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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Plants

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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Phoning home: Lockdown nature photos on my phone

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.

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Lockdown walking in the woodland, or rather plantation

Various lockdown permutations since March last year have affected when and where we could walk, but current restrictions allow walking and exercising outdoors so long as protocols are followed. Fortunately for us, we have an easily accessible area for outdoor walking as our suburb is skirted by a commercial plantation.

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Finding solace in trees and woodland

In these dark days I found sombre solace in the quiet strength of woodland trees and the plants and fallen leaves of the understorey. It seemed fittingly subdued to shoot these photos in monochrome.

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On the eve of a New Year

Today I remember the New Year’s Eve that we spent in remote Linyanti in Botswana’s Chobe National Park, as we anticipated the first year of this millennium. How different things are now.

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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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Horsewood: Slender tree of the forest margins

Despite its pretty spring flowers and its summer fruits, the horsewood is known more for the smell associated with its crushed leaves than for its attractive appearance. In South Africa it is commonly referred to by its Afrikaans name, perdepis, which literally means ‘horse piss’.  

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