Thursday, 22 February 2018

WHITE ECHIUM

Echium candicans (syn. Echium fastuosum J.Jacq.), commonly known as pride of Madeira, is a species of flowering plant in the family Boraginaceae, native to the island of Madeira. It is a large herbaceous perennial subshrub, growing to 1.5–2.5 m. In the first year after germination the plant produces a broad rosette of leaves. In the second and subsequent years more or less woody flowering stalks are produced clothed in rough leaves. The flower head is large and covered with white or blue flowers having red stamens. The Latin specific epithet candicans means “shining white”, referring to one colour form of this species. It is much visited by bees and butterflies for its nectar. 

Echium candicans is cultivated in the horticulture trade and widely available throughout the world as an ornamental plant for traditional and drought tolerant water conserving gardens. It is particularly suitable for coastal planting, and is a popular ornamental in coastal California. With a minimum temperature requirement of 5–7 °C, in frost-prone areas it needs some winter protection. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

In California, it is also an invasive species. It is removed from native plant communities as part of habitat restoration efforts in coastal parks such as the Golden Gate National Recreation Area. In New Zealand it is a common garden escape onto road-side verges and shingle banks throughout the drier parts of the two principal islands. In the state of Victoria, Australia, it is considered to be a high weed risk and an alert has been posted by the Department of Primary Industries.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

GREEN IN SUMMER

Mild summers with some rain allows vegetation to remain green and provide a cool shady spot for Melburnians to relax in...

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

Tuesday, 20 February 2018

VALENCIA, SPAIN

Valencia on the east coast of Spain, is the capital of the autonomous community of Valencia and the third-largest city in Spain after Madrid and Barcelona, with around 800,000 inhabitants in the administrative centre. Its urban area extends beyond the administrative city limits with a population of around 1.5–1.6 million people. Valencia is Spain's third largest metropolitan area, with a population ranging from 1.7 to 2.5 million depending on how the metropolitan area is defined.

The Port of Valencia is the 5th busiest container port in Europe and the busiest container port on the Mediterranean Sea. The city is ranked at Gamma+ in the Globalization and World Cities Research Network. Valencia is integrated into an industrial area on the Costa del Azahar (Orange Blossom Coast).

Valencia was founded as a Roman colony by the consul Decimus Junius Brutus Callaicus in 138 BC, and called Valentia Edetanorum. In 714 Moroccan and Arab Moors occupied the city, introducing their language, religion and customs; they implemented improved irrigation systems and the cultivation of new crops as well, being capital of the Taifa of Valencia. In 1238 the Christian king James I of Aragon reconquered the city and divided the land among the nobles who helped him conquer it, as witnessed in the Llibre del Repartiment. He also created a new law for the city, the Furs of Valencia, which were extended to the rest of the Kingdom of Valencia.

In the 18th century Philip V of Spain abolished the privileges as punishment to the kingdom of Valencia for aligning with the Habsburg side in the War of the Spanish Succession. Valencia was the capital of Spain when Joseph Bonaparte moved the Court there in the summer of 1812. It also served as capital between 1936 and 1937, during the Second Spanish Republic. The city is situated on the banks of the Turia, on the east coast of the Iberian Peninsula, fronting the Gulf of Valencia on the Mediterranean Sea.

Its historic centre is one of the largest in Spain, with approximately 169 ha (420 acres); this heritage of ancient monuments, views and cultural attractions makes Valencia one of the country's most popular tourist destinations. Due to its long history, this is a city with numerous popular celebrations and traditions, such as the Fallas (when you can taste the traditional Spanish dish paella), which were declared as Fiestas of National Tourist Interest of Spain in 1965 and Intangible cultural heritage by UNESCO in November 2016. In 2015, Joan Ribó, from Coalició Compromís, became mayor.

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 February 2018

OBJETS TROUVÉS

objet trouvé | ˈtruːveɪ | noun (plural objets trouvés pronounced same) an object found by an artist and displayed with no, or minimal, alteration as a work of art.
ORIGIN French, literally ‘found object’.

On a walk a couple of days ago I took some photos of various objects discarded on the sidewalk, the street, on roadside verges. Here is a mosaic of some of them.

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday 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, 18 February 2018

MY SUNDAY BEST MEME #55 - IN THE DEAD OF WINTER

Welcome to the 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!
This post is part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Saturday, 17 February 2018

CORMORANT

The Australian pied cormorant, Phalacrocorax varius, also known as the pied cormorant, pied shag, or great pied cormorant, is a medium-sized member of the cormorant family. It is found around the coasts of Australasia. In New Zealand it is usually known either as the pied shag or by its Māori name of Kāruhiruhi. Older sources may refer to it as the "yellow-faced cormorant".

In New Zealand its range on the east coast extends as far south as Christchurch, though this is a recent extension—older books report it no further south than Kaikoura. In Australia it is only moderately common in the eastern states, but abundant in the west.

Although typically found in marine habitat—sometimes solitary, sometimes in pairs, sometimes in vast flocks of hundreds or thousands—it is also attracted to inland waters, including lakes, deep and open swamps, and rivers. The pied cormorant appears to feed largely on benthic fish. It will dive both in shallow, still water and in rapidly moving currents. Typical dive times are around 40 seconds, with a recovery period of 10–15 seconds between dives.

