Amgueddfa Blog: Learning

Weather Warnings

Penny Tomkins, 25 January 2023

Hello bulb buddies,

What an interesting time to be studying and observing the weather! Most of you will have had frost and cold winds this last week. I've heard that many schools have had to close in January because of the effects of extreme weather conditions, such as ice and floods.  Even on days where schools were open, conditions in the school grounds may have meant you weren’t able to collect weather data.

It’s likely that you’ve heard people talking about weather warnings a lot recently. Weather warnings are released by the MET Office (the UK’s official weather service) and are colour coded (green, yellow, amber and red) to indicate how extreme the weather will be in different areas.

Green: weather is not expected to be extreme.

Yellow: possibility of extreme weather so you should be aware of it.

Amber (orange): strong chance of the weather effecting you in some way, so be prepared.

Red: extreme weather expected, plan ahead and follow the advice of the emergency services and local authorities.

The Met Office also use symbols to indicate what type of weather to expect. For example, the symbols to the right show (in order) a red warning for rain, green for wind, green for snow, amber for ice and green for fog. This means there will be heavy rain and that you should prepare for ice. Why not have a look at the Met Office website and see what the weather forecast is for where you live?

The Met Office warn us about bad weather so that we can prepare for it. This is because extreme weather (such as strong winds and ice) can cause difficulties and make it hard to travel. Roads and train lines can close, flights can be cancelled, and walking conditions can be dangerous.

What was the weather like where you live? If you weren’t able to collect weather records you can enter ‘no record’ on the online form, but please let me know in the comment section what the weather was like! You can also let me know how your plants are doing and whether they have begun to sprout!

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies,

Professor Plant

Weather Records 2022

Penny Tomkins, 4 November 2022

Hi Bulb Buddies, 

 

hope that planting day went well and that you are enjoying documenting weather data for our investigation. 

I want to say a big thank you to you all for your hard work on planting day. Together we planted over 18 thousand bulbs across the UK! Your fantastic planting day photos show that you had a great time.  

 

Weather records started on 1 November. There is a resource on the website with more information on keeping weather records. I’ve attached this here in case you haven’t already seen it. This resource helps you to answer important questions, such as why rainfall and temperature readings are important to our investigation into the effects of climate on the flowering dates of spring bulbs.  

 

Use your Weather Chart to log the rainfall and temperature every day that you are in school. At the end of each week, log into your Spring Bulbs account on the Amgueddfa Cymru – National Museum Wales website to enter your weekly readings. You can also leave comments or ask questions for me to answer in my next Blog. 

 

Let me know how you get on and remember that you can share photos via email or Twitter. 

 

Keep up the good work Bulb Buddies, 

 

Professor Plant 

Celebrating St. Fagans Victorian tree heritage

Luciana Skidmore, 28 October 2022

Autumn sends us an invitation to pause and admire the beautiful trees that surround us. It lays a vibrant carpet of colourful leaves welcoming us into the woods. In this once in a year spectacle, we advise that you wear comfortable shoes, take slower steps and mindfully redirect your gaze up to the sky to contemplate our magnificent trees. 

In St. Fagans National Museum of History, you can find some of the most beautiful specimens of trees planted by the Victorians and Edwardians that shaped our beautiful gardens. 

This year we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Fern-leaved Beech (Fagus sylvatica ‘Aspleniifolia’) located in the terraced gardens of the castle. This magnificent and unusual specimen was planted in 1872 under the head gardener William Lewis. This cultivar was introduced in the UK in the early 1800’s and won the RHS Award of Garden Merit in 2002. The leaves are dark green and deeply serrated, turning golden before falling in autumn. This specimen has an impressive dark and smooth trunk with its girth measuring 3.67m in diameter. The Fern-leaved Beech is a Chimera, originated from a plant cell mutation of the Common Beech (Fagus sylvatica). An interesting fact is that occasionally some of the serrated leaves revert to the Beech leaf shape, when that happens it is advisable to remove the reverted branches as they tend to grow more vigorously than the cultivar.

