Gateway to the Classics: Wild-Flower Study by Anna Botsford Comstock
Wild-Flower Study by  Anna Botsford Comstock


How To Begin the Study of Plants and Flowers

dropcap image HE only right way to begin plant study with young children is through awakening their interest in and love for flowers. Most children love flowers naturally; they enjoy bringing flowers to school, and here, by teaching the recognition of flowers by name, may be begun this delightful study. This should be done naturally and informally. The teacher may say: "Thank you, John, for this bouquet. Why, here is a pansy, a bachelor's button, a larkspur and a poppy." Or, "Julia has brought me a beautiful flower. What is its name, I wonder?" Then may follow a little discussion, which the teacher leads to the proper conclusion. If this course is consistently followed, the children will learn the names of the common flowers of wood, field and garden, and never realize that they are learning anything.

The next step is to inspire the child with a desire to care for and preserve his bouquet. The posies brought in the perspiring little hand may be wilted and look dejected; ask their owner to place the stems in water and call attention to the way they lift their drooping heads. Parents and teachers should very early inculcate in children this respect for the rights of flowers which they gather; no matter how tired the child or how disinclined to further effort, when he returns from the woods or fields or garden with plucked flowers, he should be made to place their stems in water immediately. This is a lesson in duty as well as in plant study. Attention to the behavior of the thirsty flowers may be gained by asking the following questions:

1. When a plant is wilted how does it look? How does its stem act? Do its leaves stand up? What happens to the flower?

2. Place the cut end of the stem in water and look at it occasionally during an hour; describe what happens to the stem, the leaves, the blossom.

3. To find how flowers drink, place the stem of a wilted plant in red ink; the next day cut the stem across and find how far the ink has been lifted into it.

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