Amgueddfa Blog: Spring Bulbs

Spring Bulbs for Schools winners visit St Fagans National Museum of History

Penny Dacey, 10 July 2023

Model Church in Wales Primary from Carmarthen were this year’s Wales winners for the Spring Bulbs for Schools Investigation. Schools who participated in the project planted bulbs in October, took daily weather readings from November to March, monitored their plants and recorded their flowering dates and heights and uploaded all this data to the Amgueddfa Cymru website. 

The prize for the winning Wales school each year is a trip to one of Amgueddfa Cymru's seven museums, with coach hire and activities. This year Model Church in Wales Primary elected to visit St Fagans National Museum of History. The day included a Sustainability Trail that involved exploring some of the museum’s historic buildings and a Mindful Bug Hunt, where we explored some of the museum’s beautiful gardens.

We were extremely lucky on our Mindful Bug Hunt, which involved being attentive to our surroundings and watching, listening, and smelling intently. We saw emerald green and sapphire blue damselflies dancing above the water at the fishponds, and many little fish darting about beneath the surface. Some were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of a grass snake as it slithered into the water and away. 

We saw busy bumble bees and colourful butterflies pollinating sweet-smelling plants like Lavender. We saw and heard long legged grasshoppers in the undergrowth of the flower beds, along with ladybirds, aphids, ants, beetles, centipedes, snails, earwigs, and woodlice. We ducked as a giant dragonfly fed on insects above our heads, diving at us repeatedly. 

We watched and listened as solitary bees buzzed around a mound in the lawn, burrowing new homes into the soil. We saw hundreds of baby garden spiders burst out of their egg sack and scatter throughout a hedge. 

We watched water boatmen swim leisurely past the stone footbridge, and water snails beneath feeding slowly on algae. We watched the familiar wild ducks, the stately Canadian geese and all their young chicks as they carried about their business along the water’s edge. 

We identified different plants and trees and saw how many of us it took to surround the entire width of the 400-year-old Oak tree. We were each immersed in the present and in wonder at it.

Model Church in Wales Primary have shared the following photos with us to depict their day at the museum. 

Model Church in Wales Primary at St Fagans National Museum of History

Model Church in Wales Primary at St Fagans National Museum of History

Model Church in Wales Primary at St Fagans National Museum of History

Model Chuch in Wales Primary at St Fagans National Museum of History

Model Church in Wales Primary at St Fagans National Museum of History

Model Church in Wales Primary on their Mindful Bug Hunt

Model Church in Wales Primary on their Mindful Bug Hunt

Model Church in Wales Primary on their Mindful Bug Hunt

Fantastic Work Bulb Buddies

Penny Dacey, 30 June 2023

Congratulations to all of the schools who successfully completed the Spring Bulbs for Schools Investigation this year. All schools listed below have been sent Super Scientist Certificates and pencils. The standard was extremely high again this year. 


Professor Plant would like to thank all schools that contributed to making this year’s investigation a success.


Enillwyr / Winners:

Cymru / Wales

Model Church in Wales Primary School

Lloegr / England: 

Roseacre Primary Academy

Yr Alban / Scotland: 

St John Ogilvie Primary School

Gogledd Iwerddon / Northern Ireland: 

St Mary's Primary School (Maguiresbridge)


Yn Ail / Runners up:

Cymru / Wales

Peterston Super Ely Church in Wales Primary

Lloegr / England: 

Kidgate Primary Academy

Yr Alban / Scotland: 

Gavinburn Primary School

Gogledd Iwerddon / Northern Ireland: 

Grange Primary School Kilkeel


Clod Uchel / Highly Commended

Cymru / Wales

Ysgol Gynradd Gymraeg Tonyrefail

Pil Primary School

YGG Aberystwyth

Ysgol Llandegfan

St Julian's Primary

Yr Alban / Scotland: 

Kingcase Primary School

Dedridge Primary School

Kincaidston Primary School

Gogledd Iwerddon / Northern Ireland: 

St Patrick's Primary School, Eskra


Cydnabyddiaeth Arbennig / Special Recognition:

Cymru / Wales

Forden CiW School

Ysgol Gymraeg Dewi Sant

Ysgol San Sior

St Joseph's RC Primary School (North Road)

Alaw Primary

Ysgol Glan Conwy

Lloegr / England: 

St Anne's Catholic Primary School

Stanford in the Vale Primary School

Anchorsholme Academy

Fleet Wood Lane Primary School

Sylvester Primary Academy

St Kentigern's Primary School

Yr Alban / Scotland: 

Leslie Primary School

Livingston Village Primary School

St Anthony's Primary (Saltcoats)

