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Summer Butterfly Nature Study – How to Make a Butterfly Puddle

Enjoy a summer butterfly nature study! Here is an easy step-by-step on how to make a butterfly puddle right in your own backyard.

Over the years, I’ve observed butterflies along hiking trails in the muddy edges. There will sometimes be 10 or 12 butterflies sitting on the mud slowly opening and closing their wings. This behavior fascinated me! After a little research on the internet, I discovered that butterflies are attracted to mud puddles for not only the moisture but the minerals and salts that are present in the mud.

Enjoy a summer nature study! Here is an easy step-by-step on how to make a butterfly puddle and attract butterflies to your backyard garden.

Summer Butterfly Nature Study – How To Make a Butterfly Puddle

So, this summer I’ve decided I want to make my own butterfly mud puddle, but make it in a large saucer. During my research, I ran across several websites and videos that explained how to make an artificial mud puddle that butterflies could use in my garden.

Basically, you add sand to the saucer along with some sort of mineral source. I decided to try compost, a little gravel, a few rocks, and a bit of Epsom salts with my sand. Then you add water to moisten your “puddle”.

Here is a step-by-step how to for a butterfly puddle.

Attract Butterflies to Your Garden with a Butterfly Puddle

Here’s a YouTube video for you to watch for a tutorial:

Simple and easy!

I would love for you to give this project a try with your children and let me know if you were successful too!

You can always leave me a comment, email me directly, or post an image on Instagram and use the hashtag outdoorhourchallenge.

More Resources For Homeschool Nature Study

For even more homeschool nature study ideas, join us in Homeschool Nature Study membership! You’ll receive new ideas each and every week that require little or no prep – all bringing the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool!

Be inspired. Be encouraged. Get Outdoors!

Enjoy a summer nature study! Here is an easy step-by-step on how to make a butterfly puddle and attract butterflies to your backyard garden.

By Barb, July 2021

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Plant Life Nature Study: Learning The Parts of a Flower

A simple homeschool plant life nature study learning the parts of a flower. Flowers are a wonderful first nature study topic for many children, especially those flowers they find and ask about on your creative nature walks or even in your own backyard. Keep it simple and fun!

“All the names should be taught gradually by constant unemphasized use on the part of the teacher; and if the child does not learn the names naturally then do not make him do it unnaturally.”

Handbook of Nature Study, page 456
A simple homeschool plant life nature study learning the parts of a flower. Flowers are a wonderful first nature study topic for many children, especially those flowers they find and ask about on your creative nature walks or even in your own backyard. Keep it simple and fun!

Plant Life Nature Study – Learning the Parts of a Flower

This plant life nature study is going to be helpful to all families as they strive to learn the technical names for flower parts. Make sure to read the pages in the Handbook of Nature Study and look up the link in the challenge with a printable with the flower parts labeled. Don’t make this too much of a drill or memorization assignment. As the need arises, use the proper names for the flower parts as you go through your outdoor time and find garden flowers or wildflowers to observe.

More Flower Nature Study Activities

You will also enjoy this parts of a flower printable from our friends at The Homeschool Scientist.

Our sister site, You ARE an ARTiST, has a parts of a daffodil art lesson included in the I Drew It Then I Knew It Science series with Nana.

A simple homeschool plant life nature study learning the parts of a flower. Flowers are a wonderful first nature study topic for many children, especially those flowers they find and ask about on your creative nature walks or even in your own backyard. Keep it simple and fun!

Homeschool Nature Study Lesson Plans

If you are a member here at Homeschool Nature Study, you will find this plant life nature study flower challenge in the Garden Flower and Plant Curriculum ebook in your membership library. In the ebook you will find a custom notebook page designed for use with this particular challenge.

 Published April 2016 by Barb

A simple homeschool plant life nature study learning the parts of of a flower. Flowers are a wonderful first nature study topic for many children
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The Ultimate List of Garden and Wildflowers Homeschool Nature Study (Outdoor Hour Challenges)

You can enjoy a simple garden and wildflowers homeschool nature study with these resources we have gathered for you to use in your own backyard. It is such a delight to study and learn about a garden and the beauty of wildflowers!

It is such a delight to study and learn about a garden and the beauty of wildflowers with our garden and wildflowers homeschool nature study for all ages.

Wondering how to start? Grab our FREE Getting Started with Homeschool Nature Study Guide!

