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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Suburban garden

Food for birds and wildlife: Planting for heat and drought

In a hot dry spring many birds and animals are struggling to survive even here in suburbia. However, gardens large and small can help wildlife survive in difficult circumstances, especially when gardens are planted with indigenous (native) plants that provide food and shelter. Continue reading “Food for birds and wildlife: Planting for heat and drought”

Midwinter basking: Soaking up the sunshine

Winter and sunshine are not mutually exclusive where I live in KwaZulu-Natal. Of course too much of a good thing is not a good thing. May 2018 was the fourth-hottest May globally on record, with the other hottest Mays all occurring in the last five years (for details see here). Continue reading “Midwinter basking: Soaking up the sunshine”

From dormancy to delicate blue: ‘Scilla natalensis’ in the garden

Beautiful when it flowers and highly sought after for the traditional medicine trade, this member of the Hyacinth family is one of my favourite plants both in the wild and in our garden. Continue reading “From dormancy to delicate blue: ‘Scilla natalensis’ in the garden”

The forest-loving African Olive-Pigeon – a special garden visitor

What has bright yellow legs and bill, is predominantly purple-brown with beautiful speckled markings and hints of iridescence, a soothing deep and almost resonant call, clambers about in large trees with clumsy agility in search of small fruits, and is one of my favourite garden birds? Continue reading “The forest-loving African Olive-Pigeon – a special garden visitor”

An unexpected guest: A longhorned beetle in the spinach patch

Here is a serendipitous juxtaposition: a longhorned beetle on our patch of New Zealand spinach. I use the word serendipitous because it was unforeseen and opportune, and because serendipitous has a great positive ring to it. Continue reading “An unexpected guest: A longhorned beetle in the spinach patch”

Dragonfly hawking

Atop a leaf, a dragonfly perches waiting for prey. Continue reading “Dragonfly hawking”

Black Sparrowhawks in urban areas: Where to now?

The name “sparrowhawk” comes from the prey (sparrows) of some species of sparrowhawks, and does not refer to the size of the raptor itself. Continue reading “Black Sparrowhawks in urban areas: Where to now?”

A wish for the vulnerable

“Sharing wishes with strangers makes a powerful emotional statement”. This week’s photo challenge is inspired by the Japanese tradition of sharing hopes and dreams by writing wishes on small wooden plaques called ema, which are a hung up together in Shinto shrines in the hope that the spirits will grant these wishes. Continue reading “A wish for the vulnerable”

Take me to your Commodore: Garden butterflies from the African savannahs

Even those who don’t like caterpillars tend to like butterflies, perhaps forgetting that caterpillars are the larvae of butterflies? Continue reading “Take me to your Commodore: Garden butterflies from the African savannahs”

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