Kirkhill Primary School

Blacklands Primary School

Gogledd Iwerddon / Northern Ireland: 

Clonalig Primary School

Irvinestown Primary School

Sacred Heart Primary - CO. Down

St Mary's Primary School (Newry)

St Paul's Primary School (Co Fermanagh)

Lisbellaw Primary School


Gwyddonwyr Gwych / Super Scientists

Cymru / Wales

Oystermouth Primary School

Abernant Primary

High Cross Primary (Newport)

Ysgol Capel Garmon

Albert Primary School

Llanbedr Church in Wales

NPTC Newtown College

Glyncoed Primary School

Spittal VC School

St Mary's Church in Wales Primary School 

St Paul’s CiW Primary

Lloegr / England: 

Cambridge Park Academy

Devonshire Primary Academy

Rowley Hall Primary School

St John's CE Primary School

St Bernadette's Catholic Primary School

Yr Alban / Scotland: 

Milton Primary School

Darvel Primary School

Meldrum Primary School

Our Lady of Peace Primary

Underbank Primary School

Maidens Primary School

Logan Primary School

Gogledd Iwerddon / Northern Ireland: 

Newtownbutler Primary School

Sacred Heart Primary School - Omagh

Glasswater Primary School

Cortamlet Primary School

Newtownhamilton Primary School


Tystysgrifau / Certificates:

Cymru / Wales

Ysgol Bro Sannan 

Ysgol Bethel

Brynford Primary

Minera Aided Primary School

St Joseph’s Cathedral (Swansea)

Ysgol y Wern

Ysgol Cwm Brombil

Adamsdown Primary School

Franksbridge CP School

Gors Community School


Penrhiwceibr Primary

Rhydri Primary School

St Athan Primary School 

St. Michael's RC Primary School

Trellech Primary School 

Twyn School

Ysgol Gymraeg Mornant

Ysgol Llanilar

Ysgol Pontrobert

Lloegr / England: 

St Teresa's Catholic Primary School

Hamstead Junior School

Harvills Hawthorn Primary School

Grange Primary School

Marton Primary Academy and Nursery

Yr Alban / Scotland: 

Forehill Primary School

Gartcosh Primary School

Newton Primary School

St Joseph's RC Primary School (Kelty)

Whitdale Primary School

Windyknowe Primary School

Gogledd Iwerddon / Northern Ireland: 

St Patrick's Legamaddy

Enniskillen Integrated Primary School

St Mary's Primary School (Killesher)

Hardgate Primary School


Thanks again Bulb Buddies,


Professor Plant

Spring Bulbs for Schools - engaging with 175 schools

Penny Dacey, 17 May 2023

Penny Dacey, Spring Bulbs Project Coordinator, has been busy helping young budding scientists get outside and investigate the impact of climate change in an engaging and creative way!

Many of you may have heard of this Spring Bulbs project, as it’s been running since 2005! For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, here’s an overview. 

Pupils are asked to help Professor Plant, a friendly cartoon scientist, to explore the impact of a changing climate on the flowering dates of spring bulbs. Pupils do this by taking part in an annual study that involves documenting and submitting weather and flower data.

How it started and how it’s going…

The project began in Wales, under Danielle Cowell, Digital Learning Program Manager at Amgueddfa Cymru, but through funding from the Edina Trust has expanded to be UK wide.

Amgueddfa Cymru now engages 175 schools each year through the Spring Bulbs for Schools Investigation! That’s a lot of bulbs!

Let’s talk science!

Schools that participate in the investigation take part for a full academic year. They receive their resource packs in late September, plant their bulbs on 20 October, and begin taking weather records on 1 November through to 31 March.

Schools are asked to take weather records (temperature and rainfall readings) for every day that they are in school, and to upload this data to the Amgueddfa Cymru website at the end of each week. They are also asked to monitor their plants and to document the flowering date and the height of their plants on that date to the website. The result is that we can now compare the flowering dates for spring bulbs in Wales, England, Scotland and Northern Ireland to those of previous years and look at how changing weather patterns may have impacted on these dates. Isn’t that amazing?


Making a difference - from scientific skills to well-being

The investigation supports the development of scientific knowledge and skills, including an understanding of plant growth, the impact of climate change on the environment, and data collection and analysis. Students are able to apply scientific methods and concepts to a real-world scenario, which helps them to understand the importance and relevance of science in their lives. The process of caring for their plants, getting outdoors (in all weather) and working together to collect the data has numerous benefits, both for well-being and in developing lifelong connections to nature.


Do you know of any schools that would like to take part?

