Update: April 26, 2012
Please Report
Your Sightings!
Report Your Sightings
We're still waiting for some Test Gardens to show green, or red. Can you find them on the map? Observe tulip flowers open and close with the eyes of a scientist. This week's Spotlight reveals great inquiry in the garden. Mary Meyer, our Tulip Expert shares interesting answers to your questions.

This Week's Update Includes:

Image of the Week
News: Garden Highlights
April snow? This week brought over 20" of snow to parts of Pennsylvania. Heat in April? Death Valley reported the hottest temperatures on record—113°F this week. As we make the change from spring into summer the weather continues to amaze. The newest test gardens to bloom this week are growing in Montana, New Hampshire, Maine, and Ontario. Keep your eyes on the map as we wait for our Alaska test gardens to emerge. tulip test garden
Tulips bloom in New York
Explore: Flower Power

Scientific Observation
Watch the movement of the tulip flowers as they open and close. The shadows give us hints about what time of day.

  • Describe what you see
    (ex. The flowers are all different sizes.)
  • Ask questions
    (ex. Why do they open and close?)
flowers move
Larger animation
Why Do Flowers Open and Close?
Now that you have watched tulip flowers open and close, challenge yourself to learn more. Take a moment to hypothesize why.

Most flowers open only once, as they grow from a bud to a full blossom. Tulip flowers are different. Let's take a look at this with the eyes of a scientist, describing details and asking questions. Dig deeper to understand what is happening.

Blooming tulips? When do tulips open and close? Keep scientific records of your own tulip observations.

Spotlight: Holliston, Massachusetts
Great Inquiry
Work in the Test garden continues into May at Placentino Elementary. Soon students will dig up their tulips to study them. What will the roots look like? Will they have baby bulbs attached to the "mama" bulbs? Great inquiry for these students, and a way to clear the garden of this year's bulbs to make room for a new Test garden in the fall!

garden station
Tulip Station
Test Gardens: Who's Blooming?
Record high temperatures last week pushed the tulip gardens to bloom in Montana. "Our tulips have bloomed 26 days after emerging from the snow," report gardeners on April 24, from Whitefish, Montana. "It took our flowers almost 2 months later to blossom than our pen-pals tulips in Brookwood, Alabama!"
New Hampshire gardeners reported bloom, and Maine students can now dig up their time capsule since their tulips have bloomed. Check the map for other news.
tulip gardens North America PREDICT
When will the Alaska gardens emerge and bloom?
tulip gardens North America
North America
(map | animation | sightings)
(map | animation | sightings)
Ask the Expert: Questions and Answers
It took an expert to answer some of the tough questions you sent, and this week we share the interesting answers.

  • Why do tulip bulbs need 6 weeks of cold?
  • Are tulips related to other flowers?
  • Why is tulip pollen purple?

Dear Students,
What great questions this year! This was a very unusual spring for so much of the country!

- Mary Meyer

Mary Meyer
Mary Meyer
Come Back for the FINAL Test Garden update May 3, 2012.