Saturday, October 23, 2021

Shopping List for the Floral Clock Garden

I know that I can't order seeds and plants for this until Spring (I put my note under February in my Future Log), but I'm so curious about this now that my mind won't let it rest. I at least want to decide which plants I will order, even if I have no idea when the flowers will open or close!

I live in Zone 6. Do you know your Plant Hardiness Zone?

If not, visit the Arbor Day site. Type in your zipcode and they will tell you!

Marsh Mallow
Althaea officinalis
I already have this plant

seed packet - $3.70

Scarlet Pimpernel
Anagalis arvensis
seed packet - $3.22
this actually says seeds are best sown in winter!

St. Bernard Lily
Anthericum liliago
seed packet - $3.63

Pink Sandwort
Arenaria purpurascens

Golden Star
Bloomeria crocea

Cichorium intybus
1/4 lb seeds - $8.95

seed packet - $3.49
also a good candidate for pots, as this is very invasive
(Field Bindwood - Convolvulus arvensis)

Fringed Pinks
Dianthus monspressulanus
seed packet - $2.88

Cape Marigold
Dimorphotheca sinuata

California Poppy
Escholtzia californica
I already have some of these seeds


Day Lily
I already have this plant

Sweet Rocket
Hesperis matronalis
seed packet - $2.81

Orange Hawkweed
Hieracium aurantiacum
seed packet - $3.29

Cat's Ear
Hypochaeris radicata

Ipomoea alba
seed packet - $2.29

Morning Glory
Ipomoea purpurea
I already have some of these seeds

Vesper Iris
Iris dichotoma

Sweet Peas
Lathyrus odoratus
seed packet - $2.99


Alaska Shasta Daisy
Leucanthemum × superbum
I already have some of these seeds

Scarlet Flax
Linum grandiflorum
I already have some of these seeds

Linum usitatissimum
this is easy to grow from whole flaxseed from the grocery store

seed packet - $3.01

Four o'Clock
Mirabilis jalapa
I already have some of these seeds

Water Lily
Nymphaea sp.
live plant - $7.95

Evening Primrose
Oenothera biennis
seed packet - $2.95

seed packet - $3.63

Iceland Poppy
Papaver nudicaule
seed packet - $1.99

Passion Flower
Passiflora incarnata

Moss Rose
Portulaca grandiflora
seed packet - $3.49

Night-Blooming Cereus
Selenicereus grandiflorus

Evening Campion
Silene latifolia
seed packet - $2.81

Sand Spurry
Spergularia rubra

African Marigold
Tagetes erecta
seed packet - $1.99

Taxacum officinale
I already have this plant

Tradescantia pallida
Tradescantia zebrina

Yellow Goat's Beard
Tragopogon pratensis
seed packet - $3.15

Fig Marigold
also called Ice Plant?
I'm a little stuck on this one... I'm finding a lot of different scientific names

Postage Stamp Plant

I'm trying really really hard to not buy any more books right now, but I have a nagging suspicion that she develops this garden further in the revised issue of her book, and that she may include scientific names in that one. I had to Google a lot of these plants using their common names and got some conflicting information as to the scientific names. Does anyone happen to have the updated version of Sunflower Houses?

Notes on Companies:
Botanical Interests
Plant World Seeds
American Meadows (Chicory)
Etsy (Water Lily)

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A Floral Clock Garden

Ever since I read Sunflower Houses: Garden Discoveries for Children of All Ages by Sharon Lovejoy, I've wanted to make a Floral Clock Garden! It's been on my to-do list for Third Grade for many many years!

Sunflower Houses:
Garden Discoveries for Children of All Ages

by Sharon Lovejoy

Then when I was sorting through some papers last weekend, I found an old "Can Plants Tell Time?" classroom activity from the Science Museum of Virginia (which, as it turns out, is still available online as a free PDF).

Now my mind is really ticking! I was chatting with a homeschool consulting client a few days ago and we started talking about the Floral Clock Garden, but she's a renter and can't put in a garden where she is. So we began to wonder...

