Science Fair Revisited

Little known fact about me: in the fifth grade, I won the science fair. I'm sure my mom gets full credit for coming up with my experiment, because there's no way I thought of it. We took a tray of plants and put them in different growing environments - some in natural sunlight, some in artificial light, and some in the dark. Then, we gave a few of them miracle grow while the others only got water, and we noted the growth of each plant.  My tri-fold display board had a black background and then we made a huge plant out of green paper to glue on top.  We placed the data and observations of each plant in one of the big green paper leaves, and then I placed all the real plants on the table in front of the board.

The win came as a total shock to me. I mean, I hadn't used a lemon or potato to make electricity or anything cool like that.  Sure, some of the plants had turned yellow and others had spots and holes on their leaves, but who cares about plants? Certainly not fifth-grade Lucy. (Which is odd since now, at the ripe old age of 27, I've practically turned my blog into one about flowers and plants.)

When my mom picked me up from school that day I tried to do the American Idol fakeout when I told her about the results. You know what I'm talking about - the Idol contestants drag themselves out to their anxiously awaiting family with a long, sad look on their face before reaching behind their back to pull their golden ticket out of the back of their pants. And then everyone goes nuts. So as I opened the door to climb in, I said in my saddest, most you-won't-believe-it voice ever, "Ugh, guess who won the science fair?"

"YOU DID!" shouted my mom.

Of course she already knew. That's the way things go when you're mom works in the school district and 95% of her friends are teachers. She knew about the time I got in trouble in 6th grade for some English paper before the school day was even over. She knew in high school that I had made the cheerleading squad even before the results had been announced. She always knew everything. The science fair fakeout announcement was totally pointless.

Why am I bringing this up now? Glad you asked.

These are the plants we chose for our triple planter way back in the spring.

We chose them because we planted them late in the summer the previous year and they were awesome. They quadrupled in size and were always blooming.  This year, we bought two huge trays of them - both the same color - and split the two trays up between our two triple-planters.

Fast-forward about a month and this is how they were looking.

Obviously they've been growing, but we had yet to see any good flowers. And look at the colors of the leaves - they're all a different shade of green.  These pictures have not been altered - the top pot is really two shades lighter than the bottom pot.

What the heck?

I was perplexed because the plants were clearly alive and growing, but they definitely weren't blooming like they had the year before.

And that's when I put my ol' science fair observations to use. The different shades of green are because the small top tier holds much less water than the bigger bottom tiers. And they weren't blooming because they hadn't been fertilized. Duh! Who knew my fifth grade experiment would come in handy?

So I quickly broke out my bottle of Miracle Gro and went to town feeding my little flowers. Then as I watered each day, I made a point to give the smaller tier extra water.

And now look at them!

They're finally all green and blooming! Even in the extreme heat we've been having, they are still looking good everyday. I may just have to go dig around and find my old science fair trophy to display next to my pretty pots.