Thursday, 21 June 2012

well, they were definitely NOT water lilies!

Remember these tiny seedlings?

The ones that Ella brought in to the (supposed) safety of our classroom?

The ones where she was not quite sure what kind of plants they were?

Something’s for sure; they are definitely NOT going to be water lilies.

How do I know this?

Well, it’s a bit of a long story.  And (I’m sorry to say) one that doesn’t have a very happy ending!

It begins here with our thoughts on what plants need to grow well.  How much did we remember of what we had learned?

‘Light,’ someone starts us off.  

‘Sun,’ is simultaneous offering. 


And yes, plants need light to grow well.

It doesn’t necessarily have to be the light from the sun because plants can grow well indoors, like this healthy strawberry plant…..


that we are helping Yanis to take care of.

We can tell the plant is healthy because, as Joseph pointed out, ‘The strawberry is trying to grow; the petals are coming off.’  Which to the uninitiated might sound a little odd; but we know that once a plant has no more need for its flowers, the petals do indeed fall off.

‘An insect has come,’ Ella told us.  And yes, an insect has pollinated the flower so that the fruit is beginning to form.

‘Air,’ continues Maddie, on our earlier theme, and yes, plants do need air (or specifically some of the things in air, like oxygen) to grow well.


‘Soil,’ Ayesha tells us, and yes, most plants need soil to grow well.  (Not all of them do though, but that’s a story for another time perhaps.)


‘Water,’ adds Takomerwa.  And yes, plants also need water to grow well.


Ah yes, water.


Oh dear.  We have a bit of a problem with Ella’s plants.  Sorry.  Did I say plants?  More accurate to say no plants.  The plants that Ella grew are no more.  Nothing is left in the flowerpot.  What on earth can have gone wrong?

Nico has a suggestion.  Maybe it’s ‘too hot,’ he offers.

Nope.  Not sure it’s that (although some plants do wither and die if they get too hot).

Maybe there’s ‘not enough shade,’ Bianca wonders.

But no, even though some plants need quite a lot of shade, it’s not that either.

Joseph has an idea. Maybe ‘it’s a special flower that needs special stuff we didn’t know,’ he suggests.  After all, there were no instructions with Ella’s seedlings.  Good thinking - but not that either.

Bianca thinks some more.  ‘We didn’t give them enough water,’ she tells us.

Ella is more specific. ‘There’s not enough rainwater,’ she says.

And even though it is something to do with water, it’s not that.  Quite definitely not that!

Time I think for something radical.  Let’s (gasp!) tip all the soil out of the flowerpot.

And now, I’ll give it a squeeze.  Watch.

Ah.  Maddie knows what the problem is.

‘We gave it too MUCH water,’ she tells us as water squeezes out and pours into the bucket I rather fortuitously placed on the floor.

And can you smell that stinky smell?  That’s the roots that are beginning to rot.  Phew! 

So.  Plants need water to grow well.  Too little water and they will go all crisp and die.  But, unless they are water lilies…..


too much water will make them rot and eventually die.

Too late, I am afraid, to save Ella’s seedlings.  But hopefully an important lesson for the next batch of plants.

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