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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

The time of the season: Guttural toads go a-courting

Guttural Toads and other frogs have been galvanised into springtime activity by sprinklings of early season rain. The males have been calling for mates culminating in pairs spawning in our pond. Continue reading “The time of the season: Guttural toads go a-courting”

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”

Butterflies – Reasons to be cheerful

Butterflies are widely appreciated for their beauty and their fleetness on the wing, as much as they are associated with transformation, hope, joy and love. Continue reading “Butterflies – Reasons to be cheerful”

A dry season: Just add water

The main seasons in our part of the world are only two: wet season and dry season. But prolonged drought over much of the country has erased that distinction into one long dry bleakness where rain of any significance is a memory or a hope. Continue reading “A dry season: Just add water”

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”

Woodpeckers foraging two-by-two

We often hear woodpeckers tap-tap-tapping on wood as they search for food in the trees in our suburb most of the year round. They are also quite vocal, but despite all this noisiness they can be difficult to see as they are mostly high up among the branches and foliage of the taller trees. Continue reading “Woodpeckers foraging two-by-two”

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”

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