Thursday, 23 February 2017

MORNING GLORY

 Ipomoea is the largest genus in the flowering plant family Convolvulaceae, with over 500 species. It is a large and diverse group with common names including morning glory, sweet potato, bindweed, moonflower, etc. The most widespread common name is morning glories, but there are also species in related genera bearing the same common name.

Those formerly separated in Calonyction (Greek καλός, kalos, good and νύκτα, nycta, night) are called moonflowers. The generic name is derived from the Greek words ιπς (ips) or ιπος (ipos), meaning "worm" or "bindweed," and όμοιος (homoios), meaning "resembling". It refers to their twining habit.The genus occurs throughout the tropical and subtropical regions of the world, and comprises annual and perennial herbaceous plants, lianas, shrubs and small trees; most of the species are twining climbing plants.

Ipomoea tricolor (morning glory) is native to the New World tropics, and widely cultivated and naturalised elsewhere. It is an herbaceous annual or perennial twining liana growing to 2–4 m tall. The leaves are spirally arranged, 3–7 cm long with a 1.5–6 cm long petiole. The flowers are trumpet-shaped, 4–9 cm in diameter, most commonly blue with a white to golden yellow centre.In cultivation, the species is very commonly grown misnamed as Ipomoea violacea, actually a different though related species.

Numerous cultivars of I. tricolor with different flower colours have been selected for use as ornamental plants; widely grown examples include Blue Star, Flying Saucers, Heavenly Blue, Heavenly Blue Improved, Pearly Gates, Rainbow Flash, Skylark, Summer Skies and Wedding Bells. The cultivar 'Heavenly Blue' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

BEETLE MACRO

Longicornes  (family Cerambycidae) are often spectacular beetles and are favourites with collectors. In Australia they range in size from about 5mm to some real giants of 80 mm or more in length. The larval stages bore in wood or stems of trees and shrubs. Rainforests with a diversity of trees, palms and shrubs have a rich assortment of species.

Dictamnia aestuosa, the host plants of this not uncommon species are unknown. A distinctive pattern of hair-like projections on the body contributes to the colour, making the beetle stand out glaringly from the bright green of the plant leaves.

This post is 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, 21 February 2017

HERAKLION, GREECE

Heraklion (Greek: Ηράκλειο, Irákleio) is the largest city and the administrative capital of the island of Crete. It is the fourth largest city in Greece. According to the results of the 2011 census, the population of the city proper was 140,730 inhabitants, the municipality's was 173,993 while the Heraklion urban area has a population of 225,574 and it extends over an area of 684.3 km2. Heraklion is the capital of Heraklion regional unit. The Bronze Age palace of Knossos, also known as the Palace of Minos, is located nearby.

The present city of Heraklion was founded in 824 by the Muslims under Abu Hafs Umar who had been expelled from Al-Andalus by Emir Al-Hakam I and had taken over the island from the Eastern Roman Empire. They built a moat around the city for protection, and named the city ربض الخندق, rabḍ al-ḫandaq ("Castle of the Moat"). It became the capital of the Emirate of Crete (ca. 827–961). The Saracens allowed the port to be used as a safe haven for pirates who operated against Imperial (Byzantine) shipping and raided Imperial territory around the Aegean.

In 961, Byzantine forces under the command of Nikephoros Phokas, later to become Emperor, landed in Crete and attacked the city. After a prolonged siege, the city fell. The Saracen inhabitants were slaughtered, the city looted and burned to the ground. Soon rebuilt, the town was renamed Χάνδαξ, Chandax, and remained under Greek control for the next 243 years.

In 1204, the city was bought by the Republic of Venice as part of a complicated political deal which involved, among other things, the Crusaders of the Fourth Crusade restoring the deposed Eastern Roman Emperor Isaac II Angelus to his throne. The Venetians improved on the ditch of the city by building enormous fortifications, most of which are still in place, including a giant wall, in places up to 40 m thick, with 7 bastions, and a fortress in the harbour.

