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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Plants

Skeletons in the garden Pt 2: Paisley pattern leaves

Skeletons of a botanical kind caught my attention in the form of fallen leaves that were gently disintegrating at the base of a White Stinkwood (Celtis Africana) growing just outside our garden. As the soft pulpy part of the leaves decompose and return to the soil, the leaf skeleton of intricate veins is left intact. Following the example set by the cicada terracotta army featured in last week’s post, I collected some leaf skeletons to photograph on a background of white paper. Continue reading “Skeletons in the garden Pt 2: Paisley pattern leaves”

Winter Solstice in the South

The shortest day in the south and the longest day in the north, the Solstice reminds us of the balance in the seasonal cycles.

Continue reading “Winter Solstice in the South”

The generosity of the Forest Pink Hibiscus

A dainty hibiscus with delicate pink flowers graces our garden.  It is a forest margin plant that grows wild mostly in the eastern parts of South Africa at low altitudes. It is nowhere near as well known as the popular exotic Chinese Hibiscus (Hibiscus rosasinensis) grown as an ornamental, but this indigenous South African plant is becoming increasingly adopted as a garden plant. Continue reading “The generosity of the Forest Pink Hibiscus”

Pelargoniums – wild and domesticated

Pelargoniums, for a long time popular potted and garden plants across the world, have been in cultivation since the early 1700s. Of the 270 or so wild species of pelargonium, about 220 are native to South Africa. In addition to these wild species, many cultivars have been developed since pelargoniums have been in cultivation in Europe and elsewhere. Continue reading “Pelargoniums – wild and domesticated”

On being abstracted

Having been somewhat abstracted of late, I thought some rather more abstract images might be appropriate for this post. All these photos I took in the garden during the past few weeks.

In art and photography abstracts tend to be less associated with the concretely representational.  There are no hard and fast rules or definitive definitions, but abstracts deal more with patterns and forms, relationships between lines, shapes, textures, colours and contrasts, rather than with any realistic depiction. Continue reading “On being abstracted”

Wildflowers, war and wonder: Mementos of an English childhood

Many people hang on to keepsakes from their childhood. Photographs, letters, drawings, cards and other reminders are special tokens from times past and distant spaces. Continue reading “Wildflowers, war and wonder: Mementos of an English childhood”

Autumnal orange flowers

Orange is associated with autumn. In our garden this colour is most evident in flowers blooming during March and April, rather than in leaves turning colour on the deciduous trees. Continue reading “Autumnal orange flowers”

Agapanthus: A true blue summer flowerer

The usually blue-flowered Agapanthus brightens South African gardens, and many gardens around the world, during the summer. It is an easy-going plant that I pretty much take for granted, so I was surprised to find that its classification has been a complex issue for botanists. Continue reading “Agapanthus: A true blue summer flowerer”

Powder-puff tree: Subtropical swamp mysteries in the garden

There is something mysterious about the Powder-puff tree. Although associated with mangroves it can thrive with dry feet in the garden, exuding a powerful pungency when in flower, it has a lush subtropical presence yet remains self-contained. Continue reading “Powder-puff tree: Subtropical swamp mysteries in the garden”

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