tulip gardens North America journal
North America
(map | animation | sightings)
(map | animation | sightings)
Questions?: Ask the Expert
Ask the Expert
Special thanks to Mary Meyer for sharing her time and expertise to answer your questions! Beginning Friday, March 25, you will have two weeks to prepare and submit your questions to Mary Meyer.

Ask the Expert Will be Open
March 23 - April 6, 2012.

Mary Meyer
Come Back for the next Test Garden update April 5, 2012.