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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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South Africa

Wordless in the aftermath: KwaZulu-Natal July 2021

This week in the aftermath of the widespread looting and destruction across much of KwaZulu-Natal and parts of Gauteng I have few words. Although a semblance of calm might seem to prevail and road delivery routes are opening up, suffering and bereavement, sadness and pain, loss and fear, anger and resentment remain.

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What may emerge from the ashes of destruction?

We have a crisis in our land. Reports of an orchestrated insurrection seem increasingly credible.  The political campaign ignited an explosion of destruction, and according to many analysts, it exploited and was partly fuelled by the misery and hopelessness of dire poverty and high unemployment levels that afflict a high percentage of people in our country (with youth unemployment being over 50%).

Continue reading “What may emerge from the ashes of destruction?”

Journeying from freshwater pans to garden pond

One of the most beautiful fresh water pans in the northern Zululand region (Maputoland) of KwaZulu-Natal is the Inyamiti Pan in Ndumo Game Reserve.  The pan is fringed by fever trees with their pale yellow bark reflecting in the water, especially in summer when the water level is high.

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Going with the flow: Some southern African rivers and wetlands

The freshwater biome can be categorized into lakes, streams and wetlands, and all are interconnected. We depend utterly on freshwater systems that globally comprise only 0.8% of all the water on the planet and cover only 1/5 of the Earth’s surface.

Continue reading “Going with the flow: Some southern African rivers and wetlands”

A diminutive and dynamic presence: The African firefinch

I hear the tinkling call of visiting African firefinches more often than I see them. They forage on the ground and in low vegetation, venturing out into open ground when undisturbed.

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Ouhout: An adaptable and tenacious survivor

The holiday association of shrubby Ouhout trees lining mountain streams and hiking trails meant that we were delighted to find an established Ouhout growing in the garden when we moved into our current home some years ago. The Afrikaans name, used also by English speakers, ‘Ouhout’ literally means ‘old wood’, and even young plants have a woody gnarled appearance.

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Wheat, war, bread and biscotti

Food has become more of a global and personal focus in the context of the global Covid-19 pandemic. Some food supply chains are threatened, and for a variety of reasons thousands more people are now food insecure. Continue reading “Wheat, war, bread and biscotti”

Backyard curiosities 2: Bird’s Nest Fungi

No, I didn’t find fungus growing in bird’s nests, but a fungus that resembles bird’s nests. Very tiny nests to be sure, and within each nest-shaped cup nestles a cluster of egg-like capsules. Continue reading “Backyard curiosities 2: Bird’s Nest Fungi”

On the wings of hope

Hope can be a powerful force that sustains us through dark days and times of hardship. Many of us lean towards trusting in the possibilities for a better future as uncertainty, anxiety, fear, suffering, grief and hardship envelop the globe in these times of the Covid-19 pandemic.   Continue reading “On the wings of hope”

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