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letting nature back in

nature and nurture in suburban spaces

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Wildlife-friendly Garden KwaZulu-Natal

Ornately elegant engineer: Garden orb-weaving spider

The first creature that caught my eye on the first day of 2019 and caused me to pick up my camera, was this garden orb spider. Its complex round web was strung across the vertical spikes of a Common Rush (Juncus effusus) next to our garden pond. Continue reading “Ornately elegant engineer: Garden orb-weaving spider”

The grasshopper that shrieks in the night

Perhaps because Bladder Grasshoppers are active at night, they are heard rather than seen. The call of the male Bladder Grasshopper, something between a bleat, a shriek and a croak, is alarmingly loud. Continue reading “The grasshopper that shrieks in the night”

The Puzzle Bush: Tough, pretty and nutritious

Among the first spring flowers are the delicately scented lilac-hued blossoms of the shrubby Puzzle bush. Continue reading “The Puzzle Bush: Tough, pretty and nutritious”

Gimme shelter: Juvenile Natal Green Snake finding overnight lodging

Only eventually did we notice a small, juvenile Natal Green Snake apparently trying to climb the smooth surface of a high window pane, when we were having coffee out on our back deck.  The small creature seemed more than a little agitated as it struggled to climb to the top of the window. Continue reading “Gimme shelter: Juvenile Natal Green Snake finding overnight lodging”

A charming visitor: The Cape Robin-Chat

The Cape Robin-Chat rather paradoxically can be shy as well as confiding. These lovely little birds occur over much of South Africa where there is dense enough vegetation to provide for their needs. Continue reading “A charming visitor: The Cape Robin-Chat”

Weekly Photo Find: African Paper Wasp

Photos of striking insects taken in the garden have been catching my attention as I visit my photo archive. Continue reading “Weekly Photo Find: African Paper Wasp”

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”

Drab busters: Winter flowers bearing brightness

Here in KwaZulu-Natal the winters are dry. The wild grasslands are golden but are brightened by wild flowers, and the remnants of woodland and forest have their flowering trees too, some of which we are fortunate to have in our garden. Continue reading “Drab busters: Winter flowers bearing brightness”

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