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RHS Newsletter Summer 2002_8indd by forrests

VIEWS: 7 PAGES: 5

									Summer 2002 - Issue 8

Many perennial plants that originate from countries with much warmer climates are not able to withstand our winter weather. Many gardeners like to grow them as if they were annual plants, sowing seed early in a heated propagator and planting the seedlings out in late April or May. The plants die with the first frosts of autumn. They can, however, be lifted in the autumn months and brought inside to over-winter. Provided they are protected against frosts, plants, such as snapdragons and pansies, should live for a number of years.

WHAT IS AN ANNUAL?
An annual is a plant whose seed germinates, grows, develops, flowers, produces seed and then dies all in less than a year. Most annuals are therefore sown in the spring or early summer, after the threat of frost is over. They flower during the summer and autumn months before setting seed and dying. To complicate things a little, hardy annuals, such as cornflower, love-in-the-mist and godetia can be sown outdoors during September. The seeds germinate and the resulting plants will remain partially dormant over the winter months. The following spring they start into growth again, flowering very early in the season.

IN

THIS ISSUE..

Annual plants for the garden What is an annual? Plant adaptation Adaptation to the availability of water present. Garden helpers The life cycle of some insects. Letters and resources News, views and resources for schools.

RHS, EDUCATION DEPARTMENT, RHS GARDEN, WISLEY, WOKING, SURREY GU23 6QB

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PLANT ADAPTATION

Plant adaptation to the availability of water

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GARDEN HELPERS
The life cycle of some insects
Ladybirds are insects, and insects belong to the group of animals called arthropods. Although at first glance insects appear to vary greatly in size and appearance, they do have a number of things in common with one another. Their bodies are divided into three main sections - the head, the thorax and the abdomen. They have three pairs of jointed legs and an exoskeleton.

All plants need carbon dioxide and light in order to produce sugars, the ‘food’ used to provide energy for growth. They also need water for this process, called photosynthesis, but how do plants survive when there is too much, or too little water available? Plants which survive under such extreme conditions have adapted to allow them to use a habitat not colonised by other plants.

Waterlilies – Hydrophytes
The roots of the waterlily are anchored to the bottom of the pond, whilst their leaves, which contain special air cells called aerenchyma cells, float on the surface of the water. These floating leaves have also adapted the way in which they obtain carbon dioxide and release oxygen. The holes or stomata used in this process of gas exchange are on the upper surface of the leaf, rather than underneath. The leaves are often shiny, waxy or hairy and any water alighting on them forms droplets which collect dirt and roll off.

Complete metamorphosis Incomplete metamorphosis
Some insects, such as grasshoppers and dragonflies hatch from their eggs, looking like smaller versions of their parents. The only difference being that they lack wings and are unable to reproduce. This type of young insect is called a nymph. The nymph will feed, grow and shed its skin a number of times. The nymph emerges a little larger each time its skin is shed. After the final moult, the insects emerge as full-sized adults with wings and are able to breed. Butterflies, beetles and some other insects develop in a different way, hatching from their eggs as larva, quite different in shape to the adults. The larva then feed, and when large enough will pupate before turning into an adult. The ladybird is a good example of this.

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The adult female ladybird lays her eggs.

Cacti – Xerophytes
These are highly adapted to survive extreme drought conditions. To capture the small amount of rainwater that falls in the desert regions, many cacti have wide-spreading shallow roots. Any water collected is then stored in their fleshy stems and may be the only source of water these plants will have for the next couple of years. The shape of the cactus allows maximum expansion without the plant splitting. Their leaves have been replaced by sharp thorns or spikes. This reduces water loss and protects them against grazing animals. The stems of the cactus carry the chlorophyll needed for photosynthesis.

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Over a period of time the adult ladybird develops inside the pupa. When it is fully developed the adult emerges. The eggs hatch into larvae, which feed on greenfly.

Tank Bromeliads - Epiphytes
In tropical forests the branches of giant trees provide support for many plants known as epiphytes. One such plant is the tank bromeliad which belongs to the pineapple family. Its roots cling to the branches of trees high up in the canopy and never reach the ground. The leaves of the bromeliad grow in such a way that they form a tank that collects the water, vital for its survival. Dead and decaying leaves, animal droppings and dead insects also collect in the tank providing the plant with a supply of nutrients.

The larvae attach themselves to a leaf before changing into a pupa.

E-MAIL US AT SCHOOLS@RHS.ORG.UK

CHECK OUT WWW.INSECTOPIA.CO.UK, FOR SOME WONDERFUL INSECT PHOTOGRAPHS.

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LETTERS AND RESOURCES
News, views and resources for schools
Growing Schools
Growing Schools is a Government initiative which aims to: • increase awareness and understanding of farming and growing • increase opportunities for first-hand experience • increase understanding of, and responsibility for, the environment • promote healthy diets and lifestyles • enrich the curriculum

Brockhill Park School – our 500th School Member
A secondary school in Hythe, Kent became our 500th school member last year. Brockhill Park secondary school was originally a 17th century manor house and it is partly surrounded by a walled garden. The entire site is 120 acres and overlooks the English Channel. The school runs a Young Farmers club and has just set up a Young Gardeners club. Students are able to take a GCSE in Rural Science and have their own garden plots to tend.