Chandax was renamed Candia and became the seat of the Duke of Candia, and the Venetian administrative district of Crete became known as "regno di Candia" (kingdom of Candia). The city retained the name of Candia for centuries and the same name was often used to refer to the whole island of Crete as well. To secure their rule, Venetians began in 1212 to settle families from Venice on Crete. The coexistence of two different cultures and the stimulus of Italian Renaissance led to a flourishing of letters and the arts in Candia and Crete in general, that is today known as the Cretan Renaissance.

After the Venetians came the Ottoman Empire. During the Cretan War (1645–1669), the Ottomans besieged the city for 21 years, from 1648 to 1669, perhaps the longest siege in history. In its final phase, which lasted for 22 months, 70,000 Turks, 38,000 Cretans and slaves and 29,088 of the city's Christian defenders perished.[5] The Ottoman army under an Albanian grand vizier, Köprülü Fazıl Ahmed Pasha conquered the city in 1669. Under the Ottomans, the city was known officially as Kandiye (again also applied to the whole island of Crete) but informally in Greek as Megalo Castro (Μεγάλο Κάστρο; "Big Castle"). During the Ottoman period, the harbour silted up, so most shipping shifted to Chania in the west of the island.

In 1898, the autonomous Cretan State was created, under Ottoman suzerainty, with Prince George of Greece as its High Commissioner and under international supervision. During the period of direct occupation of the island by the Great Powers (1898–1908), Candia was part of the British zone. At this time, the city was renamed "Heraklion", after the Roman port of Heracleum ("Heracles' city"), whose exact location is unknown. In 1913, with the rest of Crete, Heraklion was incorporated into the Kingdom of Greece. Heraklion became capital of Crete in 1971, replacing Chania.

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, 20 February 2017

BEE MACRO

Bee drinking at a bird bath on a hot day.

This post is part of the Monday Mellow Yellows 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.

Sunday, 19 February 2017

MY SUNDAY BEST MEME #2 - FUN & GAMES

Welcome to this new meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging. Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in.

The rules are simple:
1) Create your image and post it up on your blog;
2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here;
3) Leave a comment here once you have posted;
4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity!

Please do not use this meme to advertise your goods or services. This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments shall be removed immediately!
Melbourne's Luna Park is a historic amusement park located on the foreshore of Port Phillip Bay in St Kilda, Victoria, an inner suburb of Melbourne, Australia. It opened on 13 December 1912 and has been operating almost continuously ever since. This was the first of the four Luna Parks that were built in Australia, of which only Melbourne and Luna Park Sydney are still operating. The other two, now defunct, Luna Parks were at Glenelg in South Australia (1930–1934) and at Redcliffe in Queensland (1944–1966).

This image is also part of the Photo Sunday meme,

and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

AUSTRALIAN WHITE IBIS

The Australian white ibis (Threskiornis moluccus) is a wading bird of the ibis family, Threskiornithidae. It is widespread across much of Australia. It has a predominantly white plumage with a bare, black head, long downcurved bill and black legs. Its sister species is the sacred ibis. Historically rare in urban areas, the Australian white ibis has immigrated to urban areas of the east coast in increasing numbers since the late 1970s.

It is now commonly seen in Wollongong, Sydney, Melbourne, the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Townsville. In recent years the bird has also become increasing common in Perth, Western Australia and surrounding towns in south-western Australia. Populations have disappeared from natural breeding areas such as the Macquarie Marshes in north-western New South Wales. Management plans have been introduced to control problematic urban populations in Sydney.

This post is part of the Weekend Green meme,
and also part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.


Friday, 17 February 2017

Thursday, 16 February 2017

CROWEA SALIGNA

Crowea saligna, commonly known as willow-leaved crowea, is a plant in the rue family, Rutaceae and is endemic to eastern New South Wales in Australia. It is a small shrub with attractive, pink, star-shaped flowers and is commonly cultivated.

It is a small shrub usually growing to a height of about 1–1.5 metres with conspicuously angled branches. The leaves are 30–60 millimetres, 3–13 millimetres wide and are narrow elliptic to lance-shaped. They are also dark green, shiny, dotted with oil glands and there is a distinct mid-vein.

