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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Heritage

Going with the flow: Some southern African rivers and wetlands

The freshwater biome can be categorized into lakes, streams and wetlands, and all are interconnected. We depend utterly on freshwater systems that globally comprise only 0.8% of all the water on the planet and cover only 1/5 of the Earth’s surface.

Continue reading “Going with the flow: Some southern African rivers and wetlands”

Looking out to sea: The shoreline, the estuaries and the coral reefs

Aquatic biomes include both freshwater and marine biomes. The marine biome is divided into three main ecosystems: the oceans, coral reefs and estuaries. South Africa has a coastline that is over 3000 kilometres in length and it features coral reefs on its eastern coastline and numerous estuaries along its length.

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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.

Continue reading “Naturebackin went to Greece: Part 1 Sparti and Mystras”

Remembering another solitary Christmas: Botswana, December 1999

There was a time when we wished for solitary Christmases when we had to take our holidays over Christmas and we chose to be away in remote places. But of course this year, a solitary Christmas is thrust upon us. Not having a choice is a different matter, and for many of us it is distressing or at the very least disappointing not to be with family and friends over the festive season.

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Making cold process soap at home

By making your own soap at home, not only can you customise the soap that you use every day, but you also reduce packaging waste and eliminate the use of parabens, surfactants and other undesirable chemicals.

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Ouhout: An adaptable and tenacious survivor

The holiday association of shrubby Ouhout trees lining mountain streams and hiking trails meant that we were delighted to find an established Ouhout growing in the garden when we moved into our current home some years ago. The Afrikaans name, used also by English speakers, ‘Ouhout’ literally means ‘old wood’, and even young plants have a woody gnarled appearance.

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Botanical images: Inspired by vintage prints and cards

Botanical art has a classic appeal. There is something essential about the clean accuracy of a detailed depiction of a plant that has been chosen to represent its species, coupled with the aesthetic qualities that emerge from the union of technique, artistry and natural beauty.

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Shifting the focus when back in the now

Holiday escapism, even virtual holidays down memory lane, oftentimes involve wilfully ignoring inconvenient truths. So back home in the now, the hard realities in the news preoccupy me once again as Covid-19 infection rates escalate across significant parts of South Africa.

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Richtersveld redux: Reviving remoteness and the great out there

The Richtersveld is a reminder of vastness out there while the pandemic constrains us. Our (cancelled) three-week trip to three nature parks would have started in mid-May, so instead of actually going away, while under continuing lockdown I reminisce about a previous trip out into nature. Continue reading “Richtersveld redux: Reviving remoteness and the great out there”

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