Garden Tag Information by Mrs. Bailey

Every year I bring my fourth graders to my house for Science-on-the-Deck. I like to teach them to think like a scientist: to observe and to ask questions. I also like to use my flowers to show that the Garden Tags give me important information to help them grow. This year the hibiscus provided the perfect example. I had a spot on my deck in mind when I shopped for the tall plant at the garden center. Lauren helped me find the hibiscus plant with dozens of ready-to-bloom buds, and I was excited to think about them opening. But they didn’t. Not one. Not the first week. Not the second week. Not a single bud turned into a beautiful flower. “Hmmm,” I thought. “What do I need to change?” I decided to go to the basket to find the Garden Tag that came with my hibiscus. ‘Water when the surface is dry.’ Check. ‘At least six hours of sun.’ Ch… hmmm … maybe not. Maybe the perfect spot design-wise was not so perfect plant-wise. I watched the sun all day and never, no never, did it shine directly on the hibiscus. So I moved the plant. Within two days, beautiful flowers appeared. And, since then, two or five or six have bloomed every day. Is it important for my students to know that a hibiscus plant needs lots of sun? No, of course not. But it is important for them to understand that the more I know about them the more I can help them blossom. We’ll have many assessments through the year; giving me their best effort will help me know “how much sun they need.”