What are the floral clock plants?

Could they be grown as container plants?

What if you get 12 large pots and paint the number on each and arrange them in a clock face in your yard?

In my old edition of Sunflower Houses, this project is on pages 32-40. It may be on different pages in the newer edition.

Sunflower Houses: Inspiration From the Garden
A Book for Children and Their Grown-Ups

by Sharon Lovejoy

According to the Science Museum packet, this idea comes from Carl Linnaeus! So now I know that reading Karl, Get Out of the Garden! by Anita Sanchez would work really well for this project too.

Karl, Get Out of the Garden!
Carolus Linnaeus and the Naming of Everything

by Anita Sanchez

I recommend printing pages 3, 7, and 8 from the Science Museum packet.

From page 3, "In 1751, a Swedish botanist/naturalist named Carolus Linnaeus designed a flower garden clock using certain diurnal flowers. By arranging selected species of flowering plants in a circular garden, he was able to devise a clock that indicated the time of day by observing which flowers were open and which ones were closed. The diagram below is inspired by the clock that Linnaus designed. The flowers in the diagram, however, are more commonly found in the United States."

Page 7 is a blank clock face which can be used for organizing your pots.

Page 8 has scientific names and more information about each plant.

Their Floral Clock Garden notes are

    Scarlet Pimpernel
    Anagalis arvensis
    opens by 8 am, closes by 2 pm

    Taxacum officinale
    opens by 9 am, closes by 5 pm

    Morning Glory
    Ipomoes purpurea
    opens by 10 am, closes by evening

    Water Lily
    Nymphaea sp.
    opens by 11 am, closes by 2 pm

    Tragopogon pratensis
    opens by 12 pm, closes by 6 pm

    California Poppy
    Escholtzia californica
    opens at 1 pm

    Cichorium intybus
    opens at 2 pm, closes by 5 pm

    Four o'Clock
    Mirabilis jalapa
    opens by 4 pm, closes by morning

    Evening Primrose
    Oenothera biennis
    opens at 6 pm, closes by noon

Of course, my SWI mind goes straight to Structured Word Inquiry investigations that would work well with some of these plant names, such as < dandelion > and < primrose >.

Sharon Lovejoy's introduction to this garden also gives the credit to Linnaeus. She writes, "Linnaeus was obsessed with the idea of his flower clock, or 'Watch of Flora,' as he often referred to it. His watch was composed of forty-six flowers that opened and closed at predictible times of the day."

Forty-six! That makes me think that containers might actually be a really good idea for this project! As you added new flowers into your clock you could rearrange the pots. You could also write on the pot the time you observe it actually opening. Sharon writes, "Choose from among the plants I've listed those that will do best in your climate. Opening and closing times will vary greatly from one locale to another, so observe your plants carefully, and transplant as necessary!"

I will add that since soil and water requirements can vary greatly from plant to plant, containers seem to be an advantage in that way too.

Her Floral Clock Garden notes are

    2 am
    Convolvulus opens

    3 am
    Egyptian Waterlily and Goatsbeard open

    4 am
    Spiderwort and Flax open

    5 am
    Chicory opens
    she writes of Chicory, "In olden days, Chicory was called Ragged Sailors or Miss-go-to-bed-at-noon. That name makes it easy to remember when it goes to sleep."

    6 am
    Morning Glories, Day Lily, Iceland Poppy, Hawkweed, and Cape Marigold open

    7 am
    Madwort, African Marigold, St. Bernard Lily, White Water Lily, and Fig Marigold open

    8 am
    Scarlet Pimpernel and Fringed Pinks open
    she writes of Scarlet Pimpernel, "In olden days, it was called Poor-man's-weatherglass because it always closes before a storm."

