Saturday, 31 December 2016

HAPPY 2017

May you have a Happy New Year full of health, joy and prosperity!

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,

and also part of the Saturday Silhouettes meme,
and also part of the Our Beautiful World meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.



Friday, 30 December 2016

FRIDAY GREENS #104 - FLY

Welcome to this meme active every Friday. The theme is "Friday Greens" and you can post images, art, photos where the predominant colour is GREEN!

GREEN is the colour between blue and yellow in the spectrum; coloured like grass or emeralds.
The common green bottle fly (Phaenicia sericata or Lucilia sericata) is a blow fly found in most areas of the world, and the most well-known of the numerous green bottle fly species. It is 10–14 mm long, slightly larger than a house fly, and has brilliant, metallic, blue-green or golden coloration with black markings. It has short, sparse black bristles (setae) and three cross-grooves on the thorax. The wings are clear with light brown veins, and the legs and antennae are black.

The maggots (larvae) of the fly are used for maggot therapy. Lucilia sericata is common all over the temperate and tropical regions of the planet, mainly the southern hemisphere, Africa and Australia. It prefers warm and moist climates and accordingly is especially common in coastal regions, but it also is present in arid areas. The female lays her eggs in meat, fish, animal corpses, infected wounds of humans or animals, and excrement. The larvae feed on decomposing tissue. The insect favours species of the genus Ovis, domestic sheep in particular. This can lead to Blow fly strike, causing problems for sheep farmers, though Lucilia sericata is not a major cause of blow fly strike in most regions.

If you take part in this meme:
*Please link back to this page from your blog, with the Friday Greens logo or link text;
*In the spirit of community, please visit other participants to see their photos and leave a comment;
*Leave a comment here in the comments box, which I appreciate very much!

Thursday, 29 December 2016

MADONNA LILY

Lilium candidum, the Madonna lily, is a plant in the true lily family, the Liliaceae. It is native to Balkans and the Middle East, and naturalised in other parts of Europe (France, Italy, Ukraine, etc.) as well as in North Africa, the Canary Islands, Mexico, and other places. It forms bulbs at ground level, and unlike other lilies, has a basal rosette of leaves through the winter, which die back in summer. A leafy flower stem, typically up to 1.2 metres high, sometimes up to 2 metres high, emerges in late spring and bears sweetly and headily fragrant flowers in summer. Flowers are white, flushed yellow at the base.

It has long been cultivated, but is susceptible to virus diseases of lilies, and to Botrytis fungus. One possible way to avoid problems with viruses is to grow plants raised from seed. This is the third year we have these beautiful lilies growing in our garden and they are quite healthy and flowering prolifically.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,
and also part of the Friday Greens meme.



Wednesday, 28 December 2016

A BOTTICELLI VENUS

This is a detail from the famous painting by Sandro Botticelli, "Mars & Venus", from c. 1483 (see here for full painting). It shows the Roman gods Venus and Mars in an allegory of beauty and valour. The youthful and voluptuous couple recline in a forest setting, surrounded by playful satyrs. The painting is typically held as an ideal of youth, sensuous love, pleasure and play. The work is in the National Gallery, London.

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

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

FLORENCE, ITALY

Florence (Italian: Firenze) is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the Metropolitan City of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with 383,083 inhabitants, expanding to over 1,520,000 in the metropolitan area. Florence was a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of the time. It is considered the birthplace of the Renaissance, and has been called "the Athens of the Middle Ages".

A turbulent political history includes periods of rule by the powerful Medici family, and numerous religious and republican revolutions. From 1865 to 1871 the city was the capital of the recently established Kingdom of Italy. The Historic Centre of Florence attracts 13 million tourists each year, and Euromonitor International ranked the city as the world's 89th most visited in 2012, with 1.8 million visitors. It was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982.

The city is noted for its culture, Renaissance art and architecture and monuments. The city also contains numerous museums and art galleries, such as the Uffizi Gallery and the Palazzo Pitti, and still exerts an influence in the fields of art, culture and politics. Due to Florence's artistic and architectural heritage, it has been ranked by Forbes as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Florence is an important city in Italian fashion, being ranked in the top 51 fashion capitals of the world; furthermore, it is a major national economic centre, as well as a tourist and industrial hub. In 2008, the city had the 17th highest average income in Italy.

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.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

Friday, 23 December 2016

FRIDAY GREENS #103 - MERRY CHRISTMAS

Welcome to this meme active every Friday. The theme is "Friday Greens" and you can post images, art, photos where the predominant colour is GREEN!

