Sunday 16 February 2020

An Illustrated Nature Diary

I have not done much reading during February so far, but last night I finished reading Elaine Powers’ Living Garden:  An Illustrated Nature Diary.  It was written and illustrated by Elaine Powers, a distinguished New Zealand natural history artist.

Her diary covers natural history observations she made in the environment of her large garden from the spring of 1982 to winter of 1983, and the book includes a comprehensive appendix with details of the different species that were sighted (mostly birds and insects).

I found it intriguing to read as many species she mentions used to be quite common but are now much harder to find.   For instance, katydids, huhu beetles, stick insects, and frogs, that were all abundant in my childhood, are all creatures that I’ve not seen now for several years. 

Today began rather cloudy but that is now breaking up and we are getting increasing patches of bright sunlight to help our temperatures reach the late 20s again.  We also have a blustery wind which is more annoying than useful.

There is still no rain in our forecast and I was surprised to see that the fireworks display scheduled for last night was allowed to go ahead.  It kicked off with a massive boom, a bit like cannon fire, and lasted for a full five minutes.  Grand-daughter and I watched from a bedroom window and it was a magnificent display.   Very pretty, but I still think it was a bit of a fire risk – thankfully I was proved wrong!

I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend,


  1. I would love to to see this book just to see the illustrations...the ones you show are beautiful.

  2. The only illustrated nature diary I've ever read was The Edwardian Lady's ( I think that was the name) but the one you mention is more recent and also particular to NZ. Her illustrations are lovely. How I wish I could send you our excessive rain. Too much of a good thing.

  3. Looks like a beautiful book. Wish I could send you some of our rain. Fireworks scare me too especially during dry weather.

  4. I know I had that book but it may have vanished in the move. Must have a look.

  5. I find it quite incredible, and distressing almost, that the cover of a book by "a distinguished New Zealand natural history artist" features a European Goldfinch, an introduced species. Surely there must have been worthy native New Zealand birds that merited being showcased on the cover?

  6. I wish you rain this week, Margaret.


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