This blog celebrates the creatures, birds and plants – the inhabitants and survivors that continue to enrich suburban spaces and the lives of the humans who are fortunate enough to live there too. It also celebrates people who care and highlights practical activities and information on wildlife-friendly gardens. It features images taken in my own garden reflecting that there is still life in suburban spaces, and it reflects on sustainable approaches to gardening and housekeeping.

I live in a suburban space in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands in South Africa. In our garden we bring something of the woodland and the bush to soften suburbia’s often hard edges. Mostly indigenous plants shelter and feed the wild creatures and birds that live here too. In parallel we have a small kitchen garden.

In addition to being encouraged by letting nature back into suburban spaces, I am also inspired by people who continue to use sustainable age-old garden and household skills and techniques – taken for granted by our ancestors – but largely lost in today’s suburban and urban environments where we have become dependent on others for even trivial things. I also love old and everyday things that can be passed on through the generations, rich with the patina of use.

Suburban spaces can be associated with shutting out, shutting in, managing and manicuring, with neatly mown lawns enclosed by plants clipped and pruned. Some plants are categorised as weeds and some creatures classified as pests. They are routinely eradicated. But nature, the world of living things, adapts even to suburbia where we can provide habitats and opportunities for many beleaguered plants and creatures.

Letting nature back in can shift our gardening priorities with an emphasis on letting go rather than reigning in.

Agapanthus lilies indigenous garden South Africa

Caring for our environment and other forms of life is a central aspect of our human nature. The desire to care challenges us to be more responsive and responsible, as we seek to understand ourselves and others and the world around us.

My hope is that this blog offers practical encouragement, and that its photographs and stories inspire others as we acknowledge that we humans are part of an intricate fabric of interdependence. Even in suburbia!

Posted by Carol at letting nature back in.