Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fall Flowers

It often happens to children -

and sometimes to gardeners -

that they are given gifts of value

of which they do not perceive

until much later.

- Wayne Winterrowd

Another fun fall project is to plant bulbs now for spring. With the crisp weather and fewer insects, this is a great time of year for gardening.

It's a science project that will teach your children much about plants, and become a gift to sagging spirits come spring.

Your equipment is simple. A good, sturdy spade for each student, a ruler, and some bulbs. Lowe's and Home Depot offer bulbs for sale this time of year. They are inexpensive and usually sold near the front door. You can follow the directions on the bulb package or go to this article to learn how to plant them.

I recommend that you pick a sunny spot for planting, and that you take the extra step of mixing in a scoop of peat moss or potting soil with the dirt in your bulb holes. It's important for bulbs to have plenty of sunshine for food and air in the soil for good drainage and for root growth. Make sure you dig the hole at exactly the prescribed depth -- usually found on the bulb package. Place the bulbs in their holes so that the pointed tips face up.

If deer or rabbits are troublesome, daffodils are the best choice. These are poisonous and the animals leave them alone. If you want to try a variety of flowers, I recommend tulips, hyacinths, paper whites, and crocus. When you plant different types of bulbs, you can enjoy the display over several weeks. Place the highest ones in the back of a bed against the house, or in the center of a round bed in the lawn. Then stagger down the plants according to height with the shortest ones in the front. An inch of light mulch over the bed will help keep the bulbs healthy through the winter.

Be sure to plant at least six bulbs of each kind so that your efforts will satisfy. A single bulb will only produce one plant. One bulb in ten may not flower. So plan accordingly.

This is a great project for hands-on learners. Be sure to take pictures of the work in the fall and of the results in the spring. You can also take the time to research bulbs and plants. You can draw pictures of bulbs and label their parts. It can be fun for the whole family, with each child learning at their own pace.

At the end, be sure to celebrate a job well done. Sweeten the party with fall treats like popcorn, fresh apples, roasted peanuts, and pumpkin pie.


  1. Oh I want to so bad but Man I kill flowers :( I just managed to take the life of a house plant :(

  2. Thank you for the great idea - we may just do that! :) Our yard could use some cheering, and we need another science lesson :)


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