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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Pollinators

Tiny spiny flower mantid nymphs hunting in autumn flowers

While watching a solitary bee feeding on nectar in basil flowers in the herb patch a few weeks ago, I noticed a minute spiny flower mantid nestled down on one of the flower spikes with its spiny abdomen curled up over its back.

Continue reading “Tiny spiny flower mantid nymphs hunting in autumn flowers”

Befriending solitary bees

Recently I spotted a lovely bee flitting about as it fed from small anthericum flowers in the garden.  Remarkably my camera was handy and I managed to snap a few photos. In an unusual turn of events, the bee obligingly stopped to preen allowing me to get a closer look.

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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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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”

Hovering with intent: Tangle-veined Flies and the art of nectaring

Long-nosed Tangle-veined Flies need to be accurate on the wing when hovering to line up the long proboscis to suck nectar from tubular flowers. These amazing flies are interesting to watch and tricky to photograph. Continue reading “Hovering with intent: Tangle-veined Flies and the art of nectaring”

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”

Rediscovering a sense of wonder: Seeing insects as tiny treasures

Highlighting a bleak future in the wake of the unchecked use of pesticides, Rachel Carson’s landmark book Silent Spring (1962) raised awareness of the vulnerability of nature and our dependence on it and motivated many people to become active in environmental protection. Possibly less well known is the sense of wonder in nature that inspired her, a wonder that stirs joy and a sense of mystery in children and adults alike

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Being there: The diversity of solitary bees

I noticed a decoratively marked black-and-white pollinator, studiously visiting flowers on our lavender bushes last week. I had not seen one of these unusually marked insects before, but guessed that it might be a solitary bee. Continue reading “Being there: The diversity of solitary bees”

Sagewood: Spring flowers hosting many insects

One of the first spring-flowerers, the wild Sagewood (Buddleja salviifolia) produces a profusion of nectar-laden blossoms. Their pungent yet strangely sweet scent attracts many insects. Continue reading “Sagewood: Spring flowers hosting many insects”

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