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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

Tiny spiny flower mantid nymphs hunting in autumn flowers

While watching a solitary bee feeding on nectar in basil flowers in the herb patch a few weeks ago, I noticed a minute spiny flower mantid nestled down on one of the flower spikes with its spiny abdomen curled up over its back.

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Flower picks from the garden

I am saying it with flowers this week – picks from our garden over the past year or so. The header image is of the forest bell-bush, commonly referred to by its beautiful botanical name Mackaya bella. Like many of the plants featured in this post it is endemic to southern Africa.

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Seasons change: Reflections after the equinox

The recent equinox marked a significant change from a very hot and rain-free couple of weeks to relatively cool conditions, and rain is forecast every day for the next ten days at least. This sudden change had me reflecting on the seasons and how they are represented in our neck of the woods.

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Serendipity, scrutiny and surprises in the garden

Alliteration always amuses me, hence the headline – and it does describe some recent ambles around the garden. Peering as I go, I am sometimes amazed at what I come across – often in plain sight but so easy to overlook.

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Butterflies of the Great Thirstland

The Kgalagadi desert’s butterflies featured in this post resonate with two posts from last year reflecting on resilience and fragility (symbolised by desert flowers) and the need for hope (symbolised by butterflies). It is just over a year since South Africa recorded its first confirmed case of Covid-19 and those posts were in response to the burgeoning uncertainty and fear as the pandemic’s inexorable infection rates escalated across the world.

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Befriending solitary bees

Recently I spotted a lovely bee flitting about as it fed from small anthericum flowers in the garden.  Remarkably my camera was handy and I managed to snap a few photos. In an unusual turn of events, the bee obligingly stopped to preen allowing me to get a closer look.

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Naturebackin went to Greece: Part 1 Sparti and Mystras

So why not something completely different? On a 2004 visit to Greece we found that nature is very much present inside, around and among not only ancient classical structures, but also Frankish, Byzantine and Venetian buildings and in contemporary urban and village contexts too. Nature and its bounty is honoured and represented in cultural practices and artefacts from antiquity to modern times.

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Caught on camera: Birds in the suburbs

After last week’s post on doves, I thought I’d share some bird pics taken in the garden over the past year or so. This is an entirely random and not at all representative selection.

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Ring-necked doves, Namaqua doves and a lanner falcon on the hunt

Although I love the four species of doves and pigeons that visit our garden, there are several other species in the country that I have missed seeing in these travel-free times. In this post I showcase the almost ubiquitous ring-necked dove (except in our specific neighbourhood it seems) and the Namaqua dove, which I have mostly seen in the more arid regions.

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