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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Plants

An aloe patch in the garden

We planted a small patch of aloes in the garden a few years ago. We have enjoyed watching them grow and go on to flower and provide nectar for insects and birds. We have encouraged wild grasses and allowed other self-seeded plants to grow up around them. Continue reading “An aloe patch in the garden”

Mountain walking on a hot winter’s day

Yes that’s right, a hot winter’s day. Yesterday’s high temperature of 28°C intensified the season’s dryness as we found when we ventured forth from suburbia for a walk in the Drakensberg mountains. Continue reading “Mountain walking on a hot winter’s day”

The Tassel Berry tree: Bountiful in fruit and flower

I first fell in love with a Tassel Berry tree at the Hluhluwe Game Reserve Hilltop Camp. It was old, gnarled and shaped by the prevailing wind. By contrast, the tree in our garden leads a sheltered life. Continue reading “The Tassel Berry tree: Bountiful in fruit and flower”

Winter in the garden: a selection of photos

This young Vervet monkey is part of a group enjoying early morning winter sunshine while eating berries from the Pigeonwood (Trema orientalis) tree. I like how the youngster is taking advantage of a wild banana (Strelizia nicolai) leaf as a partial hammock. Continue reading “Winter in the garden: a selection of photos”

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”

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