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Flower Power

Collecting Calendula

The children tread cautiously along the rows of bare vines observing the myriads of wildflowers that have sprung up with the arrival of Spring.

With eyes on the ground someone stops every few steps to admire a flower or get a closer look through the magnifying glass.

Wild Calendula grows in abundance, so we encourage the children to gather it in their baskets. In the morning, when the sun is low, the petals are still tightly shut. By mid day, we notice the little yellow flowers have opened wide, soaking up the sun. They are now ready to be picked and later we can dry them to make calendula oil to soothe our cuts and bruises.

Busy Bees

Other flowers, like anemones, crocuses, irises, grape hyacinth and heather, which are all starting to make their appearances in greater or smaller quantities, we observe but do not pick. One of the reasons that the children can relate to easily is that we need to leave them as food for our honey-bees. We watch the bees buzzing around them and discuss how they collect nectar and pollen to make the honey we so enjoy. We notice the different colors and wonder if the bees have a favorite color. Walking past the beehives we notice these are all painted in different colors too, just like the flowers. What a colorful world!

There are flowers in our vegetable garden too, some wild and some cultivated. We discuss how the flowers attract the bees to pollinate our garden. Some wild mustard is growing on one of the patches and two boys collect the seeds and taste them. “It’s hot” the first boy warns, he has tried them before but gives it another go. Both boys spit them out in disgust, perhaps next time will be better. We have our picnic in the vegetable garden amongst the flowers.

Almond Blossom Craft

Walking through the orchard the fruit trees are in bloom. We lift the children up to get a good look at the blossom, out come the magnifying glasses. Back at the hut by the ponds we sit down to make a branch of almond blossom. The materials are laid out on the table: pop corn, pink tissue paper and twigs. A branch of blossom is on hand for close observation. The children immerse themselves in the task, happy to sit down and consolidate everything they have seen today.

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