“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.
This is another week to look at garden flowers or wildflowers, especially bleeding hearts. If you have access to bleeding hearts, gather some to bring indoors for observation as suggested in the Handbook of Nature Study lesson.
If possible, observe the flowers when insects are visiting, noting the method of gathering nectar.
Advanced Study: Use the suggestions in the Handbook of Nature Study to observe carefully the bleeding heart.
Reread the lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study. Make sure to write a description of this flower in your nature journal with as much detail as possible.
Use watercolors or colored pencils to draw a stem with the flowers.
Join us for this series of challenges every week here on the Handbook of Nature Study.
Look for the new spring challenges to post starting April 3rd!
If you want to purchase the Spring Nature Study Continues ebook so you can follow along with all the notebooking pages, coloring pages, and subject images, you can join the Ultimate or Journey Membership Levels. See the Join Us page for complete information. Also, you can view the Spring Nature Study Continues announcementfor more details, list of topics, and a sample.
This is the Oregon Coast Edition of the Wildflower and Weed Grid Study! I had a fun-filled week of hiking and beach-combing in Oregon and we had our eyes out for as many wildflowers as we could possible find. It wasn’t hard because each trail had an abundance of wildflowers for us to enjoy.
I tried to capture as man of them as I could to share with you in this post.
Blue Oregon Iris – These are a frequent flower along the trail.
Sea pinks along the shore…blowing in the wind, casting cool shadows.
Our campsite was filled with clover and daisies. Imagine…daisies so plentiful they seem like weeds!
Cow parsnip lines the roads and pops up along the shore. Some of these plants are super tall and the flower heads are enormous.
Inside Out Flower was found in the shady spots and it is one of my favorites from this trip. I decided to include a special page in my nature journal for it (see below).
We found patches of lupine along the Humbug Mountain Trail. This trail was a new one for us and what a view! It was a lot of fun to adventure up and we look forward to taking this trail again.
The Monkey flower was amazing! There were areas along the moist gully that just screamed yellow from this pretty flower.
A familiar sight along any redwood forest trail this time of year is the rhododendron….this one was a pale pink. This was spotted along the Shrader Old Growth Trail. This is a fun hike out of Gold Beach and worth the long dusty dirt road to get there. We had the trail all to ourselves on this morning. There is nothing like being out in the wilderness hiking along hearing the birds and nothing else.
One day we visited Crissey Field State Park which has an awesome visitor’s center and several trails. The beach there is wide and open which invites you to walk a long way next to the shore. This Sea Verbena was growing along the sandy dunes. My boys were entranced by all the driftwood and they spent about an hour just hunting among the piles for interesting shapes. Boys.
These are pretty little Seaside daisies….another one I really like and will be adding to my nature journal. I think the delicate fringe-like petals are the best part of this flower.
Smith’s Fairybells…another shade loving plant we saw a lot of as we hiked.
It always makes me happy to see where flowers naturally grow to make pretty color combinations. These sweet peas and daisies were found right along the edge of the bank in our campground.
Seaside Tansy…the interesting part of this plant are the fern-like leaves. They also grow right along the dry cliffside going down to the beaches.
This Tiger Lily was actually in Del Norte County, California. The drive up Hwy 101 takes you through Redwoods National Park where the Tiger Lilies are blooming profusely along the road. I had to stop and capture one for you! Gorgeous!
We found Wild Bleeding Hearts too! We have these planted in our garden here at home but it was fun to see them growing in their natural environment.
Aren’t these lovely? Western Azaleas grow in Harris Beach State Park and we always look forward to seeing their happy blossoms.
We saw many Wild Cucumbers blooming but this one had its fruit already formed. Isn’t it interesting? It is in the gourd family and you can see why when you see the fruits.
Here are the flowers from the Wild Cucumber.
I know this is a non-native invasive plant but we saw it on many of the trails. Wild Radish comes in a variety of colors…white, soft pink, light lavender.
This is my first unidentified wildflower…if anyone knows what it is you can leave me a comment.
EDIT: I think this is Yellow Parentucellia...figwort family. Range: Western Washington to NW California.
This is my second unidentified wildflower…yellow ones stump me for some reason.
This we saw in a pond at Lagoon Creek which is technically in California. Yellow Pond Lilies were blooming all over the pond.
So there you have all the interesting images that I could pull from my camera. We did see quite a few more and if you look closely at my Wildflower Grid nature journal page you will see them listed.
“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 tip where new buds are constantly being formed during a long season of bloom.” Handbook of Nature Study, page 559
We chose the bleeding heart this week to take a closer look at during our afternoon outdoor time. We have one side of our house that is pretty much left in a wild state and it is full of bleeding hearts that bloom in the spring time. The mower comes close to this area but I have given strict orders that this particular stretch of the yard be left alone to do as it wishes.
We brought inside a vase full of flowers to examine up close just as the book suggested. Do you know what? We have never cut any of these flowers to bring indoors before this study. The other amazing thing is that we didn’t even know that they had a fragrance until we had the vase on the table and we were observing the flowers parts.
Once we pulled the petals back to look inside, the fragrance was almost overwhelmingly sweet….too sweet. My daughter thought they smelled like honey and I think that is a pretty accurate comparison.
The Handbook of Nature Study has a great explanation of the way this flower works and how the bees pollinate it by pushing apart the spoon-bowl shaped outer petals, pushing against the hinge works, then probing the nectar pitcher inside.
Here is the flower with the outer petals removed, exposing the inner petals and the heart shaped base of the stamen.
We would love to watch a bee gathering nectar so the next warm day we will be out and trying to catch that process happening.
Now you can pick your flower and join the Wednesday Flower Study. Choose a flower from your garden and look it up in the Handbook of Nature Study. Here is more information on how to get started. Join in during any week you have time. Wednesday Flower Study
Here is my original list and the flowers we are going to cover in our study.
Flowers Blooming Already or That We Can Study Right Now
Violet (page 476) Finished 3/18/09. Here is a LINK.
Buttercup (page 516)
Tulip (page 552) Finished 4/1/09. Here is a LINK.
California Poppy (page 531) Finished 4/8/09. Here is a LINK.
Petunias (page 581)
Mullein (page 537)
Dandelion (page 531) Finished 3/25/09. Here is a LINK.
Flowers that Will Study in Addition to Those Above
Bleeding Heart (page 558) Finished 4/15/09.
Bachelor’s Buttons (page 578)
Sweet Peas (page 588)
Queen Anne’s Lace (page 542)
We will be moving on to petunias next week. We have some really nice white and pink ones to study up close and to record in our nature journals.
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