The Ultimate List of Garden and Wildflowers Homeschool Nature Study Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges

NOTE: If the challenge is included an Outdoor Hour Challenge Curriculum ebook in Homeschool Nature Study Membership, it is noted directly after the challenge. If you have a membership, you will be able to pull up the ebook and print any notebook pages, coloring pages, or other printables for your nature study.

  • Autumn Apples – Autumn
  • Bachelor’s Buttons – Summer Continues
  • Bee Larkspur/Delphinium – Summer Continues
  • Black Eyed Susans – More Nature Study Summer
  • Black Swallowtail – Spring Continues
  • Bleeding Hearts – Winter Continues
  • Blue Flag Iris – More Nature Study Spring
  • Crocus – Winter
  • Daisy – More Nature Study Summer
  • Daffodil – Winter
  • Earthworms – Spring
  • Geranium – Spring Continues
It is such a delight to study and learn about a garden and the beauty of wildflowers with our garden and wildflowers homeschool nature study for all ages.
  • Monarch Butterfly – More Nature Study Summer
  • Nasturtiums – Spring Continues
  • Pansy – More Nature Study Winter
  • Pears – More Nature Study Autumn
  • Petunias – Spring Continues
  • Robins – More Nature Study Spring
  • Salvia – Autumn Continues
  • Snails – More Nature Study Spring
  • Sunflowers
  • Sweet Peas – More Nature Study Spring
  • Tulip – Winter
  • Violets – Winter Continues
It is such a delight to study and learn about a garden and the beauty of wildflowers with our garden and wildflowers homeschool nature study for all ages.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Wildflower Nature Study

These challenges can be found in Homeschool Nature Study membership.

  • Wild Mustard and Wild Radish
  • Shooting Stars
  • Lupine
  • Purple Chinese Houses
  • Yarrow
  • Henbit
  • Cow Parsnip
  • Columbine
  • Chicory
  • Cocklebur
  • Fireweed
  • Salsify
  • Forget-Me-Not
  • Paintbrush
  • Common Silverweed

Homeschool Nature Study: Wildflower and Weed Challenges

  • Azalea – Forest Fun
  • Bitterbrush – High Desert
  • Bloodroot – Winter Continues
  • Bluets – Spring Continues
  • Burdock – Autumn Continues
  • Buttercups – More Nature Study Spring
  • Cattails Spring Observations – Spring
  • Cattails Summer Observations – Summer
  • Cattails Winter Observations – Winter
  • Chicory – Wildflowers Continue
  • Cocklebur – Wildflowers Continue
  • Columbine – Wildflowers Continue
  • Common Silverweed – More Wildflowers
  • Cow Parsnip – Wildflowers Continue
  • Dandelions – Spring course (Here is an example of a Dandelion Outdoor Hour!)
  • Dodder – More Nature Study Spring
  • Dutchman’s Breeches – Winter Continues
  • Evening Primrose – Summer
  • Fern – More Nature Study Spring
  • Field Horsetail – Autumn
  • Fireweed – More Wildflowers
  • Forget-Me-Nots – More Wildflowers
  • Hedge Bindweed – More Nature Study Spring
  • Henbit – Wildflowers Continue
  • Hepatica – Winter Continues
  • Jack in the Pulpit – Spring Continues
  • Jewelweed – Autumn 2015
  • Lupine – Wildflowers
  • May Apple – Spring Continues
  • Milkweed –More Nature Study Autumn
  • Mullein – More Nature Study Winter
  • Mustard and Radish (wild) – Wildflowers
  • Paintbrush – More Wildflowers
  • Pearly Everlasting – Summer Continues
  • Poison Oak – Creepy Things
  • Pondweed – More Nature Study Summer
  • Poppies – More Nature Study Spring
  • Prickly Lettuce – Autumn
  • Purple Chinese Houses – Wildflowers
  • Queen Anne’s Lace Autumn Observations – Autumn
  • Queen Anne’s Lace Summer Observations – Summer
  • Rabbitbrush – Forest Fun
  • Big Sagebrush – High Desert
  • Salsify – More Wildflowers
  • Shooting Stars – Wildflowers
  • Skunk Cabbage – Forest Fun
  • Snowberry (shrub) – High Desert
  • Squirrel Corn – Winter Continues
  • Teasel – Autumn Continues
  • Thistles – More Nature Study Autumn
  • Trillium – Spring Continues
  • Vine Study – More Nature Study Spring
  • White Water Lily – Summer Continues
  • Winter Berries – Autumn Continues
  • Winter Weeds – Winter Wednesday and More Winter
  • Yarrow – Wildflowers
  • Yellow Adder’s Tongue – Spring Continues
  • Yellow Ladies Slipper – Spring Continues
  • Crop Plants – Clover
  • Crop Plants – Beans
  • Crop Plants – Corn
  • Crop Plants – Cotton
  • Crop Plants – Strawberries
  • Crop Plants – Pumpkins
  • Crop Plants – Tomatoes
Homeschool Nature Study Membership