The flowers develop in the axils of leaves on a stalk 5-13 millimetres long. There are 5 short, broad sepals and 5 overlapping petals forming a "star" shape. The petals are pink, sometimes white and are 12-18 millimetres long. The stamens are hairy and enclose the centre of the flower. The flowers appear from January to June and the fruits that follow are dry and have 5 compartments which open to release 2 seeds each.

Crowea saligna was first formally described in 1800 by Henry Charles Andrews. The description was published in The Botanist's Repository for New, and Rare Plants.The specific epithet (saligna) is a Latin word meaning " of willow".

Willow-leaved crowea occurs in Sydney between Woy Woy and Yerrinbool and on the adjacent Blue Mountains. It grows in sheltered locations on sandstone. Crowea saligna is widely cultivated due to its attractive flowers that appear when most other species are dormant. It prefers a well drained position in sun or semi shade. It grows best in moist soils but will tolerate extended dry periods once established.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Tuesday, 14 February 2017

PONT DU GARD, FRANCE

The Pont du Gard is an ancient Roman aqueduct that crosses the Gardon River near the town of Vers-Pont-du-Gard in southern France. The Pont du Gard is the highest of all elevated Roman aqueducts, and, along with the Aqueduct of Segovia, one of the best preserved. It was added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1985 because of its historical importance.

The aqueduct bridge is part of the Nîmes aqueduct, a 50-kilometre system built in the first century AD to carry water from a spring at Uzès to the Roman colony of Nemausus (Nîmes). Because of the uneven terrain between the two points, the mostly underground aqueduct followed a long, winding route that called for a bridge across the gorge of the Gardon River.

The bridge has three tiers of arches, stands 48.8 m high, and descends a mere 2.5 centimetres – a gradient of only 1 in 18,241 – while the whole aqueduct descends in height by only 17 m over its entire length, which is indicative of the great precision that Roman engineers were able to achieve, using simple technology. The aqueduct formerly carried an estimated 200,000 m3 of water a day to the fountains, baths and homes of the citizens of Nîmes. It may have been in use as late as the 6th century, with some parts used for significantly longer, but a lack of maintenance after the 4th century led to clogging by mineral deposits and debris that eventually choked off the flow of water.

After the Roman Empire collapsed and the aqueduct fell into disuse, the Pont du Gard remained largely intact, due to the importance of its secondary function, as a toll bridge. For centuries the local lords and bishops were responsible for its upkeep, in exchange for the right to levy tolls on travellers using it to cross the river, although some of its stones were looted and serious damage was inflicted on it in the 17th century. It attracted increasing attention starting in the 18th century, and became an important tourist destination.

It underwent a series of renovations between the 18th and 21st centuries, commissioned by the local authorities and the French state, that culminated in 2000 with the opening of a new visitor centre and the removal of traffic and buildings from the bridge and the area immediately around it. Today it is one of France's most popular tourist attractions, and has attracted the attention of a succession of literary and artistic visitors.

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, 12 February 2017

MY SUNDAY BEST MEME #1 - HORSEPLAY

Welcome to this new meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging.

Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in.

The rules are simple:
1) Create your image and post it up on your blog;
2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here;
3) Leave a comment here once you have posted;
4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity!

Please do not use this meme to advertise your products and services. This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments will be removed immediately.

This image is also part of the Our Beautiful World meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Saturday Critters meme.

Saturday, 11 February 2017

SPOTTED DOVE

The spotted dove (Spilopelia chinensis) is a small and somewhat long-tailed pigeon which is a common resident breeding bird across its native range on the Indian Subcontinent and Southeast Asia. The species has been introduced into many parts of the world and feral populations have become established. This species was formerly included in the genus Streptopelia with other turtle-doves, but studies suggest that they differ from typical members of that genus.

This dove is long tailed buff brown with a white-spotted black collar patch on the back and sides of the neck. The tail tips are white and the wing coverts have light buff spots. There are considerable plumage variations across populations within its wide range. The species is found in light forests and gardens as well as in urban areas. They fly from the ground with an explosive flutter and will sometimes glide down to a perch. It is sometimes also called the mountain dove, pearl-necked dove or lace-necked dove.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
as well as part of the Camera Critters meme.

