Botany Homeschooling Nature Study Our Backyard Book

A flower awakens. A circle closes.

Our move to NH has officially come full circle.

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One year ago today marks the end of an almost 6-year process that led our family to our humble New England homestead. One year ago today we became NH residents. We’re still learning our way around the state. We’re even still learning our way around our rocky, forested 14 acres. And we’re still learning our way around the New England dialect. Just last week I couldn’t decipher where someone lived–“at the end of the t-ah road.” (A phrase that is extra confusing for this southerner who has always used the phrase “blacktop” to refer to roads that were made of tar.)

But I’m thankful for the simpler, quieter life… the life that, indeed, often takes a turn onto a dirt road.

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Last summer, down back roads and up winding trails, I met a joyful plethora of new wildflowers.

Having always been intrigued by botany, I felt like a giddy child introduced to new forms of sugar as I discovered unfamiliar wild flowers on every mountain hike. Although I grew up in the same time zone where we now life, I was 2 plant zones away. (If you’re curious what plant zone you live in, check out this great interactive gardening zone map.) So we added entries to Our Backyard Book often. You see, as my daughters have grown over the past 15 years of homeschooling, with my youngest now being 12, we still have a few staples that we love having randomly pop up in our days–taking school to the sand for impromptu beach days, baking instead of math once in a while, and adding to Our Backyard Book when the occasion rises.

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Many new botany pages have been added about New England wild flowers, but one flower never made it in last summer or fall, because we hadn’t yet seen the bloom.

We had been intrigued by the plant’s 3 large blankets of leaves that seemed to be one with the stem, providing a green, growing canopy for leaves and ladybugs.

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The canopy was topped with bright red berries. But somehow we were too busy unpacking boxes, painting, turning over and planting a garden, and refinishing our wide-planked pine floorboards to notice this intriguing plant before its flower’s ovaries swelled into berries and tossed its vibrant petals aside. I had not seen its green sepals symmetrically surrounding its vibrant burgundy bloom. Until today. The 365th day of living on this land and walking these woods.

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I still almost missed it.

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But once noticed, the sweet trillium–or “Wake-Robin”–can’t be ignored.

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And it can’t help but have its own Backyard Page. We used this helpful site to help us identify the wildflower then did a search for additional information.

We learned that a few rare Wake-Robins do grow in our native state, but since there are less than 20 known populations of them, we had never seen one before. Here in our woods, the beautiful flowers abound. The plant earns its name “Wake-Robin” by analogy with the Robin, with its red breast, because both act as heralds of spring. Unlike the Robin, the flower requires a scent to attract pollinators. Since the Wake-Robin is pollinated by flies, well, it’s safe to say it doesn’t smell like roses. In fact, it emits the smell of rotting meat. Thankfully, it’s not an odor one will notice, unless they have their nose to the ground.

To learn about some flowers in your backyard with your own children, feel free to print and use this blank ID page.

Now I’m going to spend the rest of today–the anniversary of the day this 215-year-old homestead became our own–reveling in God’s goodness, planting my family one year ago today where we are deeply rooted in signs of his love and discovering beautiful new ones every day.

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“Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you!” Luke 12:27

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0 Comment

  1. Your “souly rested” blog is always a blessing to me. This one especially hit home because, as a child, I was often with my dad and brother (both deceased) in the New Hampshire woods near Pittsfield. Around Mother’s Day, we were looking especially for the delicate pink and white deliciously sweet-smelling trailing arbutus or “Mayflowers,” as we called them. My grandmother and mother would wait at home with my little sister for us to appear with the small bouquets we joyfully brought to them. It meant that we been on our hands and knees in the rich woodsy soil covered with leaves and winter’s debris. But as we searched, we uncovered those little blossoms, enjoying every minute of discovery and togetherness.   Now this sensory experience is a memory, because one can no longer search for and pick these beauties which, along with the elegant Lady Slipper, are on the endangered species list. But at my age of 80 years, memories like this are priceless. They continually remind me of God’s goodness to me in so many ways through all these swiftly passing years! They. also bring the challenge of living these years for the glory of God and the good of His church/His bride. 

    Then there are the history-laden stone walls…

    1. What a beautiful memory! We do need to hold on to such treasures, which is one reason I love to write. Even at a somewhat young age of 45, I too see the swiftly fleeting character of our years. Thank you for sharing!

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