Join The Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

Can you believe all of these garden and wildflowers resources you will find in membership? You will also find a continuing series on gardens and wildflowers plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges for nature study in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. There are 25+ continuing courses with matching Outdoor Hour curriculum that will bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool! In addition, there is an interactive monthly calendar with daily nature study prompt – all at your fingertips!

first published January 2011 by Barb, updated by Tricia March 2022

The Ultimate List of Garden and Wildflowers Homeschool Nature Study Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges
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Birdwatching 101 Attracting Birds To Your Yard

Here you will find all sorts of ideas for attracting birds to your yard for homeschool nature study and birdwatching without ever leaving your backyard.

Here you will find all sorts of ideas for attracting birds to your yard for homeschool nature study and birdwatching. We love to watch birds and do so on a regular basis without ever leaving our backyard. We can watch from our window or our deck and see usually around 4-5 different kinds of birds each day. At sometimes of the year, we have a lot more than that and it is exciting to see a new kind in the feeders.

Birdwatching 101 Attracting Birds to Your Yard

Here are some ideas for attracting birds to your yard.

Here you will find all sorts of ideas for attracting birds to your yard for homeschool nature study and birdwatching without ever leaving your backyard.

Homeschool Nature Study with a Variety of Bird Feeders

  • Try a variety of bird feeders. We made most of ours from scraps around the house and my boys love to hammer a nail and saw boards so this is a great project with a little supervision.
  • We have some that are called platform feeders. The birds actually land on the feeder and eat from the seed in the tray. We have scrub jays (blue jays), tit mouses, towhees, dark eyed juncos, and house sparrows in these feeders.
  • The second kind of feeders are the hopper kind of feeders where the bird lands on the perches and eat from holes in the sides of the feeders. Birds like house finches, goldfinches, and house sparrows like these types of feeders.
Hummingbird homeschool nature study ideas.

Attracting Birds with a Homeschool Nature Garden

Now for the more “natural” way to attract birds to your yard with a garden. We have chosen some plants for our garden area that seem to attract birds…especially hummingbirds. We planted butterfly bushes and trumpet vines on our arbor to attract butterflies but they seem to attract more hummingbirds. I am not complaining because they are beautiful and I say the more the merrier.

We have several varieties of sunflowers in our garden. Both planted with seed and those that came up from our feeder spillage. The yellow finches seem to like to eat the whole leaf of the the sunflower leaving just a little skeleton for us to look at.

We also have a fig tree in our yard and the scrub jays love to sit and peck at the fruit for an evening meal. They make a big mess but I’m glad someone is eating the figs.

So hopefully that gives you at least an idea of how to attract some birds to your own yard so that you can enjoy birdwatching from your window or backyard.

You may also be interested in visiting my page on feeding birds in winter….which would also apply at other times of the year as well: How To Feed Birds

And don’t miss our Ultimate List of Birds Homeschool Nature Study Resources Using the Outdoor Hour Challenges too!

Join Our Homeschool Nature Study Membership for Year Round Support

You will find a continuing series on bird nature study, bird watching and attracting birds plus all the Outdoor Hour Challenges for nature study in our Homeschool Nature Study membership. There are 25+ continuing courses with matching Outdoor Hour curriculum that will bring the Handbook of Nature Study to life in your homeschool! In addition, there is an interactive monthly calendar with daily nature study prompt – all at your fingertips!

-First published by Barb May 2008. Updated January 2022 by Tricia.

Here you will find all sorts of ideas for attracting birds to your yard for homeschool nature study and birdwatching with bird feeders and garden plants.
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Renee’s Garden Seeds: Summer 2021 Results

Renee’s Garden Seeds

Summer 2021 Results

Link to her website: Renee’s Garden Seeds

What a fantastic year for the garden! We have so many success stories to share and positive results as the season is in full swing. Renee’s Garden seeds were a huge part of the colorful and vibrant garden our family and friends have enjoyed as they visited this past month.