Friday, 10 February 2017

Thursday, 9 February 2017

LADY'S FINGERS ORCHID

Caladenia catenata, commonly known as white caladenia, white fingers and lady's fingers, is a plant in the orchid family Orchidaceae and is endemic to New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria. It is a ground orchid with a single hairy leaf and one or two white, sometimes pink flowers on a thin, sparsely-hairy stem. It is similar to Caladenia carnea but lacks the red and white bars on the labellum of that species.

There are one or two flowers borne on a slender, sparsely hairy spike 10–30 cm high. The sepals and petals are glistening white, rarely pink and are sparsely hairy on the lower part of their backs. The dorsal sepal is linear to oblong, erect or slightly curved forward and is 15–22 mm long. The lateral sepals and petals are about the same length as the dorsal sepal and spreading. The labellum is white or pinkish with a yellowy-orange tip. It is 8–10 mm long, 6–18 mm wide when flattened and has three lobes. The central lobe is triangle-shaped, longer than the lateral lobes, curves downward and has finger-like teeth on its edges. The lateral lobes are narrow and may have a few teeth near their tips. There are two rows of yellow or white, club-shaped calli on the centre of the mid-lobe but only as far forward as the front of the lateral lobes.

Flowering occurs from August to November, earlier in New South Wales than Victoria. This Caladenia is uncommon in Victoria where it grows in scattered populations in forest and woodland east of Melbourne. It is more common in New South Wales where it usually grows in sandy soil in coastal forest and shrubland. It is probably the most common Caladenia in the Sydney region.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

ELSINORE, DENMARK

Kronborg is a castle and stronghold in the town of Helsingør, Denmark. Immortalised as Elsinore in William Shakespeare's play "Hamlet", Kronborg is one of the most important Renaissance castles in Northern Europe and has been added to UNESCO's World Heritage Sites list (2000).

The castle is situated on the extreme northeastern tip of the island of Zealand at the narrowest point of the Øresund, the sound between Denmark and Sweden. In this part, the sound is only 4 kilometres (2.5 mi) wide, hence the strategic importance of maintaining a coastal fortification at this location commanding one of the few outlets of the Baltic Sea.

This post is 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,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme.


Tuesday, 7 February 2017

WARRANDYTE, AUSTRALIA

Warrandyte is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 24 km north-east of Melbourne's Central Business District. Its local government area is the City of Manningham. At the 2011 Census, Warrandyte had a population of 5,520.

Warrandyte is bounded in the west by the Mullum Mullum Creek and Target Road, in the north by the Yarra River, in the east by Jumping Creek and Anzac Road, and in the south by an irregular line from Reynolds Road, north of Donvale, Park Orchards and Warrandyte South.

Warrandyte was founded as a Victorian town, located in the once gold-rich rolling hills east of Melbourne, and is now on the north-eastern boundary of suburban Melbourne. Gold was first discovered in the town in 1851 and together, with towns like Bendigo and Ballarat, led the way in gold discoveries during the Victorian gold rush.

Today Warrandyte retains much of its past in its surviving buildings of the Colonial period and remains a twin community with North Warrandyte, which borders the Yarra River to its north. The Warrandyte Road Bridge over the Yarra River connects Warrandyte with North Warrandyte. The first bridge was built in 1861, but after its demise, the current bridge was built in 1952.

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, 6 February 2017

PARKLANDS

At the Darebin Parklands in Melbourne.

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

Sunday, 5 February 2017

SPARKLING

Enjoying a glass of Australian sparkling wine at the Domaine Chandon tasting room in Melbourne's Yarra Valley.

This post is part of the Our Beautiful World meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme.


Saturday, 4 February 2017

SATURDAY SILHOUETTES #85 - THE LAST

Greetings to all friends who posted or visited the Saturday Silhouettes meme during the past 84 weeks of its existence.

