Friday, 31 January 2014

DRIVING TO TAOS

In 1999 we were in the USA and we rented a car, driving through several states including Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona and New Mexico. We had a fantastic time, met some wonderful people and enjoyed amazing scenery and as you can see below great skyscapes, as well.

The 56-mile (90 km) High Road to Taos is a scenic, winding road through the Sangre de Cristo Mountains between Santa Fe and Taos. (The "Low Road" runs through the valleys along the Rio Grande). It winds through high desert, mountains, forests, small farms, and tiny Spanish Land Grant villages and Pueblo Indian villages. Scattered along the way are the galleries and studios of traditional artisans and artists drawn by the natural beauty. It has been recognised by the state of New Mexico as an official Scenic Byway.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.





Tuesday, 28 January 2014

DATURA

Datura stramonium, known by the common names Jimson weed or datura, is a plant in the Solanaceae (nightshade) family, which is believed to have originated in the Americas, but is now found around the world. Other common names for D. stramonium include thornapple and moon flower, and it has the Spanish name Toloache.

For centuries, datura has been used as a herbal medicine to relieve asthma symptoms and as an analgesic during surgery or bonesetting. It is also a powerful hallucinogen and deliriant, which is used spiritually for the intense visions it produces. However, the tropane alkaloids which are responsible for both the medicinal and hallucinogenic properties are fatally toxic in only slightly higher amounts than the medicinal dosage, and careless use often results in hospitalisations and deaths.

Datura stramonium generally flowers throughout the summer. The fragrant flowers are trumpet-shaped, white to creamy or violet, and 6–9 cm long, and grow on short stems from either the axils of the leaves or the places where the branches fork. The calyx is long and tubular, swollen at the bottom, and sharply angled, surmounted by five sharp teeth. The corolla, which is folded and only partially open, is white, funnel-shaped, and has prominent ribs. The flowers open at night, emitting a pleasant fragrance and is fed upon by nocturnal moths.

This post is part of the Nature Footsteps Floral Macros meme,
and also part of the Our World Tuesday meme.

Monday, 27 January 2014

SUNNY WINDOW LEDGE

The Summer sun filtering through a window made quite a light show of a few coloured bottles and vases standing by a pot plant.

This post is part of the Monday Mellow Yellows meme,
and also part of the Mandarin Orange Monday meme,
and also part of the Nature Footsteps Inspiring Photography meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme.

Sunday, 26 January 2014

PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE, MELBOURNE

The pedestrian bridge connecting Melbourne City with Southbank was built in 1992 and its distinctive white arch is a Melbourne landmark. Found under the pedestrian bridge on Southbank, and only accessible from stairs which descend from above, there is Ponyfish Island, a good place for ad rink or a meal on the Yarra River.

Ponyfish bar and restaurant has a location as unique as its name, hidden away in a floating haven on the Yarra River. The vibe is eccentric, and the city perspective is very different, but the menu hits the spot with breakfast toasties, lunchtime quesadillas, platters to share and a range of barbequed burgers.

This post is part of the Sunday Bridges meme.


Saturday, 25 January 2014

SUMMER FRUIT

Found some luscious Summer fruit at the market today...

This post is part of the I Heart Macros meme.



Friday, 24 January 2014

SAD SUNSET

“You see, one loves to watch the sun set when one is so sad.” - Antoine de Saint-Exup√©ry, "The Little Prince"

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

EVERLASTING DAISIES AND PAINTED LADIES

Xerochrysum (syn. Bracteantha) is a genus of flowering plants native to Australia. It was defined by Russian botanist Nikolai Tzvelev in 1990, preceding (and taking precedence over) Bracteantha which was described the following year. A 2002 molecular study of the tribe Gnaphalieae has indicated the genus is probably polyphyletic, with X. bracteatum and X. viscosum quite removed from each other.

Shown here is Xerochrysum bicolor, native to Tasmania, where it is found in wetter habitats near the coast. It was originally described by Lindley in 1835 as Helichrysum bicolor, before gaining its current name in 2001. It is a compact annual or perennial, which normally grows to about 40 cm in height and 50 cm wide, and is usually simple or few-branched. The leaves are lanceolate and range from 2.5 to 10 cm long by 0.3 to 1.4 cm wide. The flowerheads are on stalks and have a diameter of 3 to 4 cm.The inflorescence bracts are papery, the outer ones orange-brown in colour, and the inner ones yellow. It is distinguished from X. bracteatum by its narrower leaves.

Vanessa kershawi, commonly known as the Australian Painted Lady, is a butterfly that is mostly confined to Australia, although westerly winds have dispersed it to islands east of Australia, including New Zealand. There is debate surrounding the taxonomy of this species. Some believe that the Australian Painted Lady should be a subspecies to the Painted Lady due to the similarity in lifestyle and behaviour. Furthermore, the Painted Lady is found around the globe but Australia is the only location in which it varies enough to be considered a separate species. However, due to the distinct genitalia of the males, and variation in coloration, many others consider the Australian Painted Lady to be a separate species.

