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Summer of Queen Anne’s Lace: Our Extended Outdoor Hour Challenge

Walking Trail with Queen Anne's Lace July 2010

This could very easily be called the Summer of Queen Anne’s Lace. Our local area has been blanketed with this wildflower, lining the roads and filling the fields. It is now starting to fade as the weather is very dry and hot….still a few green patches here and there but the stems are shorter and the flower bunches not as large.

Field of Queen Anne's Lace

Here is a patch we see regularly…this photo was taken back in July.

Queen Anne's Lace 8 10 With Kona
This is a patch we have just across the street from our house…photo taken last weekend. We were actually on a cricket hunt at sunset but the Queen Anne’s Lace captured our attention. It is still surprisingly green while all the surrounding weeds are brown and crispy. Kona wanted to be in the photo, stickers on her nose from the surrounding weeds.

Queen Anne's Lace 8 10 birds nest
Here is what the Handbook of Nature Study calls the “fruiting cluster” or “bird’s nest”. Look at all those seeds!

Queen Anne's Lace 8 10

Here is a side shot of the Queen Anne’s Lace and you can see the red dot in the middle very clearly in a few of the flowers.

Queen Anne's Lace close up

Here is a close-up showing the red blossoms in the center of this flower. If you look in the background of this photo you can see the star thistles….ugh. Those plants are crazy wicked. We pull them up by the roots if they happen to grow in our yard.

Queen Anne's Lace 8 10 seeds

I thought this was such a pretty shape and the seeds almost look pink. This may work its way into my nature journal when I have a few minutes.

The boys have been experts at picking out Queen Anne’s Lace. At first they were mixing it up with Cow Parsnip.
Cow Parsnip 1
This is what the Cow Parsnip looks like from the side. See how thick the stem is?

Cow Parsnip 2
Here is the flower cluster. The balls of flowers are different once you recognize it and the leaves are totally different. The size of the plant is much larger than the Queen Anne’s Lace. I have never seen them growing together either so that makes it another identifying feature as well.

So in our attempt to identify and learn about Queen Anne’s Lace, we have learned a lot about the Cow Parsnip as well (also yarrow but that is another post).

I think for our family having a nature study focus has given our adventures a spirit of purpose. We always enjoy getting outside to enjoy our environment. Having a few possible topics in mind as we travel has helped us glean even more from our time outside. It is sort of like seeing an old friend when we come across the particular focus like Queen Anne’s Lace or grasshoppers or bats.

As we wind up our summer studies, I feel the pull of a new set of autumn adventures. I don’t usually like autumn but this year I am ready for it with its cooler days and nights, the fall of the leaves, and the changes. I think nature study has changed me inside and I know it has changed my children.


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OHC Summer Series #11: Queen Anne’s Lace-Year-Long Study

Queen Annes Lace button

Summer Series #11
Year-Long Study: Queen Anne’s Lace

“If we look straight into the large flower-cluster, we can see that each component cluster, or umbellet, seems to have its own share in making the larger pattern; the outside blossoms of the outside clusters have the outside petals larger, thus forming a beautiful border.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 543.

Train Your Senses

  • Sight: How are the blossoms arranged? What is its shape? Are there insects on the flower?
  • Smell: Does the flower have a scent? How about the leaves?
  • Touch: Is the stem smooth or rough? How does the flower umbel feel?

Inside Preparation Work:
Read in the Handbook of Nature Study pages 542 to 545 (Lesson 148). Pay special attention to the suggestions in Lesson 148, perhaps choosing a few of the observations to complete when observing your Queen Anne’s Lace. Keep track of the location of your Queen Anne’s Lace so you can revisit it during the seasons to come, observing the changes in this plant over a year’s time.

Outdoor Hour Time:
Spend 15 minutes outdoors this week in your own backyard or a near-by park. The subject of this challenge is Queen Anne’s Lace but keep your eye out for any wildflowers you may observe during your outdoor time. Keep in mind your suggested observation ideas as you enjoy your time outside together. Remember to use your senses to observe your wildflowers.

Follow-Up Activities:
Discuss what you observed during your outdoor time. Try to help your children remember what they discovered using all their senses. This can be just a few words or a complete account of their thoughts. Use the notebook page included with the Summer Series ebook to record a sketch and your observations or use a blank notebook of your own. As part of a year-long study of Queen Anne’s Lace, make sure to file your notebook page away for future reference.

Here is also a notebook page that Jimmie made that you may like to use: Queen Anne’s Lace Notebook page. Here is a link to an entry on my blog that I made in the past about Queen Anne’s Lace: Queen Anne’s Lace.

Suggested Nature Journal Activities:

  • Wildflowers are wonderful subjects for a watercolor drawing. Try using watercolor colored pencils to sketch some Queen Anne’s Lace or any wildflower into your nature journal.
  • Using the notebook page in the Summer Series ebook record any observations your child has from their outdoor time.
  • Take a photograph of your wildflower and include it in your nature journal.
  • You can also use any notebook pages from the sidebar of my blog.

If you would like all the Summer Series Challenges in one place, I have an ebook gathered for you to purchase for your convenience. Here is a link to a complete description:
Summer Series of Outdoor Hour Challenges
Summer 2010 Nature Study Final

Ultimate Ebook Library @handbookofnaturestudy

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Sunrise Walk and a Few Wildflowers

It has been extremely hot here the last few days and we have been missing our afternoon walks. My husband and I woke up early this morning, deciding to rise and take our dog for a long walk in the cool morning air.

