May 26, 2022, by Lexi Earl

Fascination of Plants Day 2022

This post is written by Dr Sina Fischer.

The 18th of May 2022 was Fascination of Plants Day. Researchers invited young and old to come along and find out what was happening in the Plant and Food Sciences at the University of NottinghamPeople from around the Sutton Bonington village but also as far as Loughborough followed the invitation. “We love gardening and heard about the event in the radio,” they told us.   

Prof Graham showcasing how to grow plants using hydroponics

The researchers were happy to explain what they were working on and why it is important to study, for example, how plants sense and respond to their environments. “We want people to know what we are doing here and to be excited by it. Research into plants is really important for progress in agriculture and plant breeding and we want everyone to share our excitement for plants and see how fascinating they are.”

The glasshouse team shared their knowledge about plant management, including how to deal with problematic little visitors when trying to grow plants.

Students and postdocs welcomed all visitors at the central café and took them on a tour around the campus, leading them to each of the six different activities set up by the researchers. Here visitors were able to view and touch plants, see how experiments were conducted and even try their hand at growing some plants themselves. The favourite stop must have been the stand set up by the Nutrition department. Here everybody got to taste some very special cake and have a guess at the secret ingredient. It was very tough to guess that the amazing chocolate cupcake was actually made with potato! 

Cake for sampling! Everyone came back for seconds of Ms. Ellis’s swede cake and her student, Miss Drewett’s, favourite: the sweetcorn lemon cake!

One school group also took the journey to campus and got to enjoy a day out in the sunshine. They were very curious, asking loads of questions and really got to test their knowledge on plants. 

Dr Burgess and Dr Foo from Light Science Technologies. Their activity on plant growth was very popular with children.

One of the most impressive stations was the Hounsfield facility. Here X-ray Computer Tomography technology is used to visualise roots inside the soil. An excellent question came up straight away: “Why do you not dig the roots up?” Leading researcher Dr. Sturrock and his team were able to explain how different plant roots look after they have been dug up from the soil and how much more we can learn when we observe them in their natural environment. Plus we can monitor their growth without damaging them. 

Plants growing in The Hounsfield Facility.

After a long trip around campus everybody was full to the brim with new knowledge and went home thinking about plants.  We thank everybody who visited us for Fascination of Plants Day. Thank you for showing interest and making it a great event.

Posted in Outreach and Engagement