    9 am
    Marigolds, Tulips, Ice Plant, Pink Sandwort, Chickweed, Mallow, Moss Roses, and Gazanias open; Dandelion and Water Lilies close

    10 am
    California Poppies and Golden Stars open

    11 am
    Passion Flowers and Sweet Peas open; Star-of-Bethlehem closes

    12 pm
    Daisies open

    2 pm
    Moonflower and Pinks close

    3 pm
    Vesper Iris opens; Field Marigolds, Sand Spurry, Ice Plant, Hawkbit, Fig Marigold, and Pink Sandwort close

    4 pm
    Four o'Clocks open; Cape Marigold, Madwort, and St. Bernard's Lily close

    5 pm
    Evening Primrose and Jimson Weed open; Cat's Ear closes

    7 pm
    Evening Campion opens; Iceland Poppy closes

    8 pm
    Stock opens

    9 pm
    Moonflower, Sweet Rocket, Postage Stamp Plant open

    10 pm
    Night-Blooming Cereus opens

I find it fascinating that some of the same plants are on both lists but with vastly varying notes on each! Chicory, for example, is on the first list as opening at 2 pm and closing at 5 pm, and on the second list as opening at 5 am and closing at 12 pm. And does Goatsbeard open at noon or 3 am???

Can the latitude really make that much difference? I'm ultra-curious and this makes me absolutely committed to doing a Floral Clock Garden this Spring! Good thing I have a Bullet Journal to help me remember. Just wrote it in the future log. :-)

Just looking at this briefly, I think container gardening is absolutely a possibility. You would need a container, anyway, for the Water Lilies. Sharon suggests simply finding an old tub and filling it with water.

Because she lists so many nighttime plants, I'm actually thinking that maybe we should get 24 pots and do two circles of 12.

If you've tried one, I'd love to hear in the comments how it went!

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!

Making a Calendar Together

Last December, Zac and I made a homemade 2021 calendar together. Of course, we couldn't travel during COVID so we spent Christmas alone. It was a very sweet project, and a good use of my old scrapbooking supplies.

We've mainly used it this year as a calendar of firsts, as is suggested in our Nature Study curriculum (Exploring Nature with Children). You just mark on the calendar when you see the first crocus, harvest the first tomato, first hear the geese heading south, etc. You save it and next year you can know what Nature milestones to expect and when! I love the idea of creating a perpetual Nature calendar!

Here is the art we made for 2021, but if we do another calendar which is specifically meant to be for Nature's Firsts, all of the artwork will be more Nature themed.

front cover

December 2020 - paint chip Christmas Tree

January 2021 - The Snowy Day
I traced the figure from our board book with tracing paper, cut it out, 
and then used that as a template for the red construction paper

February 2021 - heart mice

March 2021 - trees with bird nests
cardstock feather embellishments, Zac drew the nests

April 2021 - Easter Egg Hunt
the bushes are cut from different green papers and only attached at the bottom edge with tape, then we hid Easter Egg stickers behind some of them

May 2021 - Zac turns 6!

June 2021 - butterfly stickers and flower embellishments
Zac drew the sun

July 2021 - fireworks
Zac drew some of the windows for the buildings

August 2021 - beach

September 2021 - paper weaving

October 2021 - glowing pumpkin

cut the jack o'lantern template out of cardstock, lay it on black paper, and then go around all of the cut edges with orange chalk

November 2021 - shaving cream marbled leaves

December 2021 - Christmas quote

back cover
Zac age 5, Mommy age 44

8 inch square blank calendars

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!

Topple Blocks

I just want to quickly share this fantastic Topple Blocks idea! Not my own, this comes from Teaching with a Mountain View. She has a wonderful blog, and also has materials at Teachers Pay Teachers. She's one of my favorites! So nice to download something and not have it have any typographical errors or mistakes in the answer key.

Here is her post on Elapsed Time. The elapsed time problems on the worksheet are color coded, and you must solve a problem of the appropriate color before pulling out the block you need to remove from the Jenga tower. Such a clever idea!


The set of blocks above match the colors she uses (purple, blue, green, yellow, pink, red) and you simply print the elapsed time worksheet in color.

Here's her FREE worksheet for Elapsed Time Topple Blocks.