GREEN is the colour between blue and yellow in the spectrum; coloured like grass or emeralds.
Cornus is a genus of about 30–60 species of woody plants in the family Cornaceae, commonly known as dogwoods, which can generally be distinguished by their blossoms, berries, and distinctive bark. Most are deciduous trees or shrubs, but a few species are nearly herbaceous perennial subshrubs, and a few of the woody species are evergreen.

Several species have small heads of inconspicuous flowers surrounded by an involucre of large, typically white petal-like bracts, while others have more open clusters of petal-bearing flowers. The various species of dogwood are native throughout much of temperate and boreal Eurasia and North America, with China and Japan and the southeastern United States particularly rich in native species.

This post is also part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

If you take part in this meme:
*Please link back to this page from your blog, with the Friday Greens logo or link text;
*In the spirit of community, please visit other participants to see their photos and leave a comment;
*Leave a comment here in the comments box, which I appreciate very much!

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Thursday, 22 December 2016

AGAPANTHUS

Agapanthus is the only genus in the subfamily Agapanthoideae of the flowering plant family Amaryllidaceae. The family is in the monocot order Asparagales. The name is derived from scientific Greek: αγάπη (agape) = love, άνθος (anthos) = flower. Some species of Agapanthus are commonly known as lily of the Nile (or African lily in the UK), although they are not lilies and all of the species are native to Southern Africa (South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland, Mozambique) though some have become naturalised in scattered places around the world (Australia, Great Britain, Mexico, Ethiopia, Jamaica, etc.).

Species boundaries are not clear in the genus, and in spite of having been intensively studied, the number of species recognised by different authorities varies from 6 to 10. The type species for the genus is Agapanthus africanus shown here. A great many hybrids and cultivars have been produced and they are cultivated throughout warm areas of the world.

In Melbourne, these are planted widely in gardens, parks but also median strips of roads and nature strips. As they bloom around the time of Christmas, most Melburnians associate this flower with the Festive Season.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

XYLOCASTRO, GREECE

Xylokastro (Greek: Ξυλόκαστρο) is a seaside town or village and a former municipality in Corinthia in the Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Xylokastro-Evrostina, of which it is a unit or component. The municipal unit has an area of 310.252 km2. In 2011 its population was 5,715 for the town and 13,277 for the municipal unit. Geographic features include a large beach and semi-arid forests on varied terrain, scattered with early churches and evidence of early settlements and religious sites. It has narrowly separated upper and lower coastal roads and forms a medium-sized touristic village on the Gulf of Corinth.

This post is part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wednesday Waters meme,
and also part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.


Tuesday, 20 December 2016

ALCÁZAR OF CORDOBA, SPAIN

The Alcázar de los Reyes Cristianos (Spanish for "Alcázar of the Christian Monarchs"), also known as the Alcázar of Córdoba, is a medieval Alcázar located in the historic centre of Córdoba, Spain next to the Guadalquivir River and near the Grand Mosque. The Alcázar takes its name from the Arabic word القصر (Al-Qasr, meaning "the Palace"). The fortress served as one of the primary residences of Isabella I of Castile and Ferdinand II of Aragon.

In early medieval times, the site was occupied by a Visigoth fortress. When the Visigoths fell to the Umayyad conquest of Hispania, the emirs of the Umayyad Caliphate in Damascus rebuilt the structure. The Umayyads fell to the Abbasid Caliphate and the surviving member of the Umayyad Dynasty, Abd ar-Rahman I, fled to Córdoba. Abd ar-Rahman I's successors established the independent Caliphate of Córdoba and used the Alcázar as their palace. The city subsequently flourished as an important political and cultural center, and the Alcázar was expanded to a very large compound with baths, gardens, and the largest library in the West. Watermills on the nearby Guadalquivir powered water lifting to irrigate the extensive gardens.

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.












Monday, 19 December 2016

CHRISTMAS IS COMING

This post is part of the Blue Monday meme,
and also part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.

Friday, 16 December 2016

FRIDAY GREENS #102 - PERSIMMON FLOWER

Welcome to this meme active every Friday. The theme is "Friday Greens" and you can post images, art, photos where the predominant colour is GREEN!
GREEN is the colour between blue and yellow in the spectrum; coloured like grass or emeralds.
The persimmon (sometimes spelled persimon) is the edible fruit of a number of species of trees in the genus Diospyros. Diospyros is in the family Ebenaceae, and other members of the genus are grown for ebony timber. The most widely cultivated species is the Oriental or Japanese persimmon, Diospyros kaki.

