This is such a gorgeous colorful time of year in the garden. I thought I would do a little update on my Garden Planning nature journal page and share how my April 2016 recap page is coming along.
At least this is the plan as of today…I know when the actual planting time comes I will probably adjust a bit but this gives my husband an idea of what irrigation I will need for him to set in up in each box. The one box is labeled as the “herb box” which it used to be in the past but now it is just a regular box…it will probably always be known as the herb box.
I’ve left some blank space for recording experiences as we finish up the month. I find that keeping the page going during the month is the best way to assure that it will actually get done. I used some watercolor pencils, gel pens, and a ruler to create my page.
We received our seed order from Renee’s Garden and it inspired us to get out into the garden and start our spring clean up. The end of March and the beginning of April is the time we can get out and start weeding the boxes and dreaming of the summertime garden goodness that will be coming fast!
With all of our children living away from home, the garden chores all fall on my husband and I. I have a hard time bending over for very long so I decided to work a half hour every afternoon and with three days of doing that and one rather long afternoon with my husband, we finished the initial clean up.
Now we can make a list of things we still need to do to get the boxes ready including a good composting. The drip system needs a bit of revamping as well but we have a month or so before we will need to have the irrigation ready.
In the meantime, I will be planting several veggies in containers up on our deck where I can nurture them through the early spring. I will also be planting veggies in the garden boxes but I have enjoyed watching and eating the veggies on our back deck in the past few years and don’t want to miss that experience this year.
As part of the Garden Seeds Challenge, I started on a Garden Planning page in my nature journal. I sketched a few of the seeds we will be planting this year and included some of my garden growing thoughts too!
Now that spring is really here, let’s get our gardening started! Of course, that means picking seeds and for all nature loving families we can make that into a simple and meaningful nature study. Taking time to note the differences and unique shape, size, and color of flower and vegetable seeds will make an impression on your young naturalist. Even if you just pick one kind of seed and do a thorough job with your observations there will be long lasting benefits to this type of seed study.
You may also want to use this printable activity if you plan on visiting a garden nursery.
If you are a member here on the Handbook of Nature Study, you will find this archive challenge in the Garden Flower and Plant Ebook in your library. In the ebook you will find a custom notebook page designed for use with this particular challenge.
Here are a couple of weed/seed photos I took over the past few weeks. We were out on a snowy walk and I spotted this beautiful seed pod! In my mind’s eye I see the seeds all sleeping inside cozy, waiting for the right time to spring out and sprout in the springtime sunshine.
We also squeezed in a sunny hike after a big week of rain and the grasses were already starting to turn green but last season’s star thistles were still standing dry, stiff and full of seeds. The birds like these invasive plants because they provide seeds in their diet…at least there is that! I recently had a discussion with a young girl about the difference between a wildflower and a weed. It was interesting to hear how she appreciates the beauty in what many deem to be weeds, things like dandelions, mustard, and wild radish. She has studied herbs a bit and understands the value of many of our so-called weeds. (She is a girl after my own heart.)
Take advantage of your winter season to look for weeds and seeds. The landscape at this time of year has far less competing for your attention and weeds can be spotted even if you have snow or ice.
I am so looking forward to wildflower season this year! We have had a decent amount of rain and it should help make it a splendid show of color in a few weeks.
One of my favorite winter nature study activities is to take a hike and look for weeds left from the summer season. They are usually brown and stiff, sticking up out of the landscape even when there is a snow pack. Create a winter weed bouquet for your nature table and use the two challenges below to go a little deeper in your seed study. Create some anticipation for the spring and summer season by talking about how plants are just waiting for the right conditions to spring forth new life again.
Weeds and Seeds Study – This challenge has a free printable notebook page for you to use as part of your seed study.
After reading through each challenge linked above, choose one or two things to keep in mind during your Outdoor Hour Challenge time. Enjoy your fifteen minutes outdoors as you look for weeds and seeds. Make sure to show interest in any item your child finds to observe or bring home to your nature table.
On an absolutely beautiful autumn day, we hiked out to the river to enjoy the sunshine and fall colors. We were on the lookout for some fall seeds and we discovered a new flower!
I have no idea what this plant is but it was about four feet tall and was swaying in the breeze…waving us over to take a closer look. Aren’t these the prettiest little flowers?
Each branch ended with these delicate flowers and the stem of the plant was purplish red.
We also discovered a patch of evening primrose dispersed among the big boulders lining the river’s edge.
We also spied this massive mullein plant with its soft rosettes of leaves.
We were so distracted by the plants and flowers that we didn’t collect any seeds for our nature journal entry. I am thinking that it will take a change in the weather before I am inspired to collect seeds and sit down long enough to make a page for our fall seeds. Can you blame me?
Contents of this edition of the newsletter include:
3 seed related nature activities
November planning page printable
November Nature Journal Topper and Study Grid
Two printable notebook pages
December preschool nature table ideas, printables, and coloring page
Please note that Ultimate Naturalist and Journey level members have access to members only printables each month in addition to the newsletter printables. You will need to log into your account and then go to the “Other Releases” section.
There are new printables for you to use with your family if you are a member of the Ultimate Naturalist or Journey level memberships. You need to log into your account and then check the “Other Releases” section for brand new printables to enjoy along with the Outdoor Hour Challenges in November 2014.
Advanced Study: Read these online articles for more in-depth information about the Witch Hazel: Witch Hazel and Witch Hazel.
Outdoor Hour Time:
Use your outdoor time this week to look at fall trees, looking in particular for the yellow strap-like flowers and nuts of the Witch Hazel. It might be fun to also include a Fall Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt using this printable from Hearts and Trees.
Take along your nature journals to sketch the Witch Hazel flower into your nature journal.
Advanced students: Make sure to look for the Witch Hazel nuts and find the seeds if possible. If possible, collect a few of the nuts to take home to discover just how far the seeds will fly once the nut opens up.
Create a nature journal entry all about the Witch Hazel. Here are some things to include (or you can use the notebook page in the ebook:
Color and texture of the bark
Leaves, if any are present, noting the color.
Flower (see page 688 in the Handbook of Nature Study for a nice diagram of the flower)
Date of your observations and the location
Draw the Witch Hazel nut. Write how you think the seeds are thrown so far from the tree.
Advanced Study: Complete the notebooking page in the ebook using a field guide or the internet resources above.
Join us for this series of challenges every week here on the Handbook of Nature Study. If you want to purchase the Autumn 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 Autumn Nature Study Continues content list on the announcement page.
You can also submit any Outdoor Hour Challenge blog entry from October to the next edition of the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival by sending the link directly to me by 10/29/14. Harmonyfinearts@yahoo.com
When you spend a lot of time outdoors during the winter months, you are bound to notice the various shapes and sizes of winter weeds. Maybe it the lack of other nature study subjects or the more subdued color palette of the winter landscape, but weeds are hard to miss.
These particular images were taken at Yosemite National Park during our last visit in January. The stalks are still standing tall and the fruits are still visible on many of the plants. I am pretty sure this is Common Cowparsnip.
This set of images comes from our hike at Lake Tahoe last month. The winter weeds are clearly seen emerging from the snowy landscape.
This is a different plant and had far more seeds left attached to the stalks.
Rather pretty isn’t it? Focusing on winter weeds is one way to see the beauty even in the winter scene. I hope this encourages your own winter weed study…one that you can fit in while taking a short walk.
Have you looked for some winter weeds to study?
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