Saturday, 24 February 2018

GINGER CAT

Many references to "ginger cats" appear in books and films, leading people to believe the ginger cat is a distinct feline breed, like the manx or Egyptian mau. On the contrary, "ginger" simply refers to the coat colour of a cat. For the most part, ginger cats are domestic short-hair or long-hair felines with an orange coat, although cats representing other breeds may be referred to as ginger if orange is their primary colour.

An interesting fact about ginger cats is that, in most cases, they are males. As a result of genetics, the ratio of male to female gingers is 80-20. Morris, the famous Nine Lives cat food mascot, was a typical male ginger cat and most, though not all, gingers encountered in homes, on the street, in shops and in pet shelters will turn out to be male.

Many people seeking to adopt kittens and cats have certain biases when it comes to feline colour. Ginger cats are often considered "friendly and approachable," while black cats are seen as "mysterious and untrustworthy" and white cats are believed to be "lazy and aloof". All of these beliefs, of course, are without foundation. Sweet, wonderful cats come in all colours, shapes and sizes!

This post is part of the Orange you Glad It's Friday meme,
and also part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.

Friday, 23 February 2018

EARLY RISERS

Early risers have a wonderful time on the Yarra River. If they're not rowing, they are taking photos...

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Friday Photo Journal meme,
and also part of the Orange you Glad It's Friday meme.







Thursday, 22 February 2018

HAEMANTHUS

Haemanthus coccineus, the blood flower, blood lily or paintbrush lily, is a bulbous geophyte in the family Amaryllidaceae, native to Southern Africa. The generic name Haemanthus is derived from the Greek words haima for blood and anthos for flower; coccineus is the Latin word for red or scarlet. In the Afrikaans language it is known as bergajuin, bloedblom, and many other vernacular names.

Haemanthus coccineus is widespread throughout the winter rainfall region in Southern Africa - from the southern parts of Namibia, to South Africa in the Cape Peninsula, to the Keiskamma River in the Eastern Cape. It is found in Renosterveld and Fynbos habitats. It is an adaptable species, growing in a wide range of soils derived from sandstones, quartzites, granites, shales and limestones. It will survive annual rainfall ranging from 100–1,100 millimetres. The plant adapts to a wide range of altitudes, being found from coastal dunes to 1,200 metres high mountains. It can be a 'gregarious species' found in clumps of hundreds, from the under the shelter of other shrubs on flat land, to in shady ravines and rock crevices.

The flowerheads of Haemanthus coccineus emerge between February and April, with scarlet spathe valves on them like bright shaving brushes, make it a striking plant. The flowers are soon followed by translucent, fleshy berries. There are usually two large leaves per bulb, and occasionally three, which appear after flowering. The brilliant flowerheads account for its early appearance in Europe, being described by Carl Linnaeus in 1762. Together with Haemanthus sanguineus (Jacq.), this was the first Haemanthus to be introduced to European horticulture as an ornamental plant.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

GERANIUM

We know them as simply 'geraniums'. They are one of the most popular container plants, yet they are not really geraniums at all. Botanically they are Pelargonium. There are true geraniums, the perennial cranesbills, but they look little like the annual plants we commonly call 'geraniums'.

The confusion with the names can be traced back to disagreements between botanists over classification and is of little importance to most gardeners, except for the distinction that perennial cranesbill geraniums will come back each year and zonal geraniums, those now classified as Pelargonium, are topical perennials usually grown as annuals in colder climates. They got the prefix "zonal" because of the markings on their leaves.

Zonal geraniums were discovered in South Africa and if you have a similar, subtropical climate, you can grow them as perennials. This coral pink zonal geranium is Pelargonium x hortorum. Zonal geraniums are bushy plants, mainly used for containers and bedding. There has been considerable breeding done, particularly for size and abundance and colours of flowers, so there is a good deal of variety. Zonal geraniums start blooming in mid-spring and will repeat bloom until frost. Deadheading the entire flower stalk after the flower fades will encourage more blooms.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.