What a delight!

We found some wildflowers to enjoy and I wanted to share them with you.

Queen Annes Lace
Queen Anne’s Lace (Are you looking for your Queen Anne’s lace to observe for the Summer Challenges?)

The chicory is just now starting to bloom around the edges of the trail. It is such a pretty color and contrasts greatly with the grasses baked brown in the heat.

Summertime means getting creative with your outdoor time…we try to be out in the early morning and in the evening around sundown. With the Summer Series of Outdoor Hour Challenges, we all are learning to use our senses more acutely.

I look forward to sharing more of our early morning observations in the weeks to come.

Barb-Harmony Art Mom

Just a sidenote: I am working through a stack of nature related books this summer. One that I have read before but always enjoy reading again is this one:

I purchased mine used quite some time ago and it looks like there are a number of decent copies for less than a dollar.

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In Between Rain Storms

Wildflower Bouquet

We braved a few raindrops and took to the walking trail this afternoon. The weather held out so we could enjoy the abundance of wildflowers.

Scotch Broom
Although this is an invasive plant in our area, it is just amazing right now. This Scotch broom or Common broom is bursting with color.

Scotch Broom Close-Up
Just look at that color in this close-up. Does it look like a “noxious weed” to you? I know that it disturbs the ecosystem but it very pretty to look at…sigh.

Queen Anne's Lace 5 26 10
And here is the first of the season….usually a long season in our area. Our Queen Anne’s Lace is in its usual spot right on the side of a particular spot on the trail.

From Wildflower Set

As I type this there is a downpour of rain right outside my window. I am really glad we were able to take a walk in between rain storms.

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Wednesday Flower Study #10: Queen Anne’s Lace


6 09 queen annes lace (1)
Daucus carota

I have been on the look out for the first of the Queen Anne’s lace of the season and yesterday I saw it alongside our walking trail.

My local field guide says this:
“Wild carrot, or Queen Anne’s lace, is a biennial and its large root distinguishes it from the more common rattlesnake weed. Also, Queen Anne’s lace is a common name used for many species of plants with delicate white flowers.”

Here is a section of the Handbook of Nature Study, page 542:
“…this medallion flower attributed to Queen Anne is well worth studying. It belongs to the family Umbelliferae, which one of my small pupils always called ‘umbrelliferae’because, he averred, they have umbrella blossoms. In the case of Queen Anne’s lace the flower-cluster, or umbel, is made up of many smaller umbels, each a most perfect flower-cluster in itself.”

6 09 queen annes lace (4)
“The wild carrot is known in some localities as the ‘bird’s-nest weed, ‘ because the maturing fruit-clusters, their edges curving inward look like little birds’ nests.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 544

I know that spring is well along now that the Queen Anne’s Lace is in bloom. It will be here all summer to enjoy.

Here are a few of the websites I have used in my study of wildflowers this term: -specific to California and free to join.
Northwest Common Wildflowers -National Park service coloring book
California Wildflowers -California Academy of Sciences, index by color.

This completes our families focus work on flowers, both in our garden and with a few wildflowers. We are going to be choosing a new focus for the summer… probably butterflies! Get ready to see what we learn and how we get started.

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Spring Walk: Thistle, Ladybug, Daisy

Yesterday afternoon was a perfect time to take a walk on our local walking/biking trail. The weather has been rainy the last few days and we were ready to get out and enjoy some fresh air. The clouds kept drifting in and covering the sun but it was still warm and spring-like.

Three of the children decided to come and we had an enjoyable time walking and talking and just spending time together….as they get older that doesn’t happen as often as I would like. My middle son brought his scooter and he was zipping in and out as we just walked along.

The photos in this entry are an experiment in uploading for me so forgive me if the captions are not exactly with the photos. 🙂

This is some kind of flowering clover…I think. It sure looks like some kind of clover but this is really close-up.

Look at this guy….after all my observations yesterday of the ladybug larva, I was happy to see this shiny insect as we walked along.

Then there was this daisy and I am pretty sure this is a Mariposa Lily.

Okay, this was definitely some kind of thistle.

Don’t you love the view from this part of the trail?

“The thistle is covered with sharp spines, and these serve to protect it from grazing animals. It has beautiful purple flowers, arranged in heads similar to those of the sunflower.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 526

There is a whole section in the Handbook on thistles starting on page 524.

“Every child loves this flower (daisy), and yet it is not well understood. It is always at hand for study from June until the frosts have laid waste the fields. However much enjoyment we get from the study of this beautiful flower-head, we should study the plant as a weed also, for it is indeed a pest to those farmers who do not practice a rotation of crops.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 522

There is a section on white daisies in the Handbook starting on page 522.

“The clovers enrich with nitrogen the soil in which they are planted. They are very valuable as food for stock. Their flowers are pollinated by bees.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 594

There is a section on clover in the Handbook starting on page 591.

Sorry for all the vague descriptions but I didn’t have a lot of time this morning to get a firm identification on all of them. I will try to come back and update as I have the time to research.

This is a life project I decided.