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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Indigenous plants South Africa

Surprises and encouragements: Learning to see

A process of discovery is available to us if we learn to see what we usually overlook. But what we discover depends more on our own personal filters than on what we think we are looking at. Continue reading “Surprises and encouragements: Learning to see”

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”

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”

Holiday cheerfulness: The sunshine colours of yellow

There are two dictionary definitions of cheerfulness: first, the quality or state of being noticeably happy and optimistic; and second, the quality of causing happiness. Continue reading “Holiday cheerfulness: The sunshine colours of yellow”

Mistbelt grassland flowers in the summer time

Mistbelt grasslands sustain a rich diversity of life, especially when they form part of a complex mosaic that includes also forest, wetlands and rivers and streams. Continue reading “Mistbelt grassland flowers in the summer time”

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