Read below for the specific seeds we planted and the results we achieved.

 Renee’s Garden Seeds List

Renees garden seeds 2021 (3)

4th of July Heirloom Cornflowers

Wow! These have really produced an abundance of flowers in the garden. I love the shades of blue and red and so do the bees!

Renees garden seeds 2021 (2)

Lace Mantle Sweet Williams

I get more compliments about this particular flower in my garden than any other flower. Their striking colors are so pretty! I count these as a huge success.

Renees garden seeds 2021 (1)

Rainbow of California Poppies

We had more blooms last year but there are still quite a few of the rainbow-colored poppies for us to enjoy. For some reason, they are leaning and reaching outside the garden box. I really need to figure out what’s going on there.

Renees garden seeds 2021 (10)

Lemon Queen Sunflowers

As always, we’ve had a bumper crop from the Lemon Queen Sunflowers. They’re not only a favorite of the bees, but they’re also a favorite of mine! The soft yellow is such a happy color.

Renees garden seeds 2021 (8)

Classic Slenderette Bush Beans

We planted these beans in pots at the beginning of May. I started with 3 plants when we transplanted them but ended up with only one healthy plant that produces blossoms and beans. I must be honest. These were an experiment to see if they can grow in our climate. The success of this one plant made me realize that I can grow beans in my garden and I have a great plan to be sure to have more plants thrive next year. As of today, the plants are withering from a couple of nights where the temperatures dropped to near freezing. Not sure I can justify the effort to grow these in my Central Oregon garden with such a small window of productivity. I did look back in my records though and we harvested lots of this variety of green bean from our garden in California. So, the failure here is a matter of habitat and climate and not the seeds.

Renees garden seeds 2021 (7)

Astia Container Zucchini

We had plenty of success with these seeds sprouting and growing, putting on blossoms, but no fruit at all. I think it may have to do with the cooler nights we have which make it hard for these to thrive. I wouldn’t count this as a failure of the seeds, just our garden zone.

Renees garden seeds 2021 (6)

Cinnamon Sun Sunflowers

I love these sunflowers so much! They add such a deep burgundy pop to the otherwise very yellow sunflower bed. Another thing I love about them? They make awesome cut flowers. I’ve had a vase continually filled with their happy, vibrant flowers.

Renees garden seeds 2021 (9)

Scarlet Runner Beans

These were started in May in pots and transplanted to the garden in June. We eagerly watched as the plants grew up the twine, put on flowers, and then produced pods that you allow to dry on the vine.  Many mornings I look out the window and see the hummingbirds visiting the scarlet red blossoms.  What a perfect addition to my garden!

Renees garden seeds 2021 (13)

Early Blooming Beekeeper’s Garden

This was a winner from last year’s garden. We added another packet of seeds to the box and once again they are a spectacular display of colors and shapes. I did make the mistake of allowing some volunteer sunflowers to grow in with the seeds. These have overshadowed the flower mix and I think perhaps the flowering of some of the varieties. Nonetheless, there have been plenty of bees and butterflies visiting the rainbow of flowers.

Renees garden seeds 2021 (4)

Knee High White Cosmos

These are some of my daughter’s favorite flowers in my garden. I love the vintage feel of this variety of cosmos.

Renees garden seeds 2021 (11)

Valentine Lemon Sunflower

This is one of the sunflowers that I sprouted and gave to friends. We’ve all had success growing them in our gardens and their slightly smaller flower head and multiple heads on one stem make them a great cut flower.

Renees garden seeds 2021 (12)

Heirloom Pepperbox Poppies

This is a favorite from the last few years here in Central Oregon. I now can’t imagine a flower garden without these poppies! I saved seed from last year’s crop and scattered it early in the spring to see how many would grow. Well, I’m happy to report that I have quite a few of this variety of poppy in several areas of my yard. The bees can be found daily buzzing and sipping from the red blossoms. If you would like a showy display, give these seeds a try.

Renee’s Garden seeds are the foundation of our flower garden. I’ve already made a list of new things to add next year to promote a wider range of colors, shapes, and heights to my flower beds.

I highly recommend purchasing from Renee’s and seeing the gorgeous results for yourself. I do receive a small amount of seed from Renee’s Garden as a promotional gift. In addition to her gift, I purchase many of the seeds myself. I know they’re always of the highest quality.

