It’s that time of year again! Wildflower season is upon us and it may just be the topic that your children will really enjoy as you take your summer nature walks. Who can help but notice the colors of summer when they start to bloom? Every habitat has something to offer before the season passes.
Use the ideas in the link below to take a closer look at a few of your wildflowers of summer. After you make some observations, you can create a nature journal page for each flower. Keep your study simple and fun this summer and you’ll be sure to make some fond wildflower memories for your children.
Here in Central Oregon we have many asters and daisies to observe. This week’s challenge takes us into the Handbook of Nature Study lessons on daisies and asters. Look for these flowers in your garden and yard. If you can’t find any flowers to observe in person during your outdoor time, you can usually find these flowers in the floral department at your local grocery store.
Make this a fun and enjoyable study by following up with some watercolor paintings in your nature journal. I am always inspired to be creative when I take my paints outside and your children may just be the same way.
Make sure to watch the videos in the original challenge to inspire even the most flower study reluctant boys. They might want to look for the patterns and the Fibonacci sequence in the challenge flowers after learning more about this fascinating aspect of nature.
You can also follow up by pressing flowers for your nature journal or allowing time for your children to arrange a beautiful bouquet of flowers for your kitchen table.
Above all, get outside and enjoy your family time!
My current nature themed read isVitamin N by Richard Louv. I am gleaning so many new and original nature study ideas from his writings. I know many of you have read his other book, Last Child in the Woods, but Vitamin N takes his ideas one step further by providing specific and practical ideas for enjoying nature with your family. I highly recommend this book! Look for it at your public library.
Looking for the autumn plan for the Outdoor Hour Challenge? Here is a link!
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.
I don’t know about you but ever since we really learned about Fibonacci numbers in nature we have been on the lookout for the patterns and swirls. They seem to be everywhere once your eyes learn to focus on this interesting design in creation. The More Nature Study Book #4 Summer Sizzle challenge for garden flowers shares lots of ideas for getting to know about the Fibonacci sequence and the aster family.
Our Garden Flowers Study using the Handbook of Nature Study led us to discover some different kinds of asters that we have right in our own yard. The clue is the shape and arrangement of the flower petals.
The challenge was actually to study White daisies, Black-eyed Susans, and Asters. We went beyond and tried to find all the flowers in the aster family that we have in our garden. We found quite a few.
There are the dahlias. This surprised me that it was in the aster family. My son grows dahlias in his garden box for me and this year they are all shades of pink. I would like to add a few more colors next year.
We do have dahlias growing in pots on the back deck. We planted these from seeds that we purchased from Rene’s Garden. The package calls them Watercolor Silksand they live up to their name.
I bring them in and let them fully open up inside on the kitchen table.
We have lots of Echinacea in our cutting garden. We looked this flower up and it is in the aster family! Can you count the petals?
We were not sure about the Bee Balm so we looked it up on Wikipedia…no, it is not in the aster family. Knowing what makes an aster an aster, we should have known better. Sometimes it adds to the learning experience to NOT find what you are looking for because it makes you stop and take note of the different attributes of a flower like petal arrangement and the way the flower grows.
The nasturtium is also not a member of the aster family. I would love to have a whole bed of nasturtiums. I settled for four scrawny plants this year. There is a study in the Handbook of Nature Study for the nasturtium and I think our family will be following up this aster study with that one in the near future…just for fun and to record this flower in our nature journals.
Other Miscellaneous Garden Adventures from the Past Month
We have lots of Cabbage White butterflies in our garden everyday. I really love this link: Cabbage White. I learned so much by taking the time to look up this butterfly even though it was technically garden flower week. I love it when nature study subjects come to us and we slow down enough to learn a few facts. This is what makes our nature study so rich and satisfying. I think it is such a joy to know about the common everyday things in my garden. There is so much to learn.
We visited a beautiful rose garden when we were on our Oregon trip last month. Shores Acres has a garden that is so magical that you don’t know where to look and you are afraid you are going to miss something. The rose above is my absolute new favorite…it is called Hot Cocoa. It had a slight chocolate fragrance and the color was reminiscent of cocoa.
A rare sighting of me on the blog but I want you to know how much I enjoyed this rose garden. My son obliged me by taking a few photos of me as we wandered around and tried to find our favorites.
My other son decided that the bench was just too inviting and he rested awhile in the rose garden…what a great way to spend a few minutes while you wait for your mom who decided she wanted to read very sign.
So have you completed your garden flower study for the summer yet using the Handbook of Nature Study? I would love to see your garden entries in the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival…you have until the end of the month to post your entry and send in your links.
Jami’s Tuesday Garden Party meme is open from Tuesday to Thursday so there is still time for you to jump in and participate!
This is the last challenge in the More Nature Study Book #4 series of challenges for the summer! I can hardly believe it…this summer has flown by and I know that many of you are back to school already.
I think we left one of the best summer challenges for the last. Garden flowers are such a joy this time of year and whether you make your observations out in your garden, bring the cut flowers inside and place them in a vase, or purchase a pot of flowers from the garden nursery, this challenge is going to help you see some interesting things about flowers.
I will post ideas for nature study for the remainder of August but they will not be formal challenges. The next formal challenge will come on September 7, 2012. Remember to download and read your August newsletter so you will know the latest Outdoor Hour Challenge news, including how the changes in how the newsletter and Friday posts will work together.
