Handbook of Nature – Spring Study – Dandelions

Sage Parnassus – Boys Run to Seed posted a thoughtful article about Boys Running To Seed. It wasn’t what I was expecting from the title – but it WAS what I needed reminding of this time of year.  Instead of re-hashing and blotching her great words – I ask that you take a moment to head over and be encouraged – and maybe inspired to change and refocus.

We are headed into our favorite time of year – Spring and Early Summer – there is so much to explore as the earth springs forth  – Botany – Animals – Marine life – Lakes and Beaches performing a synchronized change into glorious splendor.

One topic of splendor for us has been the common dandelion.  Growing up in a manicured lawn family – these were close akin to slugs and wandering cats enjoying the soft loam of my mother’s flowerbeds.

One plant that we marveled over in Central Oregon is the gigantic sunflower. Towering over six feet in height, growing in rows like corn, growing like weeds in empty lots, with little to no water it would seem – these marvels of redistribution of seed never ceased to amaze our family.  We gathered some seed from the DD Ranch one fall and grew the MOST amazing sunflower EvAr . (Click here for their Spring Tour – I give HANDS DOWN worth it the drive if you live remotely close) The excitement of the Sunflower is in the seed – that the one flower can produce countless seeds for more plants – instead of one flower producing one offspring – it is one flower many offspring. A Composite Flower – made of many flowers actually, with many fruit, and many seed all in one stem. Seldom a person, nose to nose with a beautifully grown sunflower, will pass up the opportunity to marvel or take a quick snapshot.

Dandelion Picture Nature StudySo – Fast forward to this spring – and our encouragement to study – The Dreaded, Awful, Most Unwelcome flower of them all – The Dandelion. Last month I sent the boys out into our beautiful spring yard to bring back their favorite growing flower  – and after 5 years living in the desert – they brought back – Dandelions. Oh Good Gravy. I had to bear down, take deep breaths, and remember my Charlotte Mason and Anna Comstock training.  I redirected my plan, tried to un-grit my teeth. Resisted the urge to tell them how awful it was that they picked the flower and didn’t spend the moment to pull out the whole WEED. 

But then we looked them up – in quite a few books – Learned that they are the closest kin to our beautiful Sunflower. That they are a composite flower, and although we’ve never spent a moment to think about it – that’s how we get the beautiful “wish blowers”.  It was such a wonderful story that we blogged about it – Spring Flower Sketch – Dandelion

We mowed the yard yesterday before the rains came and my 9 yr old son came running out upset – he had not measured his flowers yet, he was waiting another day for them to grow. Relief washed over his face when I pointed to a few that I mowed around by the side of the yard.  He quickly picked a few and brought them in the house. When hubby and I were done outside he was found at the table drawing more of the seeds and measuring, completely taken by the flower for over an hour.

Dandelion Seed Nature Study 2010Weeds. My boys like weeds. Crazy.  Time after time, through this educational journey, I am stopped.  Forced to remember. That they are learning. Growing. Curious. My doubts of instruction, doubts as a teacher, slide away. My security blanket of forced fed knowledge – slides down a little, as I see their interests grow, bloom and develop.  I see the intricacies of their enjoyment and motivation.


If your eyes aren’t burning from all of my rambling – I urge you to head over to Sage’s site and be inspired! What does she mean by Boys going to Seed?



Is there anything so common in God’s Creation that you can learn nothing new from focused observation?  Join us in the Handbook of Nature Study – Spring Outdoor Hour Nature Studies!

About +Angie Wright

The Transparent Thoughts of an Unschooling Family of Boys - Answering the question - What DO you DO all day?
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7 Responses to Handbook of Nature – Spring Study – Dandelions

  1. Michelle says:

    I loved reading about your experience – you have a great way about sharing – a way that makes me want to read. =) (I am so visual, so this is saying a lot). We are in the process of doing our dandelion study – too much I want to do with this one! Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Nancy says:

    Thank you for the kind comments and link to my article. Your blog is lovely and your nature thoughts are inspiring, too! It’s nice to meet you.

    • pebblekeeper says:

      Thank you! I always wonder where the line is to sharing something inspiring I’ve read online – urging my family to read it where I’ve read it – and sharing so much that they don’t need to click over. Always glad to hear when the original poster likes it. 🙂 You are in my reader now, so I look forward to hearing about your journey. 🙂

  3. Amanda says:

    Fancy meeting you here! I enjoy keeping up with you over here, so thanks for blogging. You keep on inspiring me. It’s all good, no worries. 🙂

  4. Amen. My husband mowed down our precious dandelions on Monday in anticipation of the coming rain. I did manage to convince him that the area near my bedroom window was my “wild side” and I just would love him so much more if he would leave it as is. He obliged me in a loving act to his nature loving wife. 🙂

    I have come to grips with the idea that a weed is a plant that grows where you don’t want it…well, I want the dandelions and the henbit and the other flowers in the middle of my lawn.

    We will have to compromise.

    Thanks for the thoughtful entry and sharing your link.

    • Kim says:

      Angie, your blog is funny (yours, too, Barb).

      I, too, love the weeds in the flower beds. I leave patches of celandine, fleabane, Queen Anne’s lace and, yes, dandelions. My husband usually trims around them obligingly.

      Your stories reminded me of a gardening mishap we had last week. Last fall, I had sown mixed wildflower seeds in a raggedy stretch of land along a fence where we had cut down a hedgerow. My thinking was that it was easier than trying to dig out the stumps. As wildflowers emerge, I like to relocate them to other parts of the garden, kind of like a mini-nursery.

      Well, my husband just LOVES gardening with “more power,” like Tim Taylor on “Home Improvement.” He got going the other day with the string trimmer, and was very proud of how nice the yard looked. And it DID look nice.

      So I was inspired, and got out my wheelbarrow and all my gardening tools, and headed back to the wildflower “nursery” to see what new thingies emerged, only to find it strangely level and very carefully sculpted. Oops. My husband (who is learning to be a plantsman), said, “I cut down your flowers, didn’t I?” My bad — they DID blend in. He felt terrible.

      So now I put blank garden tags next to unidentified treasures. And he asks, “What’s this?” before he trims!

      I thank you both for your wonderful postings! God bless —


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