I also recommend following her on Instagram to see all of the new products available as they are released. #reneesgardenseeds

Handbook of Nature Study Flowers chart with Outdoor Hour Challenges

Are you interested in using the Handbook of Nature Study for a study of garden flowers? I’ve compiled a list of the topics from the book and coordinated them with the Outdoor Hour Challenges. I hope this is helpful for your family!

Handbook of Nature Study Flowers chart with Outdoor Hour Challenges

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Your Backyard Habitat:Look for Something of Interest

Your Backyard Habitat

Look for Something of Interest

I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few months working on a new ebook for all of us to use in creating a backyard habitat designed to attract birds, bees, and butterflies. I’ve heard from so many of my readers that they think their backyard space is boring or nothing out of the ordinary. So this week, I’m going to challenge you all to get outside and prove yourselves wrong!

summer garden 2020
Last year’s garden was filled with lots of living things.

 

Every space has something to observe, and the list below will help you start thinking differently about whatever your outdoor space is currently looking like at the beginning of spring. As part of the process in creating a backyard habitat, the first step is to make an assessment of what you already have and then decide how you can improve it. Challenge your children to check off as many things as they can from the list below.

What Do You Observe?

  • Trees: leaves, bark, twigs, roots, flowers, cones, needles, seeds, pods, nests, birds
  • Patch of weeds: leaves, roots, bugs, flowers
  • Dirt: worms, gravel, stones, seeds, mud, ants, mushrooms, moss
  • Sky: clouds, sun, moon, stars, birds
  • Air: temperature, wind, smells, breath on a cold morning
  • Birds: flying, pecking, eating, chirping, hopping, shapes and colors, beaks, wings, tails, feet
  • Sounds: wind, frogs, rain, leaves, crickets, bees, fly buzzing, mosquitoes
  • Weather: rain, clouds, temperature, snow, ice, dew, wind
  • Flowers (garden or in a pot): petals, pollen, roots, leaves, stem, fragrance, shapes, colors, seeds

We need to train our eyes and hearts to be open to the opportunities that arise in our everyday travels.

I’m anticipating the new backyard habitat ebook to be in the Ultimate Naturalist Library for members by the end of April 2021. Exciting times coming for you and your family as you start the process of creating a backyard habitat to use for nature study and so much more!

Garden+Flowers+Cover.jpg

Members have access to the Garden Flowers and Crops ebook in their library. This is also a fantastic resource for learning about gardening along with your children.

Herb Nature Study ebook cover graphic

We’ll be using the Herb Nature Study ebook later this summer for our weekly Outdoor Hour Challenges. If you have access now, you can get a jump start by reading through the book and planning a few herbs to grow for your nature study time.

 

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Outdoor Hour Challenge-Bleeding Hearts Nature Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Bleeding Hearts Nature Study

“The flowers of the bleeding heart are beautiful jewel-like pendants arranged along the stem according to their age; the mature flower, ready to shed its petals, is near the main stem while the tiny unopened bud is hung at the very top, where new buds are constantly being formed during a long season of bloom.”

Handbook of Nature Study

Anna Botsford Comstock placed the bleeding heart in the garden flowers section of the Handbook of Nature Study. But many of us live in areas where we can also find bleeding hearts as a blooming native (wildflower) plant. The Pacific bleeding heart is found in your field guide under the name Dicentra Formosa.

Hint: It can be found both as a garden plant and as a native plant in many areas.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Bleeding Hearts 2021

View the original challenge here: Bleeding Hearts Nature Study

Bleeding hearts notebook page 1bleeding hearts notebook page 2

If you have access to the Winter Nature Study Continues ebook, there are two notebook pages to choose from for your nature journal.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Nature Study Continues ebook

 

To purchase an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership, click on over to the Join Us page at any time.

You can use the discount code NATURE5 to receive $5 off your Ultimate Naturalist Library membership.

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

 

 

 

 

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Outdoor Hour Challenge: Violets Nature Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Violets Nature Study

I love violets! In the summer, we have thousands of them that come up all over the yard. They are in the flower beds, in the lawn, and even between the pavers of our walkway! I love their happy colors and I’m anxious to see them again once the season changes.

