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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Plants

The kitchen garden: Brightening our lockdown horizons

Our veggie patch took on greater significance during the stringent first lockdown level of the pandemic when even grocery shopping could be a fraught experience. At the very last local farmers’ market that took place just before the late-March lockdown commenced, we bought some winter veg seedlings to add to our vegetable garden.

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Spring in my step: Some of the joys of the season

It was spring equinox this week, inspiring this collection of spring sightings in the garden to bring a cheering lightness to lift our spirits.

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Spring flowers at the West Coast

Spring truly arrived this week in our part of KwaZulu-Natal with a full day of gentle rains, softening the hard soil after a long dry winter. Fresh leaves are unfurling on deciduous trees and flowers are in bud or already blossoming.

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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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Going grey: Moving to monochrome

Colour photography only started taking off for the home photographer in the 1960s, becoming more widely used as it became less expensive into the 1970s. Before that home photographers used black and white film photography, as old family photograph albums testify.

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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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The pigeonwood tree: Providing food, refuge and fun

The Pigeonwood tree does indeed attract pigeons and many other birds and creatures besides. It is one of the faster growing trees and is a vigorous pioneer plant establishing itself in disturbed soil and along watercourses. It can be useful for new gardens or to provide shelter where other slower growing plants need protection.

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The simple art of nature: Connecting with grace

Seeking a sense of calmness in nature, in simplicity and in accepting transience, I have chosen some images that bring to me a sense of grace.

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Winter solstice: Pivoting towards the sun

As winter solstice approaches, cold weather has enveloped the country – earlier than usual and colder too than in recent years. The cold front changed our sunny winter days to overcast, and last night brought some rain.

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