Sweet Peas and Blackberries

This morning I was out in the yard for morning rounds and I noticed how many blackberries we are going to have on the vines. There are so many blossoms and when you examine the plant closely, there are tiny little berries forming already. I am in a constant battle with the blackberry vines in both my front and back yards. If left to grow, they would soon take over all the corners. We have worked for years to manage these creeping vines and I have come to accept that we will have few here and there and I will just be at peace with their beauty and their fruit. I love picking a handful of sweet berries as I roam around the yard.

There is no information on blackberries in the Handbook of Nature Study so I will need to pull out another gardening book that I have to learn more about them.

Do you see the little green berries starting there? So delicate and beautiful….and it holds the promise of a sweet treat in a few months.

Along the base of our foundation we always have sweet peas plant themselves and grow up among the bushes that border our house. This year they are pink.
“The sweet pea has some of its leaflets changed to tendrils which hold it to the trellis. Its flower is like that of the clover, the upper petal forming the banner, the two side petals the wings, and the two united lower petals the keel which protects the stamens and pistil.”
Handbook of Nature Study, page 589

You can clearly see all the parts of the sweet pea as described in the Handbook of Nature Study. I think we will use this flower for our Green Hour Challenge this week and try to draw it in our nature journals.

Can you believe how pretty these are? Such a pretty shade of pink.

If you have sweet peas in your neighborhood, you can use pages 588-590 to learn more about the sweet pea so you can share a few interesting facts with your children. There are also wonderful observation suggestions that you can use in your nature study.

Vine Study Button

Ladybug: Check out the Handbook of Nature Study

I took this photo the other day in the garden and I posted it here on my blog. Someone identified it as a ladybug larva. (Thanks Margie!) I checked it out and they were right. The amazing part about it to me is that it is so big compared to the adult ladybug.


Ladybug larva

I looked it up in the Handbook of Nature Study and sure enough there is an illustration on page 364 that really shows the differences between the larva, the pupa, and the adult.

“…for they do not in the least resemble her; they are neither rolypoly nor shiny, bur are long and segmented and velvety, with six queer, short legs that look and act as if they were whittled out of wood; they seem only efficient for clinging around a stem….the absorbing business of the larva is to crawl around on plants and chew up the foolish aphids or the scale insects.”
Handbook of Nature Study page 365


Here is another photo I took the other day and I sort of thought it was a ladybug but it wasn’t quite the same as I had seen before.


Here is my favorite all-time photo of a ladybug that I took a few years ago. This still makes me smile every time that I look at it.

I highly recommend reading the section on ladybugs on pages 364-366. If you read it now, the next time you see a ladybug you will be ready to make some observations with your children. This is the great value I find in using the Handbook of Nature Study. After just a few minutes spent reading this section on ladbybugs, I feel like now I can relate some interesting little tidbits quite naturally to my boys when we next happen upon this insect in our garden.

Go look for some ladybugs!

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.