Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden in Minneapolis, Minnesota opened last week (April 15th). It means that spring is really here. It may still be chilly but so much warmer that two months ago. It is time to put on your jacket, a good but old pair of shoes and head outside.
This picture may look like nothing is happening but if you look closely you will discover the beginning of new plants. Now is the time to watch all the spring wildflowers to begin to grown. It is fun to walk with a friend and play a guessing game with the plants as well.
- Can you name the plants as they just start to grow?
- Can you guess what colors the flowers might be?
- What plants will be the first ones up in your garden or nearby park?
It is a great time to draw the early flowers as well. These spring flowers are called ephemerals. It means they last for a very short time. If you don’t go out now they may be gone. It is a perfect time to take your science journal out with you on a walk so you can record what flowers are blooming and sketch a picture to go with it. Remember to put the date on your images so next year can you see if the flowers are blooming at the same time. (Beware the ground is pretty wet so old shoes and a waterproof pad to sit on might be a good idea.)
Use you close observation skills as you begin to draw – there is so much to look at with each plant. Many of the spring flowers look similar so your job is to watch for the differences. This is a skill you use in reading as well – compare and contrast. How are things the same and different? Scientist, as well as good readers are always making comparisons.
Thinks to look for:
- How many leaves are there on the plant?
- What shape are they?
- Do the leaves have smooth or jagged edges?
- What are the colors of the flowers?
- Are the stems different colors?
- How many petals do the flowers have?
- Look closely at the center of the flower – is it yellow, or white or a different color?
- Are the stems fuzzy or smooth?
- Record what the plant is growing – swamp, wood land, hill side, sunny, shade,etc
Here are a few of the plants that are up in the wild garden this week – If you can’t get out to a garden or park this week you can play the guessing game with the plant images below. (Next week I will post their names so you can check your answers.)
- Can you name all four plants? (What resources can you use to help you name these spring wildflowers if you are stuck?)
- Now draw them in your science journal and label them?
- Go on-line and see if you can find out more information about these spring ephemerals.