Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Children in the Garden - Dandelions Indoors


We discovered, by accident last summer when the girls left a bouquet of dandelions in their playhouse, that even cut dandelions, in a vase of water, will still go to seed.  This year, I thought it might be fun to watch the entire process taking place, with the flowers the girls picked for our kitchen window.

Right away we observed that dandelions close up at night...


...and open again in the morning sunlight.  This process is called a nyctinastic response (nycto- having to do with night and -nastic referring to plant movements that depend on stimuli).


After a few days of opening and closing, one morning the flowers stayed closed.  The yellow parts dried up..


...and fell off...


...leaving behind fuzzy white tops, sticking out of the closed flowers.  The flowers sat that way for a couple more days, and then opened again...


...into perfect, white, fluffy, "seed balls".


We turned to Mia Posada's Dandelions Stars in the Grass to see what happens next, as the seeds escape the plant, with the help of the slightest breeze, and find their way to soil.


Oh, and just in case that doesn't clear up any doubts you might still have about yesterday's mystery seed - ta da!

Dandelion Seed

The girls were very interested in the fact that the seeds sprout right down into the soil without having to be buried.


That's something they want to see for themselves.  The Man of the House, who has declared an all out war on dandelions in the yard (a yearly declaration), reluctantly agreed to fill a window box with a layer of pea gravel, and then potting soil for the girls to plant with seeds...


...water...


...and place into a sunny windowsill (or at least as sunny as it gets between spring rain showers).


Brown thumbs or not, I think we might actually succeed with this one.

It's great to be a homeschooler.

6 comments:

Phyllis said...

I love this post! Wonderful photos! The book choice looks beautiful. I will have to check it out!

Raising a Happy Child said...

Very cool! I am going to try it out but not sure if we have enough sunlight in the house. Our dandelions never went to seed before.

Ticia said...

You know, I never noticed before that they open and close.

Jeff has refused to let Princess bring any dandelions into our yard......

Cerys @ Rainy Day Mum said...

What a wonderful observation. I have never noticed that they open and close at night either. It's something that I really must explore with my children

Claudia said...

WOW! Who would of ever thought unschooling could be so educational and fun. Thank you for sharing.

Marcee said...

OH, those nasty little buggars. They're still alive when they're dead!!! ;)