Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nature Study: Thistles

Following The Handbook of Nature Blog's Outdoor Challange to look for thistles we headed to our garden at the community garden to see what we could find.  

On the way we found this lovely ladybug.

which we looked at carefully with our magnify glass.

We also studied these weeds.  We're not sure what they are, but noticed that like the description of burdock in The Handbook of Nature the leaves grow in a pyramid shape as to shade out any plants underneath while providing sunlight to all its leaves.  It appears to work, because this particular plant is everywhere. 

We didn't run into any wild thistle, but found several artichoke plants in nearby garden plots.

We found a plant that had gone to seed

That we were able to pick some seeds from.  

The seeds were so light we had a hard time holding on to them.

Later on during our time at the garden, I-E found these seeds

They were growing on a plant which looked like it grew from a bulb.  I-E was convinced they were some kind of onion plant, so promptly put a few of the seeds down a gopher hole to encourage the gophers to go elsewhere.  

We then went home and journaled our finds.

I-E's lady bug


E-R's lady bug page

 I-E added a picture of some cosmos

Using this field guide, we discovered a lot of interesting facts about artichokes.

Artichokes need frost-free area with cool foggy summers,
which would be why they thrive here.  

Artichokes are found in literature as far back as 300 BC.

Artichokes first came to the Americas with French immigrants to Louisiana
and then traveled to California with Catholic priests. 

Each artichoke plant produces for about ten years.  

All in all a wonderful hour outdoors in nature.


  1. Sounds like a wonderful experience :)

  2. I love nature study. We must get back to it. (After two back-to-back pregnancies, we fell off a little bit.) I love this post. Thanks! :-)

  3. Interesting info about the artichoke.

  4. I never thought about studying weeds - but it actually makes a lot of sense! Thanks for linking to TGIF Linky Party. Don't forget to add the TGIF Button to your post or sidebar so others can find the party too! Thanks,
    Beth =-)

  5. Beth, Sorry about that. I thought I had put the button on the sidebar last week, but it was in the actual post. It's now posted on the sidebar. Thanks so much for hosting the bloghop. I enjoy finding new blogs with so many awesome ideas.

  6. Fun study! We'll have to give that a try next gardening season!

  7. Great study and even though you didn't find thistles, you found plenty of other things to observe. Thank you so much for sharing your entry with the OHC Carnival.

  8. That was the first time seeing an artichoke that has gone to seed. Thanks for sharing :-)

  9. I love the part about trying to encourage the gophers to go elsewhere! You found so much during your outdoor time.


Click on the comments section to leave your own comment.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.