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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Summer Evening Primrose Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge Evening Primrose @handbookofnaturestudy

Outdoor Hour Challenge:

Evening Primrose

This week’s challenge is to find some Evening Primrose to observe. When you click over to read this challenge, I invite you to view the images as well. Those images were taken on a hike along a familiar beach that was filled with Evening Primrose!

Summer Evening Primrose Nature Study

But, if you can’t find an this particular flower to study, make sure to pick another wildflower or night blooming flower that you have to observe and enjoy up close. This challenge includes quite a few suggestions that would apply to any flower you have on hand.

Special Activity: Pressing Flowers
Collect a few flowers during your outdoor time to press for your nature journal or other crafts. Here is the link to YouTube: Flower Press.

Or you can watch it here on the blog.

You can also view this page for more ideas: Using a Flower Press.

Getting Started Suggestion:

If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #2. You can help your children find words to describe their outdoor time hunting for flowers. Use the prompts in the challenge to create a simple nature journal entry that they can illustrate with markers or colored pencils.

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Wildflower Nature Study – Getting Out and Enjoying the Weather

My lovely hedge bindweed is really spreading out in the area I am allowing it to grow. I know in my heart that it is a weed but when a plant grows all on its own, with no need for lots of water, and has a pretty flower, I am willing to let it have its way. There is a whole lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study (Lesson 139) on hedge bindweed and it is also included in last year’s Vine Nature Study.

These are usually an early spring wildflower but I found a shady spot on our walking trail that had some blooming just this past week. We call them Fairy Lanterns but they are also known as White Globe Lilies. We see this one each year but I don’t think I have it in my nature journal…making a note to add it this week.

Now to the yellow multi-petal flower. I have such a hard time with identifying these sorts of flowers even using a local field guide. I will just enjoy it while it lasts along the trail.

It is the time of year that the Fireweed is blooming in our area…so pretty in its pinkish purple color.

There are two plants that run wild in our area and they are so common that you almost forget to stop and take a look. This is the Purple Vetch that grows like crazy along the roadsides and empty spaces. The second plant is the Sierra Nevada Pea….in shades of pink and purple.

We are enjoying our wildfower and weed grid study and will continue with it all month.

Have you found any wildflowers yet?

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How to Make a Plant Press

If you didn’t catch my video on how to make a simple flower press last year, I wanted to post it again.

We have been using our press just about every day this week and it is an easy way to press your flowers that you are learning about for your Wednesday Flower Study lessons. It only takes a few days in the press and then the flowers are ready for your nature journal. Let you kids watch the video and have them make it for themselves…it really is that easy.

Here is the link to YouTube: Flower Press

Or you can watch it here on the blog.

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Our Green Hour Challenge #14 Bursting with Color: Composite Flowers

This week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge for us was very enjoyable. Our flower garden is just bursting with color and with garden flowers as our focus we decided to read and observe a special kind of flower, the composite.

“Many plants have their flowers set close together and thus make a mass of color, like the geraniums or the clovers. But there are other plants where there are different kinds of flowers in one head, those at the center doing a certain kind of work for the production of seed, and those around the edges doing another kind of work.”

“Can you see that what you call the flower consists of many flowers set together like a beautiful mosaic? Those at the center are called disc flowers; those around the edges ray flowers.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 503

We had a great time studying these flowers and now we are going to be looking closer when we see a new flower to see if we can tell if it is a composite or not.

Here are some of our flowers that we observed.

Close up of a pink gilardia…can you see the anthers?

Yellow gilardias

Tickseed or corepesis

Pin cushion flowers where you can really see the flower parts

Pink cosmos, first one of the season

Close up of the different kinds of flowers making up the composite. Can you see the disc flowers and the ray flowers?

My son’s nature journal entry.

We then put the flowers in our press. I am planning on making a flower calendar to make a record of flowers blooming in our yard for each month of the year. This will be a beautiful way to document our flower study throughout the year by pressing some flowers blooming in each month, pressing them, and then affixing them to card stock with the month neatly labeled on each page. I will share our first month’s page when these are ready to be added.

Another great week in our garden. My son and I both learned something new and enjoyed our time outdoors with a focus and purpose.

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Nature Study this Week: Field Guide: Outdoor Hour Challenge #7

Now to Outdoor Hour Challenge #7.
What did our family do for nature study this week? Remember that my boys are 12 and 14 years old so they do most of the follow up activities on their own. I remind them to make a journal entry or to complete a new field guide card but for the most part….they have taken on responsibility for their own nature study. If your children are younger or less experienced with nature study, they are going to need more help and probably only one follow up activity.

Our focus is garden flowers and my son found a flower to press for his nature journal. You may be interested in reading this entry: How To Make A Flower Press.

Annual Honesty: Lunaria annua-we call it money plant

We are busy trying to remember the official names of each part of a flower. We are going to draw and label a diagram each day this week so it will be set into our memory. (page 456 in the Handbook of Nature Study)

We saw a turkey vulture in our backyard yesterday so we really need to add a card to our bird field guide. If you have never seen a turkey vulture close up, you have no idea how BIG they are. The bird we saw yesterday swooped down through our backyard and we had a great view from our window.

The boys also spent quite a bit of time observing our cat hunting a mouse. They came in and told me all about it with great stories of how the cat would “play” with the mouse. The mouse ended up getting away….horrors. It made a great nature journal drawing though. 🙂

Here is a copy of the blank information form we use.

PDF of bird field guide blank
house mouse journal

As you can see, we are not very structured in our nature study. I love the way it folds into our everyday life. Once a month we take our nature day and really focus on some aspect of study but mostly it is bit by bit, everyday awareness.

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Collections: Pressing Flowers: Outdoor Hour Challenge #6

We have had a busy week and although we have been outside everyday, we haven’t really cracked the Handbook of Nature Study at all. Some weeks our nature study is like that but then we will make up for it other weeks.

The boys have been busy weeding the garden and my youngest even planted a few spinach seedlings hoping that they will make it through until the weather really warms up.

We have been busy birdwatching because our feeders are still full of birds. I think some of the birds are nesting and we will be putting out some things for them to nest with.

Our focus area is garden flowers so we took a trip to the Home Depot to see what we could add to the garden. Guess what they picked? Marigolds. Lots of marigolds.
We also picked up a few packets of seeds: Sunflower (Mammoth), Peas, and Green Beans (Kentucky Wonders). We are going to wait a bit before we put the seeds into the garden because we are still having a little frost each morning.
seed packets
My son decided that for his collection he would like to press garden flowers.
pressing flowers 1
We started with pansies and violets.
pressed flowers 1
They are now slipped into a sheet protector and they will go into his binder. We are still working on a way of adhering them to the paper without damaging them. I will keep you posted. (in a future challenge we will be learning how to press flowers)

So that was our week, not as exciting as some but still VERY enjoyable.