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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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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Encounters with flowers and their visitors

Many flowers not only please the eye but brighten the mood – so this post features some mood brightening flowers. And there’s more! All of the featured flowers have attracted a visitor. Some of the visitors might be cheering and others less so, but they are all interesting. Guaranteed!

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Patterns in nature: Fractals

We cannot necessarily put our finger on what makes patterns in nature so recognizable. In some natural phenomena we may see elements that are recurring, sometimes at different scales: repeating elements in shapes that are complex and irregular.

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Perceiving patterns at the pond

Some leisurely lurking around our garden pond in times past yielded some patterns pleasing to the eye and to the mind. In these troubled times and after the widespread damage from the fearsome hailstorm we experienced last week, for this post I settle for some undemanding peace and quiet.

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Patterns in nature: Hailstones and their aftermath

I did not plan this post. But yesterday our area was in the path of an enormous and ferocious storm that pelted everything it passed over with hailstones large and small, round and irregular. It came suddenly, without that distinctive warning smell of impending hail, and the hailstorm roared over us for about ten minutes, shattering and pulverising as it went.

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Patterns in nature: Symmetry in animals and flowers

Something is said to be symmetrical when the left and right halves match each other as in a mirror image on either side of a central line. Nature is replete with this kind of symmetry. Our tabby cat, Nina, in the photo above, shows off her wonderfully symmetrical structure and facial markings.

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Patterns in nature: Spots and dots

This has been – is being – a rough week, so this post is designed to be undemanding and easy on the eye. Continuing with the theme of patterns in nature, this week I feature spots and dots, shapes from nature that are appreciated and celebrated.  Such patterns are re-presented in many forms, such as in leopard skin prints and polka-dot fabrics, but here I stick with dots I spotted in their natural form.

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