“Many of the most beautiful of the autumn flowers belong to the Compositae, a family of such complicated flower arrangement that it is very difficult for the child or the beginner in botany to comprehend it; and yet, when once understood, the composite scheme is very simple and beautiful, and is repeated over and over in flowers of very different appearance……The large garden sunflower is the teacher’s ally to illustrate to the children the story of the composites.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 574
Outdoor Hour Challenge #16
This week I am going to challenge you to start some sunflower seeds growing in your garden or in a pot. If you need some sunflower seeds to plant, take another outing to the garden nursery to let your child pick a packet of their own. The idea behind starting the seeds is to provide a “laboratory” for your child to observe and learn in all summer long. Even if you just plant the seeds in a pot and watch them grow on your front porch, this is a valuable activity. If you don’t have a sunny spot in your yard, ask a friend or relative if you could plant a few seeds somewhere in their yard. Be creative. Sunflowers take about 12 weeks to mature, depending on the variety you choose.
1. Read the Handbook of Nature Study pages 574-576-The Sunflower.
Find a sunny spot in your yard or on your porch to plant your sunflower seeds. These seeds will eventually sprout and grow and provide a late summer challenge all of its own. These sunflower plants can be subjects for your nature journal as well. After the seeds have matured, you will have something for the birds to enjoy. Follow the instructions on the seed packet and get your seeds growing this week. Make sure to keep your seeds moist as they germinate.
2. Take your 10-15 minute outdoor time to look for some garden flowers in your own area. If you already have some of your own garden flowers blooming, pick one to identify and see if it is listed in the Handbook of Nature Study.
3. Add any new garden flowers to your list in your nature journal.
4. Provide an opportunity for a nature journal entry. Practice your flower drawing skills that you worked on in challenge number 15. Record your flower seeds’ growth and/or record your sunflowers growth for the week. You may wish to sketch your sunflower seeds before you plant them, looking at them carefully with a magnifying glass.
5. Continue making field guide cards for your garden flowers.
This challenge is part of my Garden Flowers ebook. This ebook has ten garden related challenges that will walk you through a study of garden flowers using the Handbook of Nature Study. In addition to the challenges already written, there will be more photos, nature journal examples, book lists, and totally new notebook pages designed to go with each of the Garden Flower Challenges.