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Tulip Garden Update: March 13, 1998

Spring's Progress
as of March 13, 1998

Today's Update Includes:

  • Today's Tulip Garden Data
  • Tulips FROZEN?
  • Challenge Question #4
  • The Wild Wisdom of Native Plants
  • Challenge Question #5

Today's Tulip Garden Data
Spring continues to march across the continent: Tulips appeared in another 70 gardens over the past 2 weeks, for a grand total of 162. Of these, 17 gardens have now bloomed--and 11 of these since our February 27th update.

As you plot today's data on your map, consider whether blooming rates seem to be keeping pace with emerging rates. How could you measure this? Do the same geographic patterns seem to hold true? What evidence can you site to support your conclusion?

If your tulips NEVER BLOOM due to frost, please report "FROZEN Tulips"

Tulips FROZEN?
A cold, arctic air mass swept across the continent this week, bringing freezing temperatures throughout the region. Did your garden survive? With regret, we added a new event for gardeners to report: "FROZEN tulips". We hope you'll never need to use it! However, in the end, if your tulips NEVER BLOOM due to frost, please report accordingly. Don't be concerned if the leaves are burned from the frost; although not as pretty to look at, this won't interfere with blooming. There is one important part of the plant that you do need to be concerned about. Do you know what it is?

Challenge Question # 4
"Tulips will not bloom if what part of the plant is damaged due to freezing?"

(To respond to this question, please follow the instructions at the end of this report.)

The Wild Wisdom of Native Plants
El Nino may have tricked your tulips into believing spring had arrived, but how did the native plants in your region respond? Native plants are those that have grown wild in a place for thousands and thousands of years. Because they've been around for so long, they are specially adapted to the unique climate of a region. Nature has taught hard lessons over the eons, and native plants have a wild wisdom that makes them very difficult to fool.

In contrast, your tulips are a "garden variety". (We often borrow these words from gardeners when we want to describe something with an inherent weakness.) Your tulips' genetic make up was shaped by gentle human hands rather than by nature's hand. Young and inexperienced, tulips don't have the wisdom for survival a native plant has.

Try This!
1. Read about a native plant that grows in your region. How is its annual life cycle timed with the seasons? How does the plant fit into the ecosystem? What adaptations does the plant have that help it survive?

2. What lessons could a tulip learn from a wise, wild native plant? Write a fable that ends with a moral, as Aesop's Fable's do. (You might want to read several of Aesop's Fable's to prepare for your own writing.)

3. Respond to this Challenge Question:

Challenge Question # 5
"What lesson can a garden variety plant learn from a wild and wise native plant?" Please send us your favorite stories! We'd love to hear them.

(To respond to this question, please follow the instructions at the end of this report.)

How to Respond to Today's Challenge Questions

Please answer ONLY ONE question in EACH e-mail message.

1. Address an e-mail message to: jn-challenge-tulip@learner.org
2. In the Subject Line of your message write: Challenge Question # 4 (or #5)
3. In the body of EACH message, answer ONE of the questions above.

The Next Tulip Garden Update Will be Posted on February 27, 1998

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