More Nature Study Book #4 Summer Flower Study: White Daisies, Black-eyed Susans, and Asters
Inside Preparation Work:
Read in the Handbook of Nature Study pages 522-524 (Lessons 139 and 140). As directed, see Lesson 131 (Composite Flowers) for suggestions for observations. Read in the Handbook of Nature Study pages 506-508 (Lesson 133).
Introduce the idea of patterns in nature to younger children. For this challenge you will be counting petals. Ebook users: Take a look at the Count the Petals page and see if you can find the Fibonacci numbers. Be on the alert for flowers with petals to count in your garden.
Outdoor Hour Time:
This is garden flower week! Spend time in a flower garden…hopefully one in your own backyard. Observe any flowers you have available but especially the daisy-like flowers or composites. Make careful observations of the disc and ray flowers. Sunflowers are a perfect example for beginners to learn about composite flowers if you would like an alternative.
Count petals of flowers. Look for the Fibonacci numbers.
Bring in a bouquet of flowers to observe in your follow-up activity. (You can purchase a bouquet if needed.)
Sketch some flowers in your nature journal. Make sure to note the number of petals and if you see the spiral pattern.
Advanced study: Complete a nature journal entry for your flower using a field guide.
Optional advanced study: Research and record a biography of Leonardo Fibonacci.
All the summer challenges for 2012 are included in the new More Nature Study Book #4 Summer Sizzle ebook. The challenges in the ebook are the same challenges that will post every Friday here on my blog. If you want to follow along with notebook pages and coloring pages, click over and learn more about the ebook.
My garden is full of promise…the promise of beautiful things to look at and delicious things to eat.
The daisies are filling in a big spot in the back cutting garden and we are anxious to study them as part of the Outdoor Hour Challenge later in the summer. There are coneflowers, sunflowers, and zinnias as well that have buds so stay tuned for some updates on those in a few weeks.
Some things are already smelling like heaven…the star jasmine is in full bloom and already needed a trimming back from the sidewalk. The cats lay under these plants since they make wonderful shade in the afternoon sun. Wouldn’t that be delightful?
Last week when I was working with the window open I could smell this rose on the gentle afternoon breeze. It is a Disneyland Rose and it has been a faithful bloomer these past few years. It is loaded with pink/peach flowers. This rose is what I imagine the perfect rose fragrance would be…a signature scent.
The hydrangeas are bursting open this week and the delicate color of the flowers on this particular bush is one of my favorites.
A few years ago, I used my watercolor pencils to capture the pastel colors of this lovely flower and then used a fine tip marker to outline it a bit. Keeping track of my favorite garden flowers in my journal is a wonderful way to pass an afternoon.
This is something new in the backyard this year and it is really taking off. We added this Jerusalem Sage to a spot that gets super hot and dry in the afternoons up against the house. So far it is thriving…I did put it on the drip system until it is established and then I think I can back off with the water. The texture of the leaves is soft and fuzzy which adds a nice layer of interest to this side of the garden.
The front yard has been joined by the blooming purple butterfly bush! The hummingbirds have been seen enjoying this particular bush…actually fighting over it in the early evening hours. My cat friend Cocoa is like my garden shadow these days. She seems to pop up wherever I go. You can see my sage growing in two spots in the background of this photo. It is just starting to bloom.
Another favorite of the hummingbirds is the Red Hot Poker plant. This is Mr. A’s favorite plant in the garden and he has been eagerly waiting for it to bloom. It looks good this year and I may end up dividing up the plant in the late fall to fill in a few spaces in the front garden.
We have started to see quite a bit of growth in our backyard fruit. The apples are looking like apples! Not too many apples on the limbs but enough for each of us to enjoy a crisp apple come the end of the summer.
Someone asked in a comment a few weeks ago whether we had any lawn left in our yard. The answer is yes and you can see it in this photo. We have a small plot of grass left in the backyard, mostly for the dog to enjoy. We use it as her ball throwing spot and she loves to lay in the shady grass on the hot afternoons. Since it gets so hot here and there is very little rain during the summer months, we do have to water this part of the yard. I have it set on a timer and it waters five minutes a day and so far that is enough to keep it green. (I need to write a post showing how we have cut our water usage to a fraction of what it was two years ago and still enjoy a lush green garden.)
Of course the figs are loaded as usual….this is not my favorite fruit but we eat a bit and then leave the rest for the birds and other critters. We have tried several times to eliminate this tree but every time we cut it down it comes back full and loaded with fruit within a year.
I do LOVE blackberries and we have our little patch just loaded with blossoms right now. This is exciting and it really seems like summer now that the berries are maturing. My blueberries are still all plant and no signs of blossoms or berries. I hope to get a bit of fruit from them this year. We shall see.
We have rain today so the garden is getting well watered but tomorrow we are going to see the end of the rain and be back to our warm temperatures. I am grateful for the rain but I am ready for the summer heat.
The June (Ocean Beach) edition of the Outdoor Hour Challenge Newsletter has published. You must be subscribed to the blog in order to receive the download link. It is a beautiful and informative edition that I know you are going to want to have in your collection. You can subscribe on the sidebar of my blog.
Jami’s Tuesday Garden Party meme is open from Tuesday to Thursday so there is still time for you to jump in and participate!
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