But you also don't have to go that fancy. I got a set of plain wood "Jumbling Tower" blocks for free at a board game swap, and just wrote math facts on the ends and sides with Sharpie. Great practice for math facts! The set I had consisted of 48 blocks, so I did the math facts as follows:

    9 x 9 down to 9 x 1

    8 x 8 down to 8 x 1

    7 x 7 down to 7 x 1

    6 x 6 down to 6 x 1

    5 x 5 down to 5 x 1

    4 x 4 down to 4 x 1

    9 x 9 down to 9 x 1 (again)

I started with the numbers kids usually have trouble multiplying, which are the larger ones. I was really pleased that the math worked out that I could fit in the nine table twice. I also changed up the order of the math facts when I wrote the blocks, writing the problem one way on the sides and the other way on the ends (example: 7 x 4 on the sides and 4 x 7 on the ends).

I actually had a really good time doing this

it's oddly soothing

In a second blog post from Teaching with a Mountain View, Using Topple Blocks with Task Cards, she gives another option for if you can't print in color. Just have the paper you print on be different colors and go ahead and print all in black. This way you can use any set of task cards. Brilliant!

Here's another possible Topple Blocks tower with different colors: purple, blue, green, yellow, orange, red.


This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!

Friday, October 22, 2021

Quality of Numbers: Field Trip for the Number 9

I'm very proud of myself for coming up with such a cool field trip idea for the number 9! Here's what we did today.

First, we read Pezzettino by Leo Lionni. I'm so glad this book is back in print. It's excellent, and just wonderful for the number 9 especially.


by Leo Lionni

Then the children solved today's riddle, the answer being rock. I spent several hours yesterday evening looking high and low for a rock or stone riddle that I liked and couldn't find one, so I wrote my own.

    You can find me in the water
    You can find me on the land
    I can be too heavy to lift
    You can hold me in your hand
    Mountains are made of me
    And so is the sand

    ~ rock

After solving the riddle, they continued with our Quality of Numbers container story about Calendula and Plantain, and used the beautiful shell to move the salt and reveal the magic symbols. I made a big deal about how the number for 9 was going to be very surprising... and might give them a hint about the number 10... but they had to keep their guesses to themselves until Monday morning. I'm curious to see if they make the connection between IV (one less than five) and IX (one less than ten).

I explained that the number 9 is special because it is a square number. I have a beautiful piece of square number artwork, made of nine tiles which my students made for me for Christmas several years ago with their art teacher (she wrote a guest blog post with the how-to), and so we got that out and counted the tiles. Yes, there were nine!

I then set out lots of scrap pieces from our collection of beautiful scrapbooking papers, and gave them each a little square block (the smallest pieces from the Grimm's Large Stepped Pyramid). They each chose 9 papers and traced the block once on each paper, giving them 9 squares. On Monday, they will cut out each square and make a collage with the 9 squares making one larger square. Leo Lionni's artwork in Pezzettino inspired this project. Both tracing work and cutting work are really important for six-year-olds.

Then I asked them, do you think every number is a square number?

Our field trip -- which ties in with the idea of rocks and of smaller pieces making up the whole -- was to the stunning Mandala Gardens in Marion IL. The entrance fee is $2.00 per person. I hit upon the idea of having us pay in quarters, so that the children could review the number 8 by counting out their quarters. I gave them their quarters and asked them if they could arrange them into a square. No! Eight is not a square number. They quickly discovered, however, that four is!

Once we had our 8 quarters per person, it was time to head out the door. We had a grand time exploring Mandala Gardens!

Pezzettino falls and breaks into 9 pieces

choosing the beautiful papers

hmmm... not a square number

welcome to Mandala Gardens

even the animal enclosures are beautiful

What a perfect Autumn day!

Thank you, Trish, for reminding me about this amazing local garden!

If you're getting ready to teach the Quality of Numbers block, detailed notes such as these are available for all of the numbers, including stories, riddles, art suggestions, MLB pages, and more hands-on activities to explore each number. Join my new Ruzuku course with others teaching the same block!

This post contains affiliate links to materials I truly use for homeschooling. Qualifying purchases provide me with revenue. Thank you for your support!