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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Pollinators

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

Continue reading “Rediscovering a sense of wonder: Seeing insects as tiny treasures”

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”

Flower Mantis ambush hunting a bee

Except for three heads of lavender-coloured blooms, the buds are mostly still tight on the Sagewood shrubs (Buddleja salviifolia) in our garden. When looking to see if any more blooms had opened I was delighted to discover a small Flower Mantis nestled in the tiny flowers of one of the flowerheads. Continue reading “Flower Mantis ambush hunting a bee”

Southern Solstice: Celebrating with aloes

Today is winter solstice, here down south. The day was warm and sunny, and brightened by the winter-flowering plants. Even though we don’t suffer from frigid temperatures I still appreciate that from tomorrow, the days will start lengthening, albeit imperceptibly at first. Continue reading “Southern Solstice: Celebrating with aloes”

Sweet sunbird, sweet aloe

What could be sweeter than nectar, and this female Amethyst Sunbird seeking  sweetness from the flowers of a Krantz Aloe? Continue reading “Sweet sunbird, sweet aloe”

One fine spring day: Thirty-minute photo shoot

I set myself a personal photo challenge, to photograph only spring flowers in the garden in a short space of time. So, I had to capture what were there, even those flowers that were not “at their best”. Continue reading “One fine spring day: Thirty-minute photo shoot”

Unusually Pedestrian

Usually seen buzzing about collecting pollen from flowers, I spotted this carpenter bee taking a walk. Continue reading “Unusually Pedestrian”

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