In colour, the ripe fruit of the cultivated strains range from light yellow-orange to dark red-orange depending on the species and variety. They similarly vary in size from 1.5 to 9 cm in diameter, and in shape the varieties may be spherical, acorn-, or pumpkin-shaped. The calyx generally remains attached to the fruit after harvesting, but becomes easy to remove once the fruit is ripe. The ripe fruit has a high glucose content. The protein content is low, but it has a balanced protein profile.

Persimmon fruits have been put to various medicinal and chemical uses. Like the tomato, persimmons are not popularly considered to be berries, but in terms of botanical morphology, the fruit is in fact a berry.

This post is also part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.
If you take part in this meme:
*Please link back to this page from your blog, with the Friday Greens logo or link text;
*In the spirit of community, please visit other participants to see their photos and leave a comment;
*Leave a comment here in the comments box, which I appreciate very much!

Thursday, 15 December 2016

FIELD BINDWEED

Convolvulus arvensis (field bindweed) is a species of bindweed in the morning glory family (Convolvulaceae), native to Europe and Asia. It is a climbing or creeping herbaceous perennial plant growing to 0.5–2 m high.

The leaves are spirally arranged, linear to arrowhead-shaped, 2–5 cm long and alternate, with a 1–3 cm petiole. The flowers are trumpet-shaped, 3-5 cm diameter, white or pale pink, with five slightly darker pink radial stripes. Flowering occurs in the mid-summer, when white to pale pink, funnel-shaped flowers develop. Fruit are light brown, rounded and 1/8 in. (0.3 cm) wide. Each fruit contains 2 seeds that are eaten by birds and can remain viable in the soil for decades.

Although it produces attractive flowers, it is often unwelcome in gardens as a nuisance weed due to its rapid growth and choking of cultivated plants. It was most likely introduced into North America as a contaminant in crop seed as early as 1739, as an invasive species. Plants typically inhabit roadsides, grasslands and also along streams. Its dense mats invade agricultural fields and reduce crop yields; it is estimated that crop losses due to this plant in the United States exceeded US$377 million in the year 1998 alone. In one of the tales collected by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Our Lady's Little Glass, this flower is used by Our Lady to drink wine with when she helps free a wagoner's cart. The story goes on to say that "the little flower is still always called Our Lady's Little Glass."

Field bindweed intertwines and topples native species. It competes with other species for sunlight, moisture and nutrients. It poses threats to restoration efforts and riparian corridors by choking out grasses and forbs. It can decrease habitat biodiversity. It is one of the most serious weeds of agricultural fields in temperate regions of the world.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

WAHLENBERGIA

Wahlenbergia stricta, or Australian Bluebell, Tall or Austral Bluebell, is an Australian wildflower from the Campanulaceae family. It is considered the most commonly encountered of the Wahlenbergias. It is found in all Australian states but not the Northern Territory. It is often seen growing by the side of the road, enjoying the extra runoff.

W. stricta is a perennial herb flowering mainly in spring or summer with pale blue bell-like flowers. The leaves are long and linear, 5–70 millimetres long. The five-petalled flowers are erect on long, slender stems and about 6–20 millimetres in diameter. It forms thin, carrot shaped tubers. Australian bluebells are generally easily propagated by division or root cutting. The seed is a very fine, black powder. It germinates readily in a few weeks and is best directly sown into tubes or cells as the seed and plant are very small and hard to separate and prick out.

There are a number of common cultivars, including various shades of blue from a saturated blue similar to #00f through to white. Various double forms are available. To maintain a cultivar propagation must be by vegetative means (division or cuttings). Once established W. stricta is very hardy - the pot can be dried out completely and the plant reduced to a tuber, yet it will reshoot when the rain comes. It is hardy in a range of soils from sand to gravel, clay to humus.

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


Tuesday, 13 December 2016

PALM COVE, AUSTRALIA

Palm Cove is a beach community in Far North Queensland, Australia located 27 kilometres north of the city of Cairns. It is named after the palm trees that line the beach. At the 2006 census, Palm Cove had a population of 1,215.

Palm Cove is located in Far North Queensland on the Australian coast. Arlington Reef is the closest section of The Great Barrier Reef to Palm Cove being around 30 km offshore. The reef shelters the inshore waters from the Coral Sea swells creating relatively calm waters between the reef and the beach. To the west of Palm Cove is the Macalister Range National Park which is part of the Wet Tropics World Heritage area. Since Palm Cove is located in a tropical climate, the average summer temperature is between 24˚C and 33˚C; average winter temperature is between 14˚C and 26˚C.

