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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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South African plants

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”

The iconic strelizia

This well-known South African plant probably needs little introduction as it is cultivated in many countries across the world. I was surprised to learn that it is the floral emblem of the city of Los Angeles. Continue reading “The iconic strelizia”

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”

In the zone: Mackaya bella and its pollinators

Also known as the Forest Bell Bush and as River Bells, the Mackaya bella is a popular shrubby plant, not only because of its beautiful flowers, but also because it grows well in shade or semi-shade. It is easy to propagate from cuttings and it also self-seeds, so if you have one, look out for baby seedlings to transplant. It is endemic to southern Africa and its wood has been used to make fire by friction (Pooley, 1997).   Continue reading “In the zone: Mackaya bella and its pollinators”

Celebrating seediness

 

The meaning of the word “seedy” has come to be associated with being unkempt or shabby, rather than being fruitful or abundant, which was the original meaning of the word, according to the Online Etymology Dictionary. We speak disparagingly of having “gone to seed”, and admiringly of being “in the flower of youth”. Perhaps this comes from the school of thinking that life is linear, rather than the tradition of thinking in terms cycles of life. Continue reading “Celebrating seediness”

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