Another magnificent feature that celebrates 150 years in St. Fagans is the row of London and Oriental Planes planted by William Lewis along the formal ponds overlooking the terraced gardens.  The London plane is a natural hybrid of the Oriental Plane and the American Plane. The Oriental (Platanus orientalis) and London Plane (Platanus x acerifolia) are distinguishable by their leaf shape with the Oriental Plane having more deeply lobed leaves. Many London planes were planted over 200 years ago in the squares of London, hence its common name. This tree can withstand high levels of pollution and was one of the few trees that could thrive in the soot-laden atmosphere of cities before the passing of the Clean Air Act in 1956. Did you know that this resilient tree can store around 7.423 kg of Carbon at maturity? Large trees like this play an important role in improving air quality by sequestering carbon dioxide, removing air pollutants and absorbing gases that are harmful to human health.

William Lewis was also responsible for the planting of the Pine Walk in 1870. This beautiful avenue of Black Pine (Pinus nigra) and Scots Pine (Pinus sylvestris) guides you through the path towards the old Orchard. These tall and majestic trees enclose the space resembling the walls of a Cathedral. The bark of the Black Pine is dark grey with ridges and the needles are longer than other Pines. The Scots Pine is the only Pine native to Britain, it has shorter and compact needles and a warm red upper bark. Unfortunately, in recent years we have lost some of our Pine trees, in order to preserve this historic feature, we have planted four new Black Pines along the path. 

As we take pleasure in admiring these magnificent trees in the present, we must thank some of the far-sighted people of the past who have gifted us with this wonderful legacy. Trees make our cities a more pleasant and healthy environment. They enhance biodiversity, reduce flood risk, improve air quality, provide shade, and reduce the urban heat island effect in summer months. If you would like to leave a valuable legacy for future generations, start by planting a tree.  

If you are visiting St. Fagans gardens this autumn, follow this Tree Walk Guide written by Dr. Mary Barkham to learn more about our outstanding tree collection. 

Planting Day 2022

Penny Tomkins, 20 October 2022

Hello Bulb Buddies,

 

Schools from across the UK will be planting their bulbs as close to 20 October as they can. 

 

Click here for activities and resources that will help you with this part of the project and with looking after your bulbs over the coming months. 

 

These resources will help you on planting day:

  • Adopt your Bulb (an overview of the care your bulbs will need)

  • Planting your Bulbs (guidelines for ensuring a fair experiment)

 

And these activities are fun to complete:

  • Bulb Adoption Certificate

  • Make Bulb Labels

 

Please read the resources as they contain important information. For example, do you know to label your pot so that you know which side the daffodil and crocus are planted?

 

Remember to take photos of your planting day to enter the Planting Day Competition. Do this by sharing your images on Twitter or via email. 

 

Keep an eye on Professor Plant's Twitter page to see how planting day goes for other schools.

 

Best of luck Bulb Buddies, let us know how you get on.

 

Professor Plant & Baby Bulb

In So Many Words: An Interactive Poetry Display

Rachel Carney, 30 August 2022

What makes you spend time looking at a particular painting? What is it that draws you in? It can be difficult to put these thoughts into words, and that’s where poetry can help.

From 6th September to 6th November there’ll be an interactive poetry display in our ‘Art in Eighteenth Century Britain’ gallery. You’ll be able to read (or listen to) a number of poems written in response to some of the paintings. There’ll also be an invitation for you to have a go at writing a poem of your own…

So, why poetry? You may well ask. Poetry can take us in unexpected directions. It can help us to articulate thoughts and impressions that we weren’t even aware of, to understand our own subconscious response to a work of art. It can help us to engage with art in a different way, seeing it from a fresh perspective.

The poems don’t have to be ‘good’. They don’t even have to look like poems. This is about slowing down and letting a different part of your brain take over – the part of your brain that ponders in ways you may not be aware of, as you look at works of art, translating your thoughts into words.

There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer. Each creative response will give us a new interpretation, a new lens through which to see.

The interactive display will include poems written by a diverse group of individuals who took part in a series of writing workshops this summer, alongside poems written by museum visitors. The display forms part of a PhD research project organised by Cardiff-based poet Rachel Carney, funded by the South West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership.

Listen to the poems on our What’s On page.

Find out more about this research, and how you can help.

You can also read about and take part in a similar project: Art & Words, that took place on Instagram in 2021.