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Tulip Test Garden: Fall 2021 - Youth Project

Updated: May 8, 2022

“The sense of community and love of gardening has been instilled in my students, thanks to you. I cannot thank you enough for the support with the garden.” —St. Paul Public Schools teacher

Over 400 second-through-sixth grade students planted 550 Red Emperor tulips this fall as part of a collaboration between Ramsey County Master Gardener Volunteers and the St. Paul Public Schools. The program involves participation in a Journey North community science phenology activity called Tulip Test Gardens.

Last spring, Kirsten Saylor, the School Garden Specialist Consultant for the St. Paul Public Schools, requested RCMG’s financial help to make this project happen. The Board approved a grant of $500 to purchase bulbs, fencing and signage. Once that was in place, Kirsten and school science specialist Josh Leonard presented the information to teachers and soon had staff from eleven schools eager to participate.

Students answer questions during a mini lesson taught by Ramsey County Master Gardener volunteers
Student prepare to plant tulip bulbs for this class project

Master Gardener volunteers presented mini-lessons to 23 classes on the botany of bulbs, phenology and the actual planting of the bulbs. Garden spaces had been prepared ahead of time by Master Gardener volunteers and public school staff. Following the planting, the bulbs were netted and fenced to protect the bulbs from hungry or inquisitive animals.

In the spring, students will observe and record the dates the tulips emerge and when they first bloom. Besides creating visual data records, classes will send the information to Journey North to be compiled and compared with data from groups all over the northern hemisphere, as well as from previous years, contributing to the climate change picture.

Master Gardener intern Marlys Daugherty took on the role of co-coordinator with Kirsten Saylor and did an excellent job of organizing and scheduling the 13 Master Gardener volunteers who went through a brief training and then taught several sessions each. Marlys also made sure necessary supplies were ready to go at each site.

School personnel were delighted and grateful for this opportunity being provided to their students. As one teacher said, “Having you all this week was truly AMAZING, can't wait for more in the spring!"

Written by Susan Cathey

RCMG Volunteer

Dec 2021


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