Autumn Flower Fairy Nature Study: Michaelmas Daisy

nature study with fairies

We chose to study Michaelmas Daisies next.  They grow abundantly on the common and we could see them beginning to die down so felt we needed to study them before they all died down for the year.

michaelmas daisy, nature study, flower fairy

The Michaelmas Daisy Fairy Poem

Michaelmas-Daisy-Flower-poem (3)

From this poem we learn that the Michaelmas Daisy flowers with many pretty flowers during autumn.  They often signify the start of autumn and the falling of leaves.  Because of their tasty nectar, the Michaelmas Daisy attracts many insects, butterflies in particular.  It hints at the fact that Michaelmas is a date on the calendar.

So we went to check up on this information for ourselves.

Michaelmas Daisy

The Michaelmas Daisy is also known by its Latin name Aster amellus.  Aster (meaning star) refers to its star-shaped flowers.  Its stem is erect, branched containing many flower heads and an abundance of dark green leaves.  This plant flowers between July and October and is named after Michaelmas Day (29th September).  Insects are important for pollination although if necessary they will self pollinate.

Michaelmas

Michaelmas day is a feast day for St Michael the archangel and occurs on the 29th September.  St Michael, the patron saint of ships and boatmen, of horses and horsemen, and the sea, is best known as the angel who evicted Lucifer from Heaven.  Michaelmas day is also traditionally the last day of harvest.

Michaelmas Folk Lore

Eat a goose on Michaelmas day,

Want not for money all the year.

A dark Michaelmas, a light Christmas

The Michaelmas Daisies, among dede weeds

Bloom for St Michael’s valorous deeds.

And seems the of flowers which stood,

Til the feast of St Simon and St Jude.

If one gives Michaelmas Daisies it is usually with the intention of saying goodbye, much like Michaelmas Day says farewell to the final harvest, whilst greeting the start of a new cycle ahead.

Studying the Michaelmas Daisies Close Up

We brought some of the daisies back from the common to study and draw.  This was a particularly good lesson.  I was with A7 on my own and one to one always produces the best work in any of my children.

The first thing I had A do was to pull one of the flowers apart and simply describe what she saw:

nature study, michaelmas daisy, flower fairy4

nature study, michaelmas daisy, flower fairy5

We were really surprised by the beauty of each individual carpel and stamens (shown in the last photo above).  They almost looked like an individual flower within their own right.

I had noticed that the bunch we had picked had daisies at varying stages of development.  A7 picked flowers from budding stage to the dying stage, which we arranged in order:

nature study, michaelmas daisy, flower fairy6

She was so fascinated by these that we began to pay particular attention of each flower and the flower directly after it.   It was so interesting to see how the flower ages and which parts of the flower showed that aging first:

nature study, michaelmas daisy, flower fairy7

Drawing the Michaelmas Daisy

A7 asked to use chalk pastels to draw the Michaelmas Daisies:

nature study, michaelmas daisy, flower fairy1

She spent heaps of time smudging and achieving just the affect she wanted:

nature study, michaelmas daisy, flower fairy2

I joined in, which she loved.  I thought she did an amazing job:

nature study, michaelmas daisy, flower fairy3

Making our own Michaelmas Daisy Fairy

This is, to be honest, the part the children look forward to the most.  B4 joined us for this.  The girls picked the colours they wanted to use by comparing all the petals we had with the actual daisies:

flowerfairies

The two of them worked at what each was able.  A7 was in charge of the sticking, B4 was in charge of the fairy’s face:

nature study, michaelmas daisy, flower fairy8

and their Michaelmas Daisy fairy:

nature study, michaelmas daisy, flower fairy10

And both the fairies we have done so far (Bind Weed):

nature study, michaelmas daisy, flower fairy11

nature study, michaelmas daisy, flower fairy12

Next Week

Next week I will be posting about the Horse Chestnut Fairy:

horsechest nut fairy

More Inspiration

10 comments

  1. Honestly! You are something else, Claire! I love this! Can you tell I love nature study? You’ve captured this better than anyone I know or any book I’ve read on hands-on nature study!! I wish I were sitting in your classroom with you. And by the way, is that a map table cloth I spot?! Where did you get that?

    1. What a lovely comment! Thank you very much. The map is a cut-able vinyl sheet which you cut to size. I got it from a material shop. I think you can get some on Amazon although it is a lot more expensive. HTH.

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