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Spring Wildflowers- California Poppy Nature Study

CA Poppy bursting out

“One of the most interesting performances to watch that I know is the way this poppy takes off its cap before it bows to the world. Like magic the cap loosens around the base; it is then pushed off by the swelling, expanding petals until completely loosened, and finally drops off.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 563

Way back when I was planning the challenges for the More Nature Study Book #3, I had no way of knowing what perfect timing I would have with this particular Poppies and Buttercups Challenge. We were treated to two events this week in connection with our poppy study.

CA Poppy Merced River Canyon

1. We took a day trip to Yosemite National Park and even though parts of the park still have quite a bit of snow, when we left the park through the southern El Portal entrance and out Hwy 140 there were millions of poppies blooming along the hills that run alongside the Merced River. It was breathtaking! I have lived in California all my life and I have never seen such a display of poppies…miles and miles of poppies in bloom.

Poppy Orange

2. The California Poppies in our front yard garden decided to start blooming on Monday. I am serious….Monday, right on cue! We took some time to closely observe the way the caps tip to reveal the petals (see the top photo in this entry). We marveled at the light shining through the bright orange petals. We peered into the inside flower parts and remembered Anna Botsford Comstock’s remarks about sleeping inside a poppy. We observed the lacy leaves and decided to do some sketches and rubbings of the leaves in our nature journals. You can view a previous more thorough study of poppies in this blog entry: CA Poppies-Using the Handbook of Nature Study.

“The insects in California take advantage of the closing petals and often get a night’s lodging within them, where they are cozily housed with plenty of pollen for supper and breakfast..”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 564

As part of the advanced study suggestions for this challenge, we are keeping a spring list of wildflowers in our nature journals.

Spring Flower Study notebook page
Advanced Study Notebook Page – More Nature Study Book #3 Spring

Mr. B also completed an additional notebook page for the Hound’s Tongue wildflower that we saw blooming this week on our hiking trail. This is one of the early wildflowers that we see in our local area. It’s distinctive leaves make it an easy flower to identify. The flowers are almost blue which is unusual and beautiful.

Wonderful Lupine
I enjoyed the lupine on the way home from our Yosemite trip. We had a wonderful week of focusing on wildflowers, increasing our desire for spring to really come and stay in our part of the world.

More Nature Study Book 3 Button

5 thoughts on “Spring Wildflowers- California Poppy Nature Study

  1. Amazing poppy display on that hillside. Love it!

  2. we LOVE wildflowers … and this may be very ‘un-natural’ … but have you seen those roll out wildflower gardens. my daughter has been asking for one for 5 years, and i thought about it this year for her birthday?!

    *you like pretty ‘in purple’


  3. Hi Barb, I am so sorry I have not been around lately….things have been a little crazy. BUT, I wanted to share with you…I met a Mom in a group I am in…who mentioned your blog…it’s always nice to meet people irl…who have similar interests…can’t wait to get back into our nature studies…had to take a little break for some other activities.

  4. Rebecca,
    I will be here when you have time….I will look forward to hearing about your nature study!

  5. I LOVE that picture of you in the lupine!

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