During spring, adult butterflies migrate south in large numbers from northern states of Queensland and New South Wales. In order to find mates, male Australian Painted Ladies exhibit territorial behaviour, which involves a male perching on vegetation in a sunny spot on a hilltop, waiting for females to fly by. Despite urbanisation and invasive plants altering its habitat, populations of Australian Painted Ladies have not been significantly impacted by these changes.

This post is part of the Nature Footsteps Winged meme,
and also part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.





Monday, 20 January 2014

FACES OF STONE

Victorian buildings in Melbourne are often adorned with faces. Took a photo or two and then played around in Photoshop. Here are the results.

This post is part of the Monday Mellow Yellows meme,
and also part of the Mandarin Orange Monday meme,
and also part of the Nature Footsteps Inspiring Photography meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme.





Saturday, 18 January 2014

PARKLANDS MORNING

The Darebin Parklands is a reserve of bushland through which runs the Darebin Creek. It is situated very close to where I live so it's a pleasure to walk there at various times during the day, as on this fine morning.

This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme,
and also part of the Weekly TopShot meme,
and also part of the Scenic Weekends meme,
and also part of the Sunday Bridges meme.



Friday, 17 January 2014

SUNSET

"I like that time is marked by each sunrise and sunset whether or not you actually see it." - Catherine Opie

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

BROWALLIA SPECIOSA - 'BUSH VIOLET'

Browallia is a genus of Solanaceae family. It is named after Johannes Browallius (1707–1755), also known as Johan Browall, a Swedish botanist, physician and bishop. Browallia speciosa ('Blue Troll') is a blue-violet tender perennial usually grown as an annual flowering plant also called the 'Amethyst Flower' or 'Bush Violet'. It is much used as a garden ornamental. It is is native to tropical South America.

It performs well in consistently moist, well-drained, humus-rich soils in sun to shade. In hot Summer areas, plants are best sited in sun dappled conditions, bright shade or afternoon shade. Do not allow soils to dry out. Sow seed indoors 8-10 weeks before last Spring frost date or purchase Spring starter plants in six packs from nurseries. Pinch plants back to encourage branching. Prior to first Autumn frost, some plants may be cut back, planted in small containers and brought indoors for winter flowering.

No serious insect or disease problems. Aphids, leafhoppers and whiteflies may appear. It can be grown in containers, hanging baskets, planted en masse or in large groups in beds, borders and woodland gardens. Houseplant for bright, warm locations in winter.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.



Wednesday, 15 January 2014

ROYAL ARCADE, MELBOURNE

The Royal Arcade in Melbourne is a wonderful example of Victorian civic architecture. It features many arches, arcs and apses, as well as some delightful art. It's a pleasure to amble through this and appreciate the elegance and refinement of Australia's yesteryear.

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




Tuesday, 14 January 2014

TEA FOR TWO, TOO

This shop is found in many shopping centres in Melbourne and offers some good varieties of tea leaves, as well as anything to do with tea-making and tea drinking. They also like orange.

This post is part of the Mandarin Orange Monday meme,
and also part of the Nature Footsteps Inspiring Photography meme.



Monday, 13 January 2014

DAHLIA - BISHOP OF LLANDAFF

Dahlia x hybrida 'Bishop of Llandaff' is a branching, tuberous tender perennial cultivar with dark eggplant-coloured, almost black, foliage. This produces a stunning contrast with its scarlet flowers. The plant was first bred by Fred Tresedar, a Cardiff nurseryman. It was selected by and named to honour Pritchard Hughes, Bishop of Llandaff, in 1924 and won the RHS Award of Garden Merit in 1928. It does not need staking or lifting in sandy soils. Divide in late Winter when leaf buds are visible.

The plant is about 1 m tall and flowers from June until September (Northern Hemisphere) and December to April (Southern Hemisphere). As with all dahlias, frost blackens its foliage, and its tubers need to be overwintered in a dry, frost-free place. A seed strain has been produced from this plant called 'Bishops Children', they retain the dark foliage colour but produce a mix of flower colours and flower shapes from single to semi-double flowers in different sizes.

This post is part of the Nature Footsteps Floral Macros meme,
and also part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme.

Saturday, 11 January 2014

RAINY NIGHT IN SYDNEY

"The city lights cold and distant
Suspended above gloomy shadows
Hovering between the concrete and the ethereal.
Neon flashes mundanely its inanity
Its message thankfully illegible in the distance.
Revolving signs in multicoloured glare
Make known anonymous companies
And broadcast lurid messages of brands X, Y and Z..."

This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme,
and also part of the Weekly TopShot meme.