Update: April 28, 2011
Please report:

We're still waiting for some Test Gardens in the upper Midwest to show green, or red. The temperature map and the Test Garden map look similar and could hold some lessons. Play Answers and Questions game this week. Learn about phototropism and record it in your garden. Spotlight on a German garden. The Tulip Expert reveals interesting answers.

Today's Report Includes:

Image of the Week

tulip look alike
Are They "Cousins"?

Maps, Questions, and Highlights

Highlights: Our Experiments
What did you learn from your experimental gardens?
We put a brick on one of the bulbs in the fall and it grew around the brick and came up. It is not as far along as the tulips planted without the brick. One bulb planted with a piece of paper on top of it came right through the paper, we think this is because the paper got soggy. Two tulips were planted in the same hole and they both came up but with 4 stalks and the tulips were together." Report from students in Greenfield, Massachusetts.

"After much snow, spring is finally here to stay in Michigan. Our tulips finally bloomed after the sun made an appearance after a week of gray skies." —China, Michigan (04/24/11)

"This is our latest bloom date in our 8 years of participation." —Midland, MI (04/26/11)

minimum temps
Average temperatures show a pattern similar to the Test Gardens blooming tulips. Did you notice?

Tulip Test Gardens: North America
Journey North Test Gardens: Europe, Fall 2010


(North America)
This Week's Map Questions Handout
Explore: Are They Really Moving?

Believe it or not, tulips move! Not actually by skipping across the yard, of course. They move in a more subtle way. Some of you have already discovered this.

As with all the cycles of life and migration, the sun is at the center of this amazing phenomenon. Plants move because of the sun. Phototropism is the scientific word that describes a plant's movement toward or away from a source of light.

Get ready, watch the tulip flowers. They're going to move!

Keep a record of your tulips and find out more about how and when they move. Use this recording chart.
flowers move

Amazing what you can see when you look closely. What can YOU see?

What do you think causes the flowers to open and close? Why do you think they do this?

Another Look:
Start out with 2 simple pictures. Watch closely.

Spotlight: Kaiserslautern, Germany Garden

"We have been planting tulips at Vogelweh Elementary School since 2004." wrote Dr. Henson-Boyers. "Every year, we plant one section of a test garden of 50 Red Emperor tulips, then every child in the school gets to plant their own bulb.  This year we planted more than 800 bulbs!"

observing garden
Vogelweh Elementary students in the spotlight.
FAQ: Answers from the Tulip Garden Expert

It took an expert to answer some of the tough questions you sent, and this week we share the interesting answers.

What great questions this year!  I hope my answers help and that you learned a lot from watching your tulips grow!  Great science begins with careful observation followed by great questions.  These questions show me you are on your way to being great scientists!
-Dr. Bud

  • Why is the pollen on the anthers purple?
  • We have 5 twin blooms. Is this normal?
  • Why do the tulips we planted 2 years ago in the fall emerge before the tulips we planted last year?

See: Answers from the Tulip Garden Expert
Teaching Suggestions: Learning from Experts


Bud Markhart

Dr. Bud Markhart

Special thanks to Dr. Markhart for sharing his time and expertise again this year to answer readers' questions.

Annual Evaluation: Please Share Your Thoughts

Will you take a few minutes to complete our Annual Evaluation? With your help, we can document Journey North's reach, impact and value. We need comments like yours to keep the program going and growing.

annual evaluation
Related Journey North Lessons and Links
More Journey North Lessons and Teaching Ideas!
The Next Tulip Garden Update Will Be Posted on May 5, 2011.