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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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South African plants

Phoning home: Lockdown nature photos on my phone

As it is easy to carry tucked into a pocket, having my phone with me allows me to be impulsive and experiment with photographing plants and creatures that catch my eye when I am out in the garden.

Continue reading “Phoning home: Lockdown nature photos on my phone”

Horsewood: Slender tree of the forest margins

Despite its pretty spring flowers and its summer fruits, the horsewood is known more for the smell associated with its crushed leaves than for its attractive appearance. In South Africa it is commonly referred to by its Afrikaans name, perdepis, which literally means ‘horse piss’.  

Continue reading “Horsewood: Slender tree of the forest margins”

Spring flowers at the West Coast

Spring truly arrived this week in our part of KwaZulu-Natal with a full day of gentle rains, softening the hard soil after a long dry winter. Fresh leaves are unfurling on deciduous trees and flowers are in bud or already blossoming.

Continue reading “Spring flowers at the West Coast”

The simple art of nature: Connecting with grace

Seeking a sense of calmness in nature, in simplicity and in accepting transience, I have chosen some images that bring to me a sense of grace.

Continue reading “The simple art of nature: Connecting with grace”

Richtersveld redux: Reviving remoteness and the great out there

The Richtersveld is a reminder of vastness out there while the pandemic constrains us. Our (cancelled) three-week trip to three nature parks would have started in mid-May, so instead of actually going away, while under continuing lockdown I reminisce about a previous trip out into nature. Continue reading “Richtersveld redux: Reviving remoteness and the great out there”

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”

Wild gardenia: At home in forests and gardens

With attractive flowers, heady scent, glossy leaves and unusual fruit, it is perhaps surprising that the wild gardenia is not more commonly used as a garden staple. It also makes a good container plant and it does well as a flowering bonsai plant. Continue reading “Wild gardenia: At home in forests and gardens”

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”

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