The major industry for Palm Cove is tourism. Palm Cove is also a tourist destination due to its proximity to the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree Rainforest. Palm Cove is the location of many world-renowned resorts and hotels such as the Drift Resort, Alamanda, the Mantra Amphora Resort, Peppers Beach Club, and the Reef House. The pristine beaches and Palm tree lined paths are used by joggers, walkers and cyclists and netted life guard patrol swimming enclosures offer safe access to the sea all year round. The Palm cove jetty is one of the regions most popular fishing spots where anglers regularly catch species such as mackerel, Giant Trevally or "G.T's" and shark.

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

Sunday, 11 December 2016

SPARROWS

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme.



Friday, 9 December 2016

FRIDAY GREENS #101 - GREENGROCERY

Welcome to this meme active every Friday. The theme is "Friday Greens" and you can post images, art, photos where the predominant colour is GREEN!
GREEN is the colour between blue and yellow in the spectrum; coloured like grass or emeralds.
We are lucky here in Melbourne to have large greengrocers' shops where much fresh, local produce of good quality is sold.
If you take part in this meme:
*Please link back to this page from your blog, with the Friday Greens logo or link text;
*In the spirit of community, please visit other participants to see their photos and leave a comment;

*Leave a comment here in the comments box, which is always appreciated!

Thursday, 8 December 2016

BLINDEYES POPPY

Papaver dubium is a species of poppy known by the common names long-headed poppy and blindeyes. It is a very undemanding species which prefers sandy soils without lime. It is widespread throughout Europe and America and is within the family Papaveraceae.

Papaver dubium is a variable annual, growing to about 60cm in height. It generally flowers in late spring to mid-summer. The flower is large (30-70mm) and showy, with four petals that are lighter red than in the similar Papaver rhoeas, and most commonly without a black spot at the base.

The flower stem is usually covered with coarse hairs that are closely appressed to the surface, helping to distinguish it from P. rhoeas in which the hairs are more usually patent, held at right angles to the stem. The capsules are hairless, elongated to more than twice as tall as they are wide, tapering slightly at the tip, with a stigma generally less wide than the capsule. The plant exudes white to yellowish latex when the tissues are broken. The species can form a long-lived soil seed bank that can germinate when the soil is disturbed.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

VANILLA

Vanilla is a flavouring derived from orchids of the genus Vanilla, primarily from the Mexican species, flat-leaved vanilla (V. planifolia). The word vanilla, derived from the diminutive of the Spanish word vaina (vaina itself meaning sheath or pod), is translated simply as "little pod".

Pre-Columbian Mesoamerican people cultivated the vine of the vanilla orchid, called tlilxochitl by the Aztecs. Spanish conquistador Hernán Cortés is credited with introducing both vanilla and chocolate to Europe in the 1520s. Initial attempts to cultivate vanilla outside Mexico and Central America proved futile because of the symbiotic relationship between the vanilla orchid and its natural pollinator, the local species of Melipona bee. Pollination is required to set the fruit from which the flavuoring is derived.

In 1837, Belgian botanist Charles François Antoine Morren discovered this fact and pioneered a method of artificially pollinating the plant. The method proved financially unworkable and was not deployed commercially. In 1841, Edmond Albius, a slave who lived on the French island of Réunion in the Indian Ocean, discovered at the age of 12 that the plant could be hand-pollinated. Hand-pollination allowed global cultivation of the plant.

Three major species of vanilla currently are grown globally, all of which derive from a species originally found in Mesoamerica, including parts of modern-day Mexico. They are V. planifolia (syn. V. fragrans), grown on Madagascar, Réunion, and other tropical areas along the Indian Ocean; V. tahitensis, grown in the South Pacific; and V. pompona, found in the West Indies, and Central and South America. The majority of the world's vanilla is the V. planifolia species, more commonly known as Bourbon vanilla (after the former name of Réunion, Île Bourbon) or Madagascar vanilla, which is produced in Madagascar and neighbouring islands in the southwestern Indian Ocean, and in Indonesia.

Vanilla is the second-most expensive spice after saffron, because growing the vanilla seed pods is labor-intensive. Despite the expense, vanilla is highly valued for its flavour. As a result, vanilla is widely used in both commercial and domestic baking, perfume manufacture, and aromatherapy.

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

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

MARSEILLE, FRANCE

Marseille, also known as Marseilles in English, is a city in France. The capital of the Bouches-du-Rhône department and Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur region, Marseille, on France's south coast, is the country's second largest city, after Paris, with a population of 852,516 in 2012, and an area of 241 km2, the 3rd-largest metropolitan area in France after Paris and Lyon.

Known to the ancient Greeks and Romans as Massalia (Greek: Μασσαλία, Massalía), Marseille was the most important trading centre in the region and the main commercial port of the French Empire. Marseille is now France's largest city on the Mediterranean coast and the largest port for commerce, freight and cruise ships.