IMG_8775(1)

Most of our violets are transplants from a friend that have gone wild and reseeded themselves. But, we do have one native violet that grows as a wildflower along the edges of our property. It is the goosefoot violet and it’s yellow.

goosefoot violet

I need to be careful when I’m weeding along the fence because I could easily weed them right out of the flower bed. Learning their leaf shape, a distinctive “goose print” shape, has helped me to let them be when I’m cleaning out the weeds. Plus, it helps me remember its name! The goosefoot violet is one of our spring ephemerals and signals us that spring is on its way, making it a very welcome flower when we see it starting to bloom.

fragrant violet

I think Anna Botsford Comstock had a love for violets as well. When you read the lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study you can hear her appreciation for their form and beauty. She does mention the fact that not all violets are fragrant. This was a surprise to me because our violets in California all had that distinctive violet perfume fragrance. The goosefoot violet has no fragrance at all. Turns out, Anna was helpful in giving us some valuable information in order to correctly identify the wild violets.

Violet Nature Study @handbookofnaturestudy

View the original challenge here: Outdoor Hour Challenge – Violets.

Make sure to check your local field guide to see which violets are native and then be on the lookout for some to observe in your nature study. As suggested in the original challenge, look for “johnny jump ups” in your garden nursery as a substitute for wild violets.

Violets notebook page 2

Violets notebook page 1.pub

If you have access to the Winter Nature Study Continues ebook, there are two notebook pages to choose from for your nature journal.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Winter Nature Study Continues ebook

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

To purchase an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership, click on over to the Join Us page at any time. You can use the discount code NATURE5 to receive $5 off your Ultimate Naturalist Library membership.

Members can download and use any of the wildflower challenges from the three ebooks available in the Member’s Library.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Wildflower Set 1 Ebook

OHC Wildflower Set 2 @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Hour Challenge Wildflower 3 Covermaker

 

 

 

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Garden Flower Nature Study Planning

Garden Flower Nature Study Planning

This is the season for planning your garden whether it’s a flower garden or a vegetable garden. Anticipating the colorful flowers, the delicious tasting fruits, and the many hours of happily tending the garden is more than half the fun in my opinion. Paging through seed catalogs or scrolling your favorite gardening sites online can fill your cold winter days with pleasant thoughts of things to come.

I’ve already started my garden planning for the year and put in my seed order to Renee’s Garden Seeds. If you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you already know that I love this seed company. I always have great results from their products and they are my go to place to purchase seeds for the garden.

Because of our short growing season here in Central Oregon (less than 60 days), our garden is mostly flowers now and not veggies. But, I have decided to try a green bean and broccoli raab crop this year as an experiment. I will keep you posted on our results.

Renees Seed Packets

Want to know my list of seeds?

4th of July Heirloom Cornflowers

Lace Perfume Fragrant Dianthus

Lace Mantle Sweet Williams

Rainbow of California Poppies – We grew these last year in our garden and they are gorgeous!

Lemon Queen Sunflowers – These are the sunflowers suggested to grow as part of the Great Sunflower (bee counting) Project.

Classic Slenderette Green Beans – We’re going to try this variety because of its short growing to harvest time.

Early Rapini Heirloom Broccoli Raab – This is another crop we hope we can grow here in our cooler climate.

Astia Container Zucchini – I grew this in California in a big pot on my back deck. I’m hoping to have some success with it here in Oregon.

Sweet Greens and Reds lettuce mix – This is another variety of a lettuce we grew last year from Renee’s.

Garden Babies Butterhead container lettuce – This is a new lettuce for us and I’m hoping it produces a few heads for us to enjoy.

Cinnamon Sun Sunflowers – I’m excited to try a new color of sunflowers in this year’s garden.

Chocolate Daisy – This is an old favorite that I want to try this year in our new garden box. (It does have the fragrance of chocolate!)

I am eagerly awaiting their arrival! It will be a while before I can actually plant them, but I can dream about the warm summer afternoons in the garden while I wait.

Handbook of Nature Study Flowers chart with Outdoor Hour Challenges

Maybe you would like to start dreaming and planning for your summer flower garden nature studies. I have completely updated my chart of garden flower topics from the Handbook of Nature Study. Each flower has an Outdoor Hour Challenge associated with it on the website and an ebook with notebook pages to use for your study. Use the links in the chart to decide on which flowers you will study this summer!

Download a copy here: Handbook of Nature Study List of Garden Flowers with the Outdoor Hour Challenge.

Ultimate Naturalist Library members have access to all the ebooks required. If you’d like to purchase an annual membership, click the link above and then use the discount code NATURE5 to receive $5 off your membership.

