As it is easy to carry tucked into a pocket, having my phone with me allows me to be impulsive and experiment with photographing plants and creatures that catch my eye when I am out in the garden.

Since March last year, the Covid-19 pandemic has dictated that we should spend as much time at home as is possible. Staying home and minimising going out and about is one of the ways of reducing the rate of infection. The tragic ongoing surges in the infection rate in so many countries currently have brought about more stringent lockdown regulations keeping more of us largely at home.

Suburban wildlife-friendly garden, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

As frequently noted, like others fortunate enough to have gardens or access to other natural places even during periods of lockdown, I find solace and comfort in nature. So In this post I share photos taken with my cell phone in the garden over the past ten months.

The header photo is of the glowing trumpet-shaped blooms of the wild pomegranate (Burchellia bubaline) and the above photo is of a corner of the garden that backs onto the margins of the eucalyptus plantation. The flowering tree is the tree fuchsia (Halleria lucida).

Natal lily (Crinum moorei) in flower, KwaZulu-Natal

When in flower in the early summer, the Natal lily (Crinum moorei) that grows near our garden pond draws me to it each time I walk by.

Flowers of the clivia or bush lily (Clivia miniata)

Flowering in the spring, the well-known and much loved clivia or bush lily (Clivia miniata) brightens up shady spots in the garden. This one grows next to one of our rainwater tanks and it displays droplets from spring rain in early September last year.

Assassin bug nymphs on leaf

There was something vaguely comical about these two bugs sitting companionably close together for several hours on a leaf of a young toad tree (Tabernaemontana elegans). I think that they may be nymphs of one of the assassin bug species? I took this photo on a November morning last year. That afternoon a severe thunderstorm struck shredding the leaves and breaking the thin branches of this and other plants in the garden. I don’t know if these bugs survived the onslaught.

Bush brown butterfly, KwaZulu-Natal

Earlier this month much to my surprise this butterfly, one of the bush brown butterfly species, allowed me to approach closely with my phone camera while it was warming up in the early morning sunshine. The butterfly is perching on a Lebombo cluster-leaf (Terminalia phanerophlebia) sapling, which although recovering well still carries hail-damaged leaves from the November hailstorm.

Ephemeral small mushroom in lawn, KwaZulu-Natal

The fragile fruit of a small mushroom appeared fleetingly in the lawn after rain last week.

Warming up its wings in early morning sunshine in April last year is an unidentified fly with conspicuous red eyes and an amber-coloured abdomen.

Blow flies and ant feeding on flowers of tassell-berry tree

Two weeks ago I photographed two blow-flies in the company of an ant feeding on the tiny flowers of the tassel-berry (Antidesma venosum) tree.  

Bud detail Thunbergia natalensis

I was surprised at the detail on the calyx covering the budding petals of the dwarf thunbergia or Natal blue-bell (Thunbergia natalensis).

Flower of Natal blue bell (Thundbergia Natalensis), KwaZulu-Natal

The fully-opened flower of the Thunbergia natalensis, one of my favourite flowers in the garden. These plants flower right through the months of summer and they do best in shade or semi-shade.

Longhorned beetle (Evgenius plumatus) South Africa

This longhorned beetle (probably Evgenius plumatus) tolerated a very close approach and allowed me to hold my cell phone within a few inches of it to take this photo.

Inanda lilies (Cyrtanthus sanguineus) in bloom, KwaZulu-Natal garden

Adding such a cheerful note to the garden over the past few weeks are these Inanda lilies (Cyrtanthus sanguineus). These plants managed to self-seed themselves from some potted plants given to me by my mother. The ones in pots still remain and they are flowering a bit later than the ones in the garden.

I nearly titled this post ‘Feeling phoney’ as it can feel inappropriate blogging about flowers and bugs in the middle of a raging pandemic, with so many people dying every day from Covid-19 related complications.

However, even at such times we need to draw consolation from wherever we can find it. Nature can be a place of respite and healing, strengthening our resilience.

Posted by Carol