Applications open on a first come first serve basis to primary schools in Wales in late April. If you know of any schools that would like to take part, please ask them to check
out the following pages for more information:
Spring Bulbs Website
Spring Bulbs Blog
Spring Bulbs Twitter

Caring for nature this May

Penny Dacey, 3 May 2023

Hi Bulb Buddies,

I hope it’s been a lovely, sunny start to May where you are.  The weather is getting warmer, and the days are getting longer. Here are a few things you can do to care for nature in May:

Go on a nature walk

Take a walk in your local park, woods, or countryside. Observe the different types of trees, flowers, and insects you come across. You could even take a notebook to draw and write about what you see. Why not practice mindfulness while you are outdoors, and really listen, look, smell and feel your surroundings. This Mindful Tour resource is developed for the gardens at St Fagans National Museum of History, but it contains some fantastic tips that can be applied to any mindful walk. 

Plant a garden

You don't need a big garden to grow plants. You could plant flowers in a pot or even in an old shoe! Why not create an up-cycled plant pot? You could do some research into pollinators to see which plants best support them. Pollinators like bees and butterflies are essential to the survival of plants and ecosystems but they are under threat because of habitat loss, climate change and pollution. Schools that entered weather and flower data to the Amgueddfa Cymru website will receive seeds that will help to support pollinators. 

Be mindful of water

Water is essential for all living things, but we should try to conserve it. Some ways you could do this are by turning off the tap while you brush your teeth, taking shorter showers or re-using water from the washing-up to water your plants! You can also help nature by making sure there is water in your garden or school grounds, such as in the form of a small pond or a birdbath. The bird spotting sheets on the right can help you to identify any common garden birds you might see. 

No Mow May

Some of you may have heard of the campaign #NoMowMay where people are asked to not mow sections of their garden this month to help wildlife. You may notice more areas that are left to grow wild over the coming weeks, and this campaign may be why. Be mindful of these spaces and the wild plants, insects and animals that might be making them their home. There are some areas that will adopt this approach throughout the summer, and councils are being encouraged to follow suit and leave safe spaces for wildlife. Maybe you could ask your school if they will support this by leaving an area of the grounds un-mowed? Maybe you could plant any pollinator seeds you receive for taking part in the Spring Bulbs for Schools Investigation in this space? 

There are many other small actions that can be taken to make a difference to our local spaces. Why not share any further ideas you have for exploring or conserving nature in the comments section below? Remember, every action helps when it comes to protecting our planet. So, get outside, explore, have fun, and make a difference! 

Professor Plant

How to care for your bulbs after flowering

Penny Dacey, 28 April 2023


Hi Bulb Buddies, 


Many of you may be wondering what to do with your plants now that they have flowered. You don't need to trim your plant or re-plant your bulb until at least seven weeks after it has flowered. Leave your plants outside in the sunshine, as this allows the bulb to continue storing energy for the following year. 


Once your bulb has flowered you may wish to take it home, plant it in your school or even re-use your pot to grow something else. Read through the instructions below to decide how you would like to look after your bulb.


Keep your bulb in your pot

• Trim back the leaves. 

• Store your pot outside and out of the way until the following spring, when your flowers will start to grow again! Make sure your soil doesn’t dry out over the summer by watering when required.


Empty your pot

• Trim back the leaves. 

• Empty your pot onto some newspaper and look for your bulbs. 

• Shake them to remove any excess soil.

• Inspect your bulbs, only keep the ones that are look healthy and are of a good size. Discard those that are soft or rotten. Every few years bulbs double. When they double two bulbs will be joined together. If this is the case, pull them away from one another very carefully. When they are doubling, they make fewer flowers because they are putting their energy into making more bulbs. By separating them you should get more flowers. 


Plant your bulbs in your garden or school

• Follow the instructions on how to empty your pot.

• Find an area to plant the bulbs, choose a sunny or lightly shaded position. 

• Dig a hole for each bulb that is twice as deep as the height of your bulb and make sure the shoot is pointing upwards and the roots downwards.

• Plant each bulb two or three bulb widths apart.

• Your bulbs should now flower year after year. Inspect the bulbs and divide any doubles every three years to increase flowering. 

• You could now re-use your pot to plant a summer herb or flower. You may receive some seeds for taking part in the investigation that could be planted in your pots. 


Dry out your bulbs and store them until the following autumn

• If you don’t have a garden and you want to use your plant pot to grow something else you may wish to dry out your bulbs and store them over the summer.

• Follow the instructions on how to empty your pot.

• Lay bulbs on a tray or newspaper to dry for 1 week. Place in a labelled paper bag and store in a cool place until they are ready to plant again in November.


There are a number of options to choose from here. Hopefully you will be able to enjoy your plants again next Spring.


Professor Plant