Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Nature Studies for the Littles - late spring walk around the yard

We have had some lovely warm weather and the plants finally decided they could come out to play. Then, we thought we would throw in a potential late frost or 2 at them. Poor plants - so confused.

But, we have still continued our walks (sometimes runs for the littles, lol) around the yard to see what has changed every week or so. The repeated walks are purposeful (on my part) so that they become very familiar with the “geography” of the yard without realizing it.

Yesterday was no different - except the little neighbor girl (G3's best and most favorite friend in the whole world) was over to play in our yard. She had a million different questions because she was not up to speed with our walks...and I thought G3 asked a lot of questions, heehee!  She found a bird feather and was super excited about that find.

One of our stops was at our strawberry bed.  Initially this spring, to the little ones, it did not look like it had changed much since fall (or over winter) because the leaves in the bed stayed green all winter. BUT. The last week or so, with the warmer air and spring rains, they have stood up, grown taller and most important, they have blossoms on them. LOTS of blossoms! It was fun to explain to them that when they are looking at those flowers, they are looking at the place of future strawberries and it is VERY important to leave those flowers alone. No, M3, don’t pick those unless you want M2 to cry (they are her plants). The middles look very much like tiny strawberries.  I look forward to being able to point out the differences in this plant over the coming weeks (the berries, the runners, etc.).
Did you know that irises are also called flags?? I found that out in our Handbook of Nature Study book. That certainly helps me think differently about On the Banks of Plum Creek where it talks about Laura playing amongst the flags. I knew they must have been flowers, but never searched out what kind. Hmmmm - rabbit trail!! Anyway, our irises came up very, very fast & bloomed early (for us) this year. Nothing terribly amazing about them - right? Except, we have been able to watch them poke their heads up out of the ground, then see the blossoms form. Now, the flowers are already done by the front door. I expect the ones in the picture will be gone within a week or so at the most.  But, for the older ones and I, it has been most interesting to see the volume of these flowers change over the last 3 years. We moved them from a back flower bed behind the garden where we rarely saw them to the front and near the doors (because I love irises). And then, their population exploded! The bed pictured had about 12 irises when we moved them. We have quite a few more there and in the bed by the door now, lol! 

The lilac bushes burst into bloom and the fragrance is one of my very favorites - perhaps only second to that of Lily of the Valley.  I had to go cat hunting one night (an escape who knows how to unlatch the patio screen door) and was just overwhelmed by the smell. Another day, I went out there in the rain to assess if we had a rhubarb or burdock plant (it was the later), the smell of the lilacs in the rain was simply marvelous. The massive clumps of flowers hanging off the trees are just beautiful and bring all kinds of loveliness into the house. They are just about done for the season as well (perhaps helped along by that late frost last week).

Right now, in that back flower bed, we have let the asparagus go now and it is a fun, ferny looking plant. Right now, the Phlox are in bloom and their smell is lovely as well. After the rain stops today, I will be bringing some in for vases in the house. While most people only get to enjoy them from the window of their car (they are quite prolific along the roadside), I am blessed that the original gardener of my home put them in her beds. They should be enjoyed up close to enjoy their smell.

The rose bushes are growing by leaps and bounds and are starting to think about blooming. June is coming for this one and that is when it likes to put on its floral show!  Other smaller bushes won’t bloom until later this summer and will put out independent blossoms when they get around to blooming. But beautiful just the same. I like showing the little ones how they start out so small and tiny and then open up in such a big showy way.

There is more, but this post is getting terribly long. I will include the rest of this walk with my post about the birdhouse....


  1. ah... i love irises too, all of those super seasonal ones that help mark the progress of the year. and STRAWBERRIES?! makes me feel all reminiscent and stuff. ;) and don't you LOVE flower inheritances from past owners?!

  2. How did I not know you had a blog, Melisa??

    I like this post, by the way. :)

  3. Amy - Oooo - and I have a great picture of a group of strawberries in various stages in one batch. There is a post coming about them! The littles are so excited about them. I love some of the former plants, but there is one evil bush with horrid long thorns that keeps coming back..grrr.

    Brandy, this blog is sort of an offshoot of my regular blog that I let lie dormant after M3 arrived - I simply did not have time to write much. I still have other posts I want to move over & I have 2 in mid-composition from after I wrote this one, lol!