All things come to an end, and it is time that this meme was retired as the interest in it has waned to the point that it is becoming a monologue for me.

As the moon sets in my neighbourhood with the silhouette of plane tree leaves against the sky, I leave you with a quote:

"Make it a habit to tell people thank you. To express your appreciation, sincerely and without the expectation of anything in return. Truly appreciate those around you, and you'll soon find many others around you. Truly appreciate life, and you'll find that you have more of it." - Ralph Marston

So thank you, visitors and friends, for the beautiful images we have shared!
This post is also part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Friday, 3 February 2017

CREPE MYRTLES

Lagerstroemia, commonly known as crepe myrtle, is a genus of around 50 species of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs native to the Indian Subcontinent, southeast Asia, northern Australia and parts of Oceania, cultivated in warmer climates around the world. It is a member of the Lythraceae, which is also known as the loosestrife family. The genus is named after the Swedish merchant Magnus von Lagerström, who supplied Carolus Linnaeus with plants he collected.

These flowering trees are beautifully coloured and are often planted both privately and commercially. Popular varieties used in modern landscaping include the bright red Dynamite Crepe Myrtle, the deep pink Pink Velour Crepe and the purple Twilight Crepe Myrtle, which also has a bark that changes colours. Crepe myrtles are chiefly known for their colourful and long-lasting flowers which occur in summer months. Most species of Lagerstroemia have sinewy, fluted stems and branches with a mottled appearance that arises from having bark that sheds throughout the year. The leaves are opposite, simple, with entire margins, and vary from 5–20 cm. While all species are woody in nature, they can range in height from over 30 metres to under one 30 cm, most, however are small to medium multiple-trunked trees and shrubs.

The leaves of temperate species provide autumn colour. Flowers are borne in Summer and Autumn in panicles of crinkled flowers with a crepe-like texture. Colours vary from deep purple to red to white, with almost every shade in between. Although no blue-flowered varieties exist, it is toward the blue end of the spectrum that the flowers trend, with no sight of orange or yellow except in stamens and pistils. The fruit is a capsule, green and succulent at first, then ripening to dark brown or black dryness. It splits along six or seven lines, producing teeth much like those of the calyx, and releases numerous, small, winged seeds.

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




Thursday, 2 February 2017

GAILLARDIA

Gaillardia or blanket flowers, are perennial daisies in the Asteraceae family. They are valued for their extended flowering season, blooming from early spring until late summer. The plants consist of low-growing, light-green foliage, and bear upright stems with large daisy-type flowers, most commonly in shades of yellow, orange, red and brown.

Gaillardia are hardy and require little maintenance once established. They are stunning in meadow gardens, rockeries, or used as filler or border plants. They are attractive to bees and butterflies and regular removal of the faded flowers will encourage constant blooming. 

Gaillardia galya offers a new range of single-flowering varieties. Flowers are produced in 
profusion on each individual plant – resulting in a stunning ball of colour in the garden. The continuous flowering of this series ensures the colour will last for months.They are available with a variety of different orange, yellow and red blooms. This particular one is the "Arizona Sun" hybrid.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,
and also part of the Orange you Glad It's Friday meme.

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

DELFT, HOLLAND

Delft is a city and a municipality in the Netherlands. It is located in the province of South Holland, to the north of Rotterdam and south of The Hague. Delft is known for its historic town centre with canals, Delft Blue pottery, the Delft University of Technology, painter Johannes Vermeer and scientist Antony van Leeuwenhoek, and its association with the royal House of Orange-Nassau.

Delftware or Delft pottery, also known as Delft Blue, is blue and white pottery made in and around Delft in the Netherlands and the tin-glazed pottery made in the Netherlands from the 16th century. Delftware in the latter sense is one of the types of tin-glazed earthenware or faience in which a white glaze is applied, usually decorated with metal oxides. It also forms part of the worldwide family of blue and white pottery, using variations of the plant-based decoration first developed in 14th century Chinese porcelain, and in great demand in Europe. Delftware includes pottery objects of all descriptions such as plates, ornaments and tiles. The most highly-regarded period of production is about 1640–1740.

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