It's springtime in Pittsburgh and flowers are in bloom! Gardeners have already prepared their flower beds for the warm months ahead and all over Pittsburgh tulips are blooming in bright and bold colors.
Tulips are considered to be a perennial flower, meaning that the plant will continue to bloom year after year. Flowers such as snapdragons need to be purchased and planted each year. These flowers are called annuals. Most gardeners like to plan their gardens ahead of the season and fill their beds with perennials that will be seen year after year. Annuals are great for adding a splash of color to the garden and best of all: you can change them every year.
However, plants just don't magically begin to flower, the growing process all starts with the seed. The seed contains everything it needs to develop and grow into a plant. There are three basic parts to a seed. The outer shell is called the seed coat; it protects the food supply of the seed called the endosperm. The endosperm is a source of food that is stored in the seed. Finally, there is the embryo. The embryo is the multicellular organism before it surfaces from the seed.
A great way to see the growing process is by doing it yourself at home, grown-ups should assist younger children, of course. Try this: Soak a raw lima bean in water over night. Fill a small clear plastic cup half full with potting soil. Place the lima bean in the cup and soil taking care to place the bean toward the bottom of the cup. By placing the seed against the side of the cup, you will be able to watch the growing process happening right in your own home. Be sure to place the cup in a safe place where it will receive plenty of sunlight, and don't forget to water it daily.