On Saturday, April 2 the Science Giants braved the springtime blizzard to spend the day with Kathy Johnson at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Despite the cold and snow everyone was really excited to see the beautiful gardens and greenhouses! We solved the most frustrating puzzle ever, Kathy gave us small tubes with strings running through them and gave us the task of solving what the strings looked like inside! They would all move if you pulled one but if you pulled it straight across they didn’t move, and there was something making noise if you shook it! Finally Desiree and Kayla figured out that the strings were looped together through a bead or ring! It was a fun way to get our minds moving on an early Saturday morning.
We headed out on our tour of the greenhouses. The first greenhouse we went to was the desert house. The greenhouses at the botanic garden were very different than at the conservatory! They were smaller but had plants living much closer and more entangled with each other as if it was the wild. “My favorite plants were the mini-cacti in the glass, they were so small and cute!” said Joanne after we left the room. Nancy taught us that most cacti have an accordion like pattern to their surface. This allows plants to absorb water during the wet season without bursting!
In the Tropical greenhouse the corpse plant was growing its fruit, but a few months ago for one night it bloomed and filled the greenhouse with a stench that was apparently similar to “dead mice and dirty diapers” according to Kathy. The botanists at the garden hand fertilized the flower. Now there are small red fruits that would cause your mouth to go numb if you ate it.