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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

Butterflies – Reasons to be cheerful

Butterflies are widely appreciated for their beauty and their fleetness on the wing, as much as they are associated with transformation, hope, joy and love. Continue reading “Butterflies – Reasons to be cheerful”

A dry season: Just add water

The main seasons in our part of the world are only two: wet season and dry season. But prolonged drought over much of the country has erased that distinction into one long dry bleakness where rain of any significance is a memory or a hope. Continue reading “A dry season: Just add water”

Mountain walking on a hot winter’s day

Yes that’s right, a hot winter’s day. Yesterday’s high temperature of 28°C intensified the season’s dryness as we found when we ventured forth from suburbia for a walk in the Drakensberg mountains. Continue reading “Mountain walking on a hot winter’s day”

The Tassel Berry tree: Bountiful in fruit and flower

I first fell in love with a Tassel Berry tree at the Hluhluwe Game Reserve Hilltop Camp. It was old, gnarled and shaped by the prevailing wind. By contrast, the tree in our garden leads a sheltered life. Continue reading “The Tassel Berry tree: Bountiful in fruit and flower”

Winter in the garden: a selection of photos

This young Vervet monkey is part of a group enjoying early morning winter sunshine while eating berries from the Pigeonwood (Trema orientalis) tree. I like how the youngster is taking advantage of a wild banana (Strelizia nicolai) leaf as a partial hammock. Continue reading “Winter in the garden: a selection of photos”

Woodpeckers foraging two-by-two

We often hear woodpeckers tap-tap-tapping on wood as they search for food in the trees in our suburb most of the year round. They are also quite vocal, but despite all this noisiness they can be difficult to see as they are mostly high up among the branches and foliage of the taller trees. Continue reading “Woodpeckers foraging two-by-two”

Skeletons in the garden Pt 2: Paisley pattern leaves

Skeletons of a botanical kind caught my attention in the form of fallen leaves that were gently disintegrating at the base of a White Stinkwood (Celtis Africana) growing just outside our garden. As the soft pulpy part of the leaves decompose and return to the soil, the leaf skeleton of intricate veins is left intact. Following the example set by the cicada terracotta army featured in last week’s post, I collected some leaf skeletons to photograph on a background of white paper. Continue reading “Skeletons in the garden Pt 2: Paisley pattern leaves”

Skeletons in the garden Pt 1: Terracotta cicadas

Cicadas are best known by the loud high-pitched sound adult male cicadas make mostly during the months of summer. Even though they are loud they are hard to locate and so well camouflaged they are difficult to spot, and typically we only see cicadas that have accidentally bumbled indoors. But sometimes we may come across exoskeletons left behind by cicada nymphs at the time of their last moult into their winged adult form. Continue reading “Skeletons in the garden Pt 1: Terracotta cicadas”

Nature’s bounty in the kitchen

Luckily for me, both sides of my family had habits of frugality, which included saving stuff and reusing it or keeping it in case one day it might come in handy. Some folks might call it hoarding, but I value the presence of old handed-down objects, even if no longer used, which are signifiers of a time when people were more in touch with where their food came from. Continue reading “Nature’s bounty in the kitchen”

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