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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Flowering plants

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.

Continue reading “Botanical images: Inspired by vintage prints and cards”

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.

Continue reading “Winter solstice: Pivoting towards the sun”

Salad in the cupboard: Sprouting lentils

Store cupboard items can produce fresh salad ingredients within two days. That is the magic of seed germination – otherwise known as sprouting. Continue reading “Salad in the cupboard: Sprouting lentils”

Flowers across the spectrum of the rainbow

Are all the colours of the rainbow reflected in the flowers in the garden? I expected that green flowers would be the hardest to find, but I was wrong. Continue reading “Flowers across the spectrum of the rainbow”

Wild gardenia: At home in forests and gardens

With attractive flowers, heady scent, glossy leaves and unusual fruit, it is perhaps surprising that the wild gardenia is not more commonly used as a garden staple. It also makes a good container plant and it does well as a flowering bonsai plant. Continue reading “Wild gardenia: At home in forests and gardens”

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”

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”

Weekly Photo Find: Woodland Freesia

These tiny freesias pop up in unexpected places in the garden. In the wild they thrive in the shade in forests, woodlands or thickets. Continue reading “Weekly Photo Find: Woodland Freesia”

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