|Granny’s Great Amaryllis Race has been a favorite winter tradition for Loveland schoolchildren and businesses for ten years. It is now spreading to other schools in the area and around the county.In January, garden educators visit each classroom with a potted amaryllis bulb to set the stage for the 4-6 week long lesson that is fun and educational.
Students can use a compass to determine which direction their classroom windows are facing. A warm spot in a South window is best once the bulb starts to grow. However, warmth is more important than light until leaves appear. So keep you amaryllis in a warm spot and then move it into the light.
Amaryllis Race Lesson Plans
Students measure and record growth of leaves and stems and track buds and flowers then use the measurements to chart the process.
In addition: students can learn how to pollinate their amaryllis. Then they can watch the seed pods form. They can also plant the seeds but it takes 3-4 years for the bulb to form and grow large enough to flower.
We take the activity beyond the classroom and invite local business to get involved. Our students love going into their dentist office, library and favorite restaurants and comparing the business’ amaryllis plant to the one in their classrooms. They especially loved seeing that WLWT-5 meteorologist, Randi Rico had an amaryllis on her set!
At the conclusion of the each race, the bulbs are collected and the flower stalk removed, leaving the leaves to feed the bulb. After the danger of frost is past, the bulbs are planted in areas of our school grounds where we have micro climates.
Amaryllis bulbs are not generally hardy in our zone six climate, however they safely winter over in our microclimates providing their amazing blooms in the gardens in late spring.
The inspiration for Granny’s Great Amaryllis Race came from a similar project at Denise Krane, Intervention Specialists at Brookpark Memorial School in Brookpark, OH. Granny’s Garden School developed the lesson plans and support material. Denise and her husband, Mike, came down from Cleveland to visit our gardens summer 2011.