Join Us Ultimate Naturalist June 2020

All memberships are valid for one year after your purchase. The library of ebooks, the newsletters, and all the printables will be only a few clicks away.

Ambleside Online Approved @handbookofnaturestudy

For those of you following the Ambleside Online nature schedule, the spring topic is garden flowers and weeds. Please feel free to combine your nature study with the Outdoor Hour Challenges found in the archives.

 

 

 

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Creating a Wildlife Habitat in Your Own Backyard Part 1

Creating a Wildlife Habitat in Your Own Backyard

Part 1 – Make an Assessment

Creating a Wildlife Garden in your Own Backyard

The story of how I decided to create a more wildlife friendly backyard started a long time ago.

growing up with a manicured yard
Our Backyard – 1967

I grew up in a world of manicured lawns and formal flower beds that required a lot of care and attention.

california plot of land
Our First Home in California – 1987

Purchasing our first home back in California, we were happy to be able to afford a plot of land that had a large yard with front yard and backyard lawns and bare ground that had potential for flowers and vegetables in the garden. But in those days, I hadn’t awakened my desire to garden for wildlife, only human needs.

garden beginnings california

Fast forward a few years, we started to homeschool and to spend lots more time in our own yard. Homeschooling introduced us to nature study and I was drawn to Charlotte Mason’s philosophy of encouraging lots of outdoor time for children. While my boys played outside in our backyard, I haphazardly planted more pollinator friendly plants and trees as a way to create a space where we had some things to observe and learn about together.

front yard remodel california

Then we made more radical changes by completely removing our front yard lawn and replacing it with native plants and adding additional food and water sources for the birds and other animal visitors. We were creating a more wildlife friendly habitat.

backyard before dry landscape oregon

Then we moved to Central Oregon and its harsher environment. We experienced the truly cold and snowy winter climate and the dry, dry, dry high desert climate in the summer. It was a bit of an adjustment to learn what would thrive in our new yard and what sorts of wildlife we needed to accommodate.

wildflower meadow oregon 2019 (2)

The process has been enjoyable and interesting. It takes patience and a little effort but creating a wildlife friendly habitat is worth all the energy.

Wildlife will come to you!

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My husband says it’s a case of “if you build it, they will come”. This truly has been our experience.

There have been doubters in our circle of friends. We’ve had people question our choices from time to time, but once we explain why we plant certain things or leave certain plants/weeds to grow, they better understand that we really do have a plan.

My hope is that you will consider creating a wildlife garden of your own. I assure you that you don’t need a lot of land, a lot of money, or any special knowledge in order to be successful.

Think of the process as a way to invite nature right up to your doorstep.

Assess Your Yard and Make a Plan (make a headline)

Make an assessment of what you already have available in your yard. You can use either of the printables below to get started. Ask your children to help you make an inventory of what may already be working for wildlife.

Wildlife Habitat Plan

Would you like a free printable plan for creating your own wildlife habitat? I created one for you to use as you assess your yard for the four elements you’ll need to become certified.

Download and print yours here: Wildlife Habitat Plan

checklist wildlife garden

Here’s another printable from the National Wildlife Federation that has a detailed checklist for you to use: Garden Certification Walk-through Checklist.

nesting box

Brainstorm Ideas About Who You Would Like to Visit Your Yard

After you assess your yard, create a list of what you’d like to invite into your habitat. Your children may need some guidance in making a reasonable list of things that may come to visit.

collage wildlife garden

Here are some ideas: butterflies, birds, ladybugs, bees, frogs and toads, squirrels.

My next post will help you create a plan to attract wildlife to your yard by planting and creating the habitat that will entice them to visit and stay awhile.

For now, print one of the suggested printables above and make it a family project to gather information about your current backyard habitat. I don’t want you to worry if you think your yard is a barren wasteland to start with. In my next post, I’ll help you to make a start and I guarantee you that anything you do to create a wildlife habitat will be rewarded if you’re patient.

If you want to look for a good book at your public library that will help stimulate interest in this project, I highly recommend this book that I have in my personal library.

Please note that the link above is an Amazon affiliate link to a book I purchased and value as a resource on this topic.

I will be continuing this series in the months to come. I hope it will help you begin to think about your own backyard space as a possible wildlife habitat that will bring some wild things right to you.

Leave me a comment or send me an email if you have any questions or comments.

harmonyfinearts@yahoo.com