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




Friday, 16 February 2018

SUMMER AFTERNOON

A lazy Summer afternoon, walking leisurely in the shade of the trees, enjoying the warmth. The sky blue and clear reflected in the still pond waters. How fortunate to be able to enjoy such serenity!

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Friday Photo Journal meme
and also part of the Weekend Green meme


Thursday, 15 February 2018

MICHELIA

Michelia is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the Magnolia family (Magnoliaceae). The genus includes about 50 species of evergreen trees and shrubs, native to tropical and subtropical south and southeast Asia (Indomalaya), including southern China. The Magnoliaceae are an ancient family; fossil plants identifiably belonging to the Magnoliaceae back date back 95 million years.

A primitive aspect of the Magnolia family is that their large, cup-shaped flowers lack distinct petals or sepals. The large non-specialised flower parts, resembling petals, are called tepals. The leaves, flowers, and form of Michelia resemble Magnolia, but the blossoms of Michelia generally form clusters among the leaves, rather than singly at the branch ends as Magnolia does. Several of the larger species are locally important sources of timber. Some species, including the Champak (Michelia champaca) and M. doltsopa are grown for their flowers, both on the tree and as cut flowers. Champak flowers are also used to produce an essential oil for perfume.

A few species have been introduced to gardens or as street trees outside of the Indomalaya region, including Michelia figo, M. doltsopa, and M. champaca. The genus is named after the Florentine botanist Pietro Antonio Micheli (1679–1737). The form shown here is Michelia x alba, a hybridised form not found in the wild and very popular as a garden ornamental. It is rather fashionable in Melbourne at the moment to plant these trees in one's garden!

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

FLORENCE, ITALY

Florence (Italian: Firenze) is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with 383,083 inhabitants in 2013, and over 1,520,000 in its metropolitan area.

Florence was a centre of medieval European trade and finance and one of the wealthiest cities of that era. 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 Florentine dialect forms the base of Standard Italian and it became the language of culture throughout Italy due to the prestige of the masterpieces by Dante Alighieri, Petrarch, Giovanni Boccaccio, Niccolò Machiavelli and Francesco Guicciardini.

The city attracts millions of tourists each year, and the Historic Centre of Florence 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 15 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 Travel Tuesday meme
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

CALAIS, FRANCE

Calais is a town and major ferry port in northern France in the department of Pas-de-Calais, of which it is a sub-prefecture. Although Calais is by far the largest city in Pas-de-Calais, the department's prefecture is its third-largest city of Arras. The population of the metropolitan area at the 2010 census was 126,395. Calais overlooks the Strait of Dover, the narrowest point in the English Channel, which is only 34 km wide here, and is the closest French town to England. The White Cliffs of Dover can easily be seen on a clear day from Calais.

Calais is a major port for ferries between France and England, and since 1994, the Channel Tunnel has linked nearby Coquelles to Folkestone by rail. Due to its position, Calais since the Middle Ages has been a major port and a very important centre for transport and trading with England. It was annexed by Edward III of England in 1347 and grew into a thriving centre for wool production. The town came to be called the "brightest jewel in the English crown" owing to its great importance as the gateway for the tin, lead, lace and wool trades (or "staples"). Calais was a territorial possession of England until its capture by France in 1558.

The town was virtually razed to the ground during World War II, when in May 1940, it was a strategic bombing target of the invading German forces who took the town during the Siege of Calais. During World War II, the Germans built massive bunkers along the coast in preparation for launching missiles on England. The old part of the town, Calais proper (known as Calais-Nord), is situated on an artificial island surrounded by canals and harbours. The modern part of the town, St-Pierre, lies to the south and south-east. In the centre of the old town is the Place d'Armes, in which stands the Tour du Guet, or watch-tower, a structure built in the 13th century, which was used as a lighthouse until 1848 when a new lighthouse was built by the port.

South east of the Place is the church of Notre-Dame, built during the English occupancy of Calais. It is arguably the only church built in the English perpendicular style in all of France. In this church former French President Charles de Gaulle married his wife Yvonne Vendroux. South of the Place and opposite the Parc St Pierre is the Hôtel-de-ville (the town hall), and the belfry from the 16th and early 17th centuries. Today, Calais is visited by more than 10 million annually. Aside from being a key transport hub, Calais is also a notable fishing port and a centre for fish marketing, and some 3,000 people are still employed in the lace industry for which the town is also famed.

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, 12 February 2018

MELBOURNE AIR & WATER

The Yarra River or historically, the Yarra Yarra River, (Aboriginal: Birrarung, and Wongete) is a perennial river in east-central Victoria, Australia. The lower stretches of the river are where the city of Melbourne was established in 1835 and today Greater Melbourne dominates and influences the landscape of its lower reaches.

From its source in the Yarra Ranges, it flows 242 kilometres west through the Yarra Valley which opens out into plains as it winds its way through Greater Melbourne before emptying into Hobsons Bay in northernmost Port Phillip. The river was a major food source and meeting place for indigenous Australians from prehistoric times. Shortly after the arrival of European settlers land clearing forced the remaining Wurundjeri to neighbouring territories and away from the river.