The city was European Capital of Culture, together with Košice, Slovakia, in 2013. It hosted the European Football Championship in 2016, and will be the European Capital of Sport in 2017. The city is home to several campuses of Aix-Marseille University and part of one of the largest metropolitan conurbations in France, the Metropolis of Aix-Marseille-Provence.

The port is an important arrival base for millions of people each year, with 2.4 million including 890,100 from cruise ships. With its beaches, history, architecture and culture (24 museums and 42 theatres), Marseille is one of the most visited cities in France, with 4.1 million visitors in 2012. Marseille is ranked 86th in the world for business tourism and events, advancing from the 150th spot one year before. Marseille municipality acts to develop Marseille as a regional nexus for entertainment in the south of France with high concentration of museums, cinemas, theatres, clubs, bars, restaurants, fashion shops, hotels, and art galleries.

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.

Monday, 5 December 2016

LET'S PAINT!

This post is part of the Friday Greens meme,
and also part of the Orange you Glad It's Friday meme,
and also part of the Monday Mellow Yellows meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Macro Monday meme,
and also part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.

Friday, 2 December 2016

FRIDAY GREENS #100 - "YOU HAVE MAIL!"

Welcome to this meme active every Friday. The theme is "Friday Greens" and you can post images, art, photos where the predominant colour is GREEN!
GREEN is the colour between blue and yellow in the spectrum; coloured like grass or emeralds.
In these days of email, SMS, twitter, MSN, Talkatone, Viber and numerous other means of modern communication, it is wonderful to get an old-fashioned, handwritten letter. Thankfully we still have our postie who delivers such treasures right there in our mailbox...
If you take part in this meme:
*Please link back to this page from your blog, with the Friday Greens logo or link text;
*In the spirit of community, please visit other participants to see their photos and leave a comment;
*Leave a comment here in the comments box, which is always appreciated!

Thursday, 1 December 2016

LOVE-IN-A-MIST

Nigella damascena (love-in-a-mist, ragged lady or devil in the bush) is an annual garden flowering plant, belonging to the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. It is native to southern Europe (but adventive in more northern countries of Europe), north Africa and southwest Asia, where it is found on neglected, damp patches of land. The specific epithet damascena relates to Damascus in Syria.

The plant's common name comes from the flower being nestled in a ring of multifid, lacy bracts. It grows to 20–50 cm tall, with pinnately divided, thread-like, alternate leaves. The flowers, blooming in early summer, are most commonly different shades of blue, but can be white, pink, or pale purple, with 5 to 25 sepals. The actual petals are located at the base of the stamens and are minute and clawed.

The sepals are the only coloured part of the perianth. The four to five carpels of the compound pistil have each an erect style. The fruit is a large and inflated capsule, growing from a compound ovary, and is composed of several united follicles, each containing numerous seeds. This is rather exceptional for a member of the buttercup family. The capsule becomes brown in late summer. The plant self-seeds, growing on the same spot year after year.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.




Wednesday, 30 November 2016

ULURU, AUSTRALIA

Uluru, also known as Ayers Rock, is a large sandstone rock formation in the southern part of the Northern Territory, central Australia. It lies 335 km south west of the nearest large town, Alice Springs, 450 km by road. Kata Tjuta and Uluru are the two major features of the Uluṟu-Kata Tjuṯa National Park. Uluru is sacred to the Anangu, the Aboriginal people of the area. The area around the formation is home to a plethora of springs, waterholes, rock caves and ancient paintings. Uluru is listed as a World Heritage Site.

Uluru is an inselberg, literally "island mountain". An inselberg is a prominent isolated residual knob or hill that rises abruptly from and is surrounded by extensive and relatively flat erosion lowlands in a hot, dry region. Uluru is also often referred to as a monolith, although this is a somewhat ambiguous term that is generally avoided by geologists. The remarkable feature of Uluru is its homogeneity and lack of jointing and parting at bedding surfaces, leading to the lack of development of scree slopes and soil. These characteristics led to its survival, while the surrounding rocks were eroded.

I took the the first two photos of Uluru on board a plane while we were flying to Singapore. The remaining more conventional photos were taken when we drove there in July 2002. We climbed to the top of the rock and we were thoroughly awe-struck by its sheer size and majesty. The weathering of iron-bearing minerals in the rock by the process of oxidation gives the outer surface layer of Uluru a red-brown rusty colour, making for spectacular photos at sunrise and sunset when the reddish sun accentuates the rock's colour.

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