Anyone who is interested in learning more about plants can become a PlantWatch participant! Plant-watching is an excellent activity for families, classrooms, naturalists, Guide and Scout organizations and outdoors groups as well. All you have to do is select a plant that occurs in your area, find it in your community and start recording. Every observation counts — reporting even one flowering date for one plant is a great contribution.
Check to determine what plants have been selected for your area. If you need additional help, consult your regional program co-ordinator, or local gardeners and naturalists. Be sure to select plants that you can easily observe every day during the blooming season. Suggestion for first time plant-watchers and schools: pick just one or two plant species to observe!
Go for a walk before flowers begin to bloom, to find the plant(s) you wish to observe. If possible, choose specimens that are growing in an easy-to-access, flat area. Plants on
a cool, north-facing slope usually flower later; and those on a warm, south-facing slope bloom earlier than plants on level ground. Avoid sites which may have unusual temperature or light conditions such as valleys, or sites near streetlights, buried steam pipes, concrete foundations or paved parking lots and roads.
For trees and large shrubs, temporarily mark an individual plant with a tag. For smaller plants, find a typical patch of the species to observe. A good idea is to label your plant (or patch of plants) with a plastic or metal tag so you are confident you are observing the same plants on each visit, and from year to year.