Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Plant Crafts

Today was a rainy day so instead going outside to hunt for plants to identify we decided to get crafty with our plant specimens that were collected last Friday at co-op.

My son made a moss garden in a shallow dish.  It came out beautiful and adorns our kitchen table as a centerpiece.  The bottom has a layer of gravel sized rocks then he put in a layer of dirt over that.  He broke off a piece of old log to lay in there and added a good sized rock so the moss will have something to climb on. 
Finally he put about five different types of moss down over the dirt.  I'm terrible at identifying rocks, and plants even though I am trying to teach my children how to do this.  We have a tree/shrub in the front yard that when planted was supposed to be a rose of Sharon but I've seen rose of Sharon and this ain't one.  It's been there about 8 years.  But I digress.  I think one of his moss samples is juniper moss.  The rest I can't figure out.  One is soft, short and compact, another has longish bits that are more separated and my kids call it coral moss but I don't think it is, and still another has very light tips growing out from darker stems and kind of looks like bitty worms, oh and I think there is still yet another kind of moss growing out in the midst of that one that looks like tiny palm trees with shiny leaves.   Hmm, the more I look at this arrangement the more types of moss I find.   I'm up to seven types now so I'm going to stop trying to describe them.  Apparently there are about 12,000 species of moss so this blog post could go on forever.

We hope it will last a while if we keep it moist.  But we've never done this before so who knows!

My daughter made a bird feeder by coating a pine cone with peanut butter then coating it in bird seed and bread crumbs.  We'll wait for the rain to stop before we put it outside so the seeds don't get all washed off.  I'm hoping this really does bring the birds in and I plan to hang it somewhere we can see it from our schoolroom windows.  Next week we begin our study on birds so this project tied the two sub-units together very nicely.

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