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Outdoor Hour Challenge #41 Flowerless Plants Overview

Outdoor Hour Challenge #41
Flowerless plants-General Overview

1. This week you need to familiarize yourself with the section in the Handbook of Nature Study that discusses flowerless plants. Turn to the table of contents and in Part III, go to the list of flowerless plants and skim down the list of topics covered. The suggested readings for this challenge will be in the following categories:
Ferns-read the overview on page 693 and then turn to page 695 to see the parts of a fern labeled. Pages 704 and 705 show photos of several kinds of ferns.
Mushrooms and Other Fungi-read the overview starting on page 714 and continuing to page 719. Page 719 shows the parts of a mushroom with labels.

I found a video to watch to prepare you for your study of mushrooms. This video is very well done and will help your children understand how a mushroom grows.

Planet Earth: Mushroom Madness

You will need to click over to to view this video. Please note: Turn down the sound if the music is too much for you. As always, please preview the video on YouTube and I do not endorse any other video that may come up after this one. There are some questionable videos about mushrooms.

2. The ideal study of ferns, mushrooms, and fungi would be to experience them outdoors in their natural habitat. Use your 15 to 20 minutes of outdoor time this week to enjoy a search for a fern or some kind of mushroom. Your particular area may not have these subjects readily at hand but let your friends, family, and neighbors know that you are studying ferns and mushrooms and with more pairs of eyes looking you may be able to find something to study up close. Enjoy your time outdoors whether you can find this week’s subject or not. Remember to look at the sky and comment on the weather. Take time to notice your tree from your year long tree study. Collect a few items to take inside to sketch into your nature journal. Just because the topic of this challenge is flowerless plants, you do not have to limit yourself to that narrow focus during your 15 to 20 minutes of outdoor time.

3. Spend a few minutes once inside to discuss your experiences you had on your nature walk. Are there questions that need to be answered or items that need to be identified? Make a note of any topics that come up that you can research further in the Handbook of Nature Study or at your local library.

4. Make an opportunity for a nature journal entry. Start a list of flowerless plants in your nature journal. The diagrams on pages 695 and 719 could be sketched into the nature journal as well.

“Since mushrooms are especially good subjects for watercolor and pencil studies, it would add much to the interest of the work if each pupil, or the school as a whole, should make a portfolio of sketches of all the species found. With each drawing there should be made on a supplementary sheet a spore print of the species.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 718

Please note this entry includes affiliate links. Widgets

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What are Flowerless Plants?

“There is something uncanny about plants which have no green parts; indeed, many people find it difficult to think of them as plants. It is, therefore, no wonder that many superstitions cluster about toadstools. In times of old, not only was it believed that toads sat on them, but that fairies danced upon them and used them for umbrellas……But science, in these days, brings revelations concerning these mysterious plants which are far more wonderful than the web which superstition wove about them in days of yore.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 714

As a prelude to tomorrow’s challenge, I wanted to help explain what it is exactly that we will be focusing on during the next few weeks of the Outdoor Hour Challenge. I have a feeling that some of you are not too excited about the focus on non-flowering plants but I think if you understand a little better what you are going to be looking for, your enthusiasm will grow.

Here is some information I have found in researching this topic and it was surprising to me that there are so many things to be on the alert for as far as topics that are covered in the Handbook of Nature Study. Hopefully this list will give your eyes something to search for over the next few weeks during your Outdoor Hour time. There is more to the focus of flowerless plants than just looking for mushrooms.

First of all you have the obvious subject and that is mushrooms or different fungi. Mushrooms are technically a fungi but we can call them mushrooms if that is easier. Puffballs are also in this family.

Fungi are really non-flowering plants that have no green.

Next you can look for ferns. I think everyone knows what a fern looks like but the variety of ferns available in your area will vary. You should look for ferns in shady places. Many of the ferns in our area are turning brown but you will recognize their unique shape when you see them.

Mosses and lichen are another category of flowerless plants. Once you start looking for moss…you will see it growing in many places and it is something that children love to observe and touch. Look on tree trunks or logs, cracks in the sidewalk, along a moist section of concrete, or under ledges.

Molds are also flowerless plants. How about observing the mold on a slice of bread? I found this flowerless plant over a section of ground that has a rotting tree trunk and roots. No very pretty until you get up close and then it is fascinating.

Flowerless plants may be new to your family. Take the challenges one at a time and do the reading in the Handbook of Nature Study and keep your eyes open. You will be pleasantly surprised at how much you learn and your children will become aware of a whole new fascinating world.

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A Walk in My Garden This Week

My beautiful new Disneyland Rose that is blooming like crazy….so pretty.

The dianthus is starting to bloom in the butterfly garden. Heavenly fragrance. (also known as pinks or sweet williams or carnations)

Not technically in my garden but way too cute to leave out. My window cat…can you see the hummingbird feeder outside the window? She is going nuts with the hummers feeding today. And yes, that is a tent outside the window. My boys like to sleep outside as much as possible when the weather is warm enough. Why not?

This is an unidentified insect in Amanda’s garden on her hollyhocks which are already really, really tall. Edit: Someone identified this as a ladybug larva.

I love the color and shape of this leaf. I think this is bee balm but we will have to wait until it blooms since I can’t remember what it is for sure. I planted it two years ago and it hasn’t bloomed yet. Of course it has decided to grow right in among my green beans but we will just let them coexist for now.

I spotted these cute little mushrooms in the flower garden. I need to draw these in my nature journal. 🙂

These sunflowers came up all on their own in my garden box and they are the tallest ones we have so far.

That is just a glimpse into what is going on here in our backyard garden. I love this time of year when we are busy planting and witnessing the awakening of the seeds. It is a miracle each time one sprouts and I try to say a little prayer as I water and weed to thank the Creator of all things for the variety of colors and fragrances He has given us to enjoy here on the earth.