Sunday, May 29, 2011

Queen Anne's Lace and Other Pretty Things

It seems like we went from winter to summer in the blink of an eye. We have had a stretch of weather with high, high humidity and temperatures in the high 80's for about a week, and have found ourselves in 90+ degree weather for the holiday weekend. But gardening still calls!

I came upon some free vegetable plants. I mean lots of them. My husband saw them all and inquired, "Where ARE you gonna put all those?" To which I replied, "Everywhere." And we started today!

I always have loved the gardens where roses mingled with some pole beans, and nasturtiums rambled between pepper plants. So I plopped some tomatoes in between the knock-out roses (you know, the ones my son and I sat in a few weeks ago), and found some "extra" space in front of the rose bed that became part of the flower bed "accidentally." Here's how you  do that:

 Yes, I simply moved the brick border out and filled in the gap with soil and woodchips. My husband didn't notice the first time I did it, but he caught me this time and accused me of taking over the whole yard. I said, "But look how pretty the garden is," and he concurred. You can follow along with our gardening adventures by checking our online family journal, The Urban Farmer.

I bought a couple of yellow trumpet creepers and planted them along a trellis where I currently hang my bird feeders. It's really a bad place for them, traffic wise -- I hit my head exactly three times on them while I worked in the yard today. Malik thought that was funny, and I guess it really was, by the third time. But it's the best place to hang it for viewing from the back of the house. So I practice ducking. Except today.

Part of one flower bed has become invaded by Queen Anne's Lace. I let it grow there, because I just love them, and they remind me of the banks of them growing along the rail bed near my home, growing up. So I let them tumble into the lawn, and my husband weed whacks around them. When they get too unruly, I root some out. But I don't get too hung up on them growing in the garden.

We began the Queen Anne's Lace Year-long study last week, fighting an incredible batch of mosquitoes until we were forced to take a sample in to study inside (it makes a pretty centerpiece, too).  Here are our sketches.

Malik was particularly fascinated by the arrangement of the leaves and leaflets of the plant, since we are studying fractals (repeating patterns in nature -- see my new article on Fractals in Nature for more information and photos). He noticed that the leaflets looked like little versions of the whole leaf, so they must be fractals, and said, "See, I really AM learning stuff in homeschool!"

As the school year winds down, check out these updates to two of my previous articles:

"Engaging Books for Boys" is a list of book series that covers boys from grades K through 6, with links to other books that will keep boys reading all summer. Check this out in my Literacy 101 article.

I also added some additional activities and links to the "Sandy Beach" excursion in my Road Trip! 2010-2011 article -- Aloha!

Remember: We live in the land of the free BECAUSE of the brave. Have a safe Memorial Day weekend.