Using Flowers in Local Science Classrooms

We received a great thank-you note from local Willamette High School teacher, David Novak, who has been using flowers from Dandelions to teach the students in his botany science class about the anatomy of flowers.  We love hearing that our customers enjoy our flowers, and we love finding out about the different ways they are used. It’s great to hear how students are getting exposed to flowers in this educational way, and learning to appreciate even more this incredible part of nature.

Here’s some of what David wrote to us:

The flowers I get from you, even those that are too "ripe to sell",
the are perfect for us and add greatly to our learning of the
fundamental tissues and organs of plants and are great motivators for
learning! Nothing beats getting actual flowers into students hands when
learning about all the structures!!

What do I do with them??  I have included some shots to help you
understand.  In particular,
I have students draw them, both as the flowers come to us and after we
bisect them lengthwise.  
We examine the parts using microscopes to view all the parts (ovary,
ovules, pistils, etc.) which are often
hard to see with the unaided eye.  We answer questions about  the
flowers (e.g., compare the length of the pistil in one 
flower to another and suggest reasons for the different in length).
There are also a few experiments we like to try with the flowers, if we
get enough.

The mums we used this week and alstroemeria were perfect. THANKS for
all your effort and generosity!!

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Dandelions’ Poinsettia Project

A year ago – December 2011 – Roseann, one of our designers, put a broken poinsettia stem into a bud-vase of water thinking it would give her a few days of pleasure before it died. Over a year later, surprising us all, this stem has survived…the leaves have faded in color, but it’s still alive! 

So this year Roseann has a new poinsettia stem in a bud vase, next to the old one, and we’ll see how long this one lasts!!

How are the poinsettias you bought this holiday doing? Hopefully, great!! Here’s how you can care for them and get them to re-bloom next season:

1. Keep caring for them as you have been during the holiday (Keeping them away from the cold, in warm rooms, and making sure they get enough water and lots of light.) If the leaves have already shriveled or fallen off, start watering your plant less.

New poinsettia bract2. In March (around the 17th – St. Patrick’s Day), when the bracts (colored leaves) fade, cut the stems back to 8 inches above the soil line.

3. Water your plant less than you’ve been watering it, allowing it to dry out more.

4. Lightly fertilize your plant with a balanced all-purpose plant food every 3-4 weeks.

5. When it warms up outside, place the plant outdoors – first in indirect sunlight, and then direct sunlight. Avoid temperatures under 50 degrees throughout the summer. When the new growth appears, water your plant more frequently.

6. In early July, around the 4th, cut back the new growth on the stems, and re-pot  the plant, if it needs it.

7. In early September, when fall temperatures begin to drop, move your poinsettia plant back inside, but make sure it gets 6 or more hours of direct light.

8. October 1st to December 1st, keep your plant in complete darkness for 14 hours, giving it 10 hours of natural light daily. This will set the buds and cause the bracts to color. Any exposure to light during the dark hours will delay blooming.

9. In  early December, stop fertilizing your poinsettia and start caring for it they way you did during the holiday.

Old and new poinsettiaGood luck on your poinsettia project. Let us know how your plant does. We’ll definitely keep you posted on Roseann’s poinsettia cuttings.