Summer 2002 - for children - Issue 8

The Growing School’s Garden
Schools across the country are being invited to participate in this groundbreaking project to create a school show garden at Hampton Court Palace Flower Show. The garden will demonstrate how schools can and do transform barren playgrounds into welcoming and exciting green spaces, providing enrichment and support for classroom studies. For further information, visit the website at www.schoolsgarden.org.uk

There is still time to sow vegetable seeds. Why not try some of the following? Tom thumb lettuce Radish Pea French beans Carrots Globe artichoke The best thing about growing vegetables is that you can harvest them for a tasty meal! Rosie Sharp, Ilfracombe Juniors School

Meet the people who work at Rosemoor
I was always interested in nature studies as a child and love the countryside, but I didn’t turn to horticulture until I had spent several years as a dressmaker in London. Since then I’ve trained at Chelsea Physic Garden and Kew Gardens, and have had my own garden design business. Now I’m the Education Officer for RHS Garden Rosemoor, taking all the school tours and organising the majority of the horticultural events here. It’s a very varied job and I love it. I also do a couple of regular gardening slots on BBC Radio Devon.

IN

THIS ISSUE..

Sowing annuals If you are quick you still have time to sow seed. Plants and their environments What is adaptation? Garden Helpers Just who does help in the garden?

s Sarah Chester

What am I? Read the poem to find out and then enter the competition.

Some plants live longer than others. Cornflowers, cosmos, marigold, poppies and nigella are annuals. In just one year they will grow, flower, produce new seed to sow again next year and then die.

FOR INFORMATION ON SCHOOL VISITS TO THE RHS GARDEN ROSEMOOR CONTACT SARAH CHESTERS ON 01805 624067

ARE YOU GROWING SUNFLOWERS THIS YEAR? LET US KNOW HOW BIG THEY GROW

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PLANTS AND THEIR ENVIRONMENTS
What is adaptation?

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GARDEN HELPERS
Can you tell what these will turn into? When some young insects hatch from their eggs they do not look anything like their parents. Think about a caterpillar, what is it going to turn into?
A B C D

How do plants survive under water without drowning? What stops them from drying up in the desert? Why don’t they freeze to death in the Arctic or get blown off rocky mountainsides? It is because they adapt, just as you adapt to the weather around you by putting on a coat if you get cold or finding shelter when it rains.

Can you tell what the larvae above will turn into? The answers are at the bottom of the page.

Ladybird

Honey bee

Lacewing

Beetle

Cacti store water in their fat green stems so that they can survive without rain for a long time. Over thousands of years the cacti have adapted to growing in the desert by replacing their leaves with spines. These protect them from hungry animals and help reduce water loss.

PLANTS ARE REALLY QUITE AMAZING, AREN'T THEY?

CAN YOU FIND ANY INSECTS OR OTHER ANIMALS AROUND YOUR SCHOOL?

C: Ladybird Larva

A: Honey bee larva

Answers

B: Beetle larva

D: Lacewing Larva

Tank bromeliads can be found in tropical rainforests. Their roots do not grow in the soil, instead they cling to the branches of trees. The leaves of this plant grow in such a way that when it rains, water collects in them. Some plants can hold enough water for frogs to live in!

Waterlilies grow with their roots in the water, whilst their leaves float on the surface of a pond. The leaves can float because they have little pockets of air inside them. It is a bit like wearing armbands in the swimming pool!

Other Garden Helpers

Frogs just love to eat slugs and snails.

Bluetits will pick aphids off plants.

Hedgehogs like slugs, millipedes and caterpillars for food.

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WHAT AM I?
Read on to find out...
To grass, or leaf, or fruit, or wall, The ***** sticks close, nor fears to fall, As if he grew there house and all Together. Wher’er he dwells, he dwells alone, Except himself has chattels none, Well satisfied to be his own Whole treasure.

Within that house secure he hides, When danger imminent betides, Of storm, or other harm besides, Of weather.

Thus hermit-like his life he leads, Nor partner of his banquet needs, And if he meets one, only feeds The faster.

Give but his horns the slightest touch, His self-collecting power is such, He shrinks into his house with much Displeasure.

Who seeks him must be worse than blind, (His house and he are so combined,) If, finding it, he fails to find Its master.

Can you guess what I am?

Poem by Vincent Bourne

Competition to win some gardening goodies
Do you like to write poems? If you do, why not enter our competition? All you have to do is write a poem about a mini-beast that you might find in your garden or school grounds. Then count the number of times that ‘Slimer’, the snail has appeared in all the back issues of the Newsletter. Put your name, age, school address and the number of times that ‘Slimer’ has appeared on the back of your poem and send it to us at: Deborah Parsons (Poem Competition) RHS Garden Wisley Woking Surrey GU23 6QB

SEND US YOUR COMPETITION ENTRIES BEFORE SEPTEMBER 30TH 2002


								
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