Late Summer Wildflowers 2019

I have to confess that in my younger years, I’ve overlooked the beauty of wildflowers. I could drive by wildflowers in a field or a meadow or even just alongside the road and not have an appreciation for their unique shapes, colors, and usefulness in the habitat. It wasn’t until I slowed down and got to know each flower as an individual creation that my appreciation grew to what I feel today. The thrill of identifying a new plant keeps me going out to look for more each time I’m out on the trail, visiting a new place, or even just in my own yard.

Take for instance this newly identified plant.

strawberry blite wildflower

This beauty is growing right in my own front yard, very near to my birdfeeder. I spotted it when I was filling the feeder and the bright red fruit caught my eye. The questions started coming. What is it? Where did it come from? Is it a native plant? I pulled out my phone and opened my Oregon Wildflowers app. It took just a few clicks to find out the answers to my questions. It’s called Strawberry blite or Goosefoot Strawberry and it’s a native plant. Since I found this one plant, I have since scouted out a few more in my yard. I had to show my husband so he won’t weed them out when he’s in a cleaning up sort of mood.

larkspur todd lake august 2019

On a recent hike along one section of trail, we found a whole patch of larkspur! Purple is my favorite color and when I saw all of those gorgeous purple larkspur I was super excited. In the past, I’ve seen a few scattered plants of larkspur but this whole area dotted with them just made my heart happy. It’s a moment I will not forget! (Outdoor Hour Challenge for Larkspur)

devils lake august 2019

Devil’s Lake

Sidenote: My husband is so patient with me and will indulge me the few minutes I need to capture a wildflower with my iPhone camera. He says he loves seeing me get excited about things so it’s a pleasure for him as well.fireweed devils lake august 2019

Another hike where we enjoyed the late summer wildflowers yielded a grand view of some fireweed. It was across the lake and not where we could get a good photo. There was however a few individual fireweed plants on our side along the trail that attracted my attention because they were so tall. I’ve written an Outdoor Hour Challenge for fireweed (Wildflower Set #3) where the research said they can be 7 feet tall but until this hike I had never encountered any that even came close to that. I would say these fireweed plants were about 5 feet tall.

wildflower collage august 2019

As the summer season comes to a close here in Central Oregon, I’m still keeping track of the wildflowers we see and identify. There are so many that have become familiar sights that I could easily overlook. I have to remind myself to slow down and look appreciatively to remind myself of their many amazing attributes, to see how the insects interact with them, and to be grateful for the variety so close to home.

In my life, noticing the wildflowers that are around me has brought me such happiness. They are a source of awe and I love learning how they host insects and feed birds and provide food for much of the wildlife around me. There is a tapestry of color in the goldenrod, yarrow, monkeyflower, paintbrush, rabbitbrush, and pussy paws. There is a diversity of shapes, sizes, and mechanisms for seed dispersal….nothing common or ordinary about any of them once you learn their stories.

Soon the flowers will all have faded and the seeds will be sleeping until the conditions are right to begin the growing cycle all over again, bringing a thrill to my outdoor life and a smile to my face.


Have you taken a late summer wildflower hike?


Outdoor Hour Challenge Garden Wildflower and Weeds Index @handbookofnaturestudy

There are many wildflowers in the Outdoor Hour Challenge archives for you to use in nature study. You can find them under the Garden/Wildflowers tab at the top of my website.






Nature Observer – August 2019

This was a catch-up month in my nature journal. I had been making notes and tagging pages with topics for far too long, seriously behind in creating the pages I had rattling around in my brain. It takes discipline to keep up with a regular routine of journaling and I had fallen into a procrastination mode all throughout July and now into August.

It was time to practice what I preach.

I carved out a few early mornings to get started and then I finished up quite a few pages on a rainy afternoon this week. Sweet success! Once I got started, I remembered how much I enjoy the process of journaling and actually lost track of time. I plan on keeping the ball rolling and not get behind again.

Here are some of the pages I created this month.

First Day of Summer Nature Journal

I know that the first day of summer was months ago, but I had made rather thorough notes in my daily journal about the day and our summer plans. This made it easy to create a more formal page for my nature journal.

July 2019 wildflowers nature journal

It was fun to make a few sketches of the wildflowers I observed this month in my yard and behind my house. I think it’s quite an impressive list of flowers!

July 2019 birds nature journal

My page not only lists the birds we observed in our yard during July but also which ones had baby birds too. It was a fantastic month of birds and spotting a new bird was the icing on the cake. The olive sided flycatcher is an interesting little bird that took a little bit of investigating to identify.

kingfisher nature journal

We observed and heard two kingfishers while on a hike during my daughter’s visit. It was a memorable evening and now the memory is in my nature journal.

Squirrel nature journal page

We have two species of small squirrels in our area that I see very often when I’m out and about town and on the trail. I created a page to document the differences between the two squirrels. My sketches are not the best but sometimes I just have to give it a try and be satisfied with what I can do. (If you struggle with feeling like you can’t draw, you may wish to read my entry: Drawing and Your Nature Journal.)

summer willow nature journal

I completed the final seasonal page for our willow tree in my journal. This yearlong willow study has been a fun project to do with my husband. He’s seen the benefits of carefully observing the same tree in all four seasons. We’re thinking we may do the same yearlong tree study with an aspen on our property. Stay tuned here (and on Instagram) to see when we get started with that sometime in the fall.

Hope you get to create a page or two with your children this month!




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Outdoor Hour Challenge-Summer Pearly Everlasting Study

I can remember the first time I saw the pearly everlasting flower alongside our walking trail back when I lived in California. I didn’t know its name but it didn’t take much digging to find it in the field guide. I have never forgotten the unique name and the pretty flower.

Make sure to prepare ahead of time by reading the lesson in the Handbook of Nature Study and looking at color photos using the links in the original challenge.

“They look as if they were made of white Japanese paper, and when looked at through a lens, they resemble the petals of a water lily. They are dry to begin with, so they cannot wither.”

Handbook of Nature Study, Lesson 145.

Pearly Everlasting

Link to the challenges in the archives:

Outdoor Hour Challenge – Summer Pearly Everlasting Flower Study

Handbook of Nature Study June 2013 Newsletter Cover

You can find more wildflower and weed study ideas in the June 2013 Newsletter found in the archives.  There are aster flower family ideas that may prove helpful as part of this nature study lesson.

Outdoor Hour Challenge Summer Nature Study Continues ebook

The Outdoor Hour Challenge for the pearly everlasting flower is included in the Summer Nature Study Continues ebook. You can download it from your Ultimate or Journey level membership library and use the custom notebook pages that go along with this study for your nature journal.

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