Walking together to the classroom, or, after school, back home or to the car, we are noticing some changes. Some of our plants have berries for the birds’ winter enjoyment. Some leaves are changing color, drawing our attention to their shapes. Some produce flowers now and some throughout the winter.
Have you seen the American Holly on the way up the hill near the Elementary classes? We like to watch them change color, from green to yellow, to orange and to red.
The shapes of the tulip poplar leaves are visible as they turn yellow. Would you call that a quatrefoil? Or a trapezoid?
These Camellia Sasanqua are one of our first signs of fall — and such a delicate color. Who says summer colors are only for summer?
In a Montessori school we learn a lot about color and shape, cause and effect, the laws of nature. There’s nothing like experiencing it first-hand, though. Because we’re learning about these things, watching the colors change and different wildlife appear becomes even more exciting.
What sort of wildlife has been living—and maybe snacking—in this beautiful old sassafras? Look around the Primary playground and see if you see some of its young sassafras coming up through the mulch. The leaves have three different shapes and one of them is in our leaf cabinet. Do you know which one? Have you smelled the bark? Ummm!
Here, the changing color brings our attention to the three different leaf shapes a sassafras has on each plant.
We want to learn the names of each. The wild persimmons fell from the tree early this year, so we missed their sticky circles on the sidewalk and the slightly sour smell they have as they decompose there. Here’s what we can see right now. You might notice even more changes when you look!
Fragrant tea olive
Natchez crepe myrtle
Bloodgood Japanese maple
And, now for two that are often confused. They are vines, which also change colors at this time of year:
Virginia creeper. “Leaves of five, stay alive,” is the saying.
Poison ivy. “Leaves of three, let it be,” points out the fact that many of us get extremely unpleasant reactions to even the most casual contact with this plant. This specimen is high up in a tree. We try to remove any low-level plants for obvious reasons. Why might a plant have such a strong toxin in its leaves, do you think?
There are some plants that we think are very pretty, even when their flowers are dried.
This oak leaf hydrangea is fun to watch throughout the year because of the colors in its leaves and in its blossoms.
Here’s the flower, or cluster of flowers, drying on the stem.
We will try to identify and blog about some more plants, soon, and show more changes as they appear.
Can you find all of these plants? Do you have some of them at home or in your immediate neighborhood?
Thank you for reading our blog!