Tuesday, 20 February 2018

SALAMANCA, SPAIN

Salamanca is a city in northwestern Spain that is the capital of the Province of Salamanca in the community of Castile and León. The city lies on several hills by the Tormes River. Its Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. With a metropolitan population of 228,881 in 2012 according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), Salamanca is the second most populated urban area in Castile and León, after Valladolid (414,000), and ahead of León (187,000) and Burgos (176,000).

It is one of the most important university cities in Spain and supplies 16% of Spain's market for the teaching of the Spanish language. Salamanca attracts thousands of international students. It is situated approximately 200 kilometres west of the Spanish capital Madrid and 80 km east of the Portuguese border.

The University of Salamanca, which was founded in 1218, is the oldest university in Spain and the fourth oldest western university, but the first to be given its status by the Pope Alexander IV who gave universal validity to its degrees. With its 30,000 students, the university is, together with tourism, a primary source of income in Salamanca. It is on the Via de la Plata path of the Camino de Santiago.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

MELBOURNE CEMETERY

The Melbourne General Cemetery is a large necropolis located 2 km north of the city of Melbourne in the suburb of Carlton North. The cemetery was opened on 1 June 1853, and the Old Melbourne Cemetery (on the site of what is now the Queen Victoria Market) was closed the next year. The Melbourne Cemetery has much history and home to more than half a million stories. This cemetery is full of fiery preachers, con men, courageous women, scandals, disasters and joyous occasions. Musicians, actors, scientists and ordinary people who have helped make Melbourne the metropolis it is now.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

WILLIE WAGTAIL

The willie wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys) is a passerine bird native to Australia, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Bismarck Archipelago, and Eastern Indonesia. It is a common and familiar bird throughout much of its range, living in most habitats apart from thick forest. Measuring 19–21.5 cm in length, the willie wagtail is contrastingly coloured with almost entirely black upperparts and white underparts; the male and female have similar plumage.

Three subspecies are recognised; Rhipidura leucophrys leucophrys from central and southern Australia, the smaller R. l. picata from northern Australia, and the larger R. l. melaleuca from New Guinea and islands in its vicinity. It is unrelated to the true wagtails of the genus Motacilla; it is a member of the fantail genus Rhipidura and is a part of a "core corvine" group that includes true crows and ravens, drongos and birds of paradise. Within this group, fantails are placed in the family Dicruridae, although some authorities consider them distinct enough to warrant their own small family, Rhipiduridae.

The willie wagtail is insectivorous and spends much time chasing prey in open habitat. Its common name is derived from its habit of wagging its tail horizontally when foraging on the ground. Aggressive and territorial, the willie wagtail will often harass much larger birds such as the laughing kookaburra and wedge-tailed eagle. It has responded well to human alteration of the landscape and is a common sight in urban lawns, parks, and gardens. It was widely featured in Aboriginal folklore around the country as either a bringer of bad news or a stealer of secrets.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme,
and also part of the I'd Rather Be Birdin' meme.



Thursday, 15 February 2018

URN PLANT

Aechmea fasciata (silver vase, urn plant) is a species of flowering plant in the bromeliad family, native to Brazil. This plant is probably the best known species in this genus, and it is often grown as a houseplant in temperate areas. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

The plant grows slowly, reaching 30–90 cm in height, with a spread of up to 60 cm. It has elliptic–oval-shaped leaves 45–90 cm long and arranged in a basal rosette pattern. A. fasciata requires partial shade and a well-drained, but moisture-retentive soil. It can also be grown epiphytically, as, for example, with moss around its roots and wired to rough bark. Root rot can be a problem if the soil is too moist. Scale insects and mosquitos will sometimes breed in the pools of water that are trapped between the leaves.

A. fasciata is listed in the FDA Poisonous Plant Database under the section for "Skin irritating substances in plants" and is known to cause contact dermatitis, phytophotodermatitis, and contact allergy.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.