Originally called Birrarung by the Wurundjeri, the current name was mistranslated from another Wurundjeri term in the Boonwurrung language; Yarro-yarro, meaning "ever-flowing".

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

Sunday, 11 February 2018

MY SUNDAY BEST MEME #53 - COUNTRY ROAD

Welcome to the 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!
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 My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Friday, 9 February 2018

SUMMER SUNSET

As the day draws to a close, so does our thought turn to the end of our life. Sunsets are beautiful as they concentrate in them al the memories of that day that is ending. As our life passes we move on to gentler, more meditative pursuits, such as admiring the sun setting. We watch the sun disappear and we think of our life's journey and its approaching end...

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, 8 February 2018

PENTAS

Pentas is a genus of flowering plants in the Rubiaceae family. The genus is found in tropical and southern Africa, the Comoros, Madagascar, and the Arabian Peninsula. The plants have hairy green leaves and clusters of flowers in shades of red, white, pink, and purple. Pentas are attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. Some species are commonly cultivated and can be grown in pots and baskets. Species such as Pentas lanceolata can withstand full sunlight and need little to no care, growing even in locations that are dry and hot.

Growing into a shrub anywhere from about 50-80cm tall, pentas have dark green, pleated leaves, and bear numerous heads containing dozens of small, star-shaped flowers. The nectar-rich flowers are very attractive to bees and butterflies, so you will have the added bonus of enjoying watching these visitors to your garden. The flowers are also good for cutting, lasting a week or more in a vase. Pentas flower almost year round, and thrive in full sun or part shade. A thoroughly neglected pentas may look a bit shabby but it will come back beautifully after a hard prune.

The hybrid called Starcluster has huge flowers on tall, sturdy stems. They are fabulous in pots or in garden beds, and are available in red, lavender, white and rose. They are well branched and compact in habit, and have been bred to perform well in hot summer conditions.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.



Wednesday, 7 February 2018

ESPLANADE

esplanade | ˌɛspləˈneɪd, ˌɛspləˈnɑːd | noun a long, open, level area, typically beside the sea, along which people may walk for pleasure. • an open, level space separating a fortress from a town.
ORIGIN late 16th century (denoting an area of flat ground on top of a rampart): from French, from Italian spianata, from Latin explanatus ‘flattened, levelled’, from explanare

St Kilda is an inner suburb of the metropolitan area of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 6 km south-east of Melbourne's Central Business District. Its local government area is the City of Port Phillip. At the 2011 Census, St Kilda had a population of 17,795. St Kilda was named after a schooner, Lady of St Kilda (which moored at the main beach for much of 1841) by Charles La Trobe, and the ship's master and early settler Lieutenant James Ross Lawrence.

During the Victorian and Edwardian eras, St Kilda became a favoured suburb of Melbourne's elite, and many palatial mansions were constructed along its hills and waterfront. Shortly after the turn of the 20th century, St Kilda served a similar function for Melburnians as did Coney Island to the residents of New York City and its history draws an interesting parallel.

Densely populated postwar St Kilda became Melbourne's red-light district, home to low-cost rooming houses. Since the late 1960s, St Kilda has become known for its culture of bohemianism and as home to many prominent artists, musicians and subcultures, including punk and LGBT. While some of these groups still maintain a presence in St Kilda, in recent years the district has experienced rapid gentrification pushing many lower socio-economic groups out to other areas.

St Kilda is home to many of Melbourne's famous visitor attractions including Luna Park, the Esplanade Hotel, Acland Street and Fitzroy Street. It is home to St Kilda Beach, Melbourne's most famous beach, several renowned theatres and several of Melbourne's big events and festivals.

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





Tuesday, 6 February 2018

GEORGETOWN, SC, USA

Georgetown is the third oldest city in the U.S. state of South Carolina and the county seat of Georgetown County, in the Lowcountry. As of the 2010 census it had a population of 9,163. Located on Winyah Bay at the confluence of the Black, Great Pee Dee, Waccamaw, and Sampit rivers, Georgetown is the second largest seaport in South Carolina, handling over 960,000 tons of materials a year. Georgetown is also the birthplace of former First Lady Michelle Obama's grandfather, Fraser Robinson. Many of Michelle Obama's relatives still reside in Georgetown.

The Georgetown Historic District contains more than fifty homes, public buildings and sites which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Other sites on the National Register include Annandale Plantation, Arcadia Plantation, Battery White, Belle Isle Rice Mill Chimney, Beneventum Plantation House, Black River Plantation House, Brookgreen Gardens, Chicora Wood Plantation, Fairfield Rice Mill Chimney, Friendfield Plantation, Georgetown Light, Hobcaw Barony, Hopsewee, Keithfield Plantation, Mansfield Plantation, Milldam Rice Mill and Rice Barn, Minim Island Shell Midden (38GE46), Nightingale Hall Rice Mill Chimney, Old Market Building, Pee Dee River Rice Planters Historic District, Prince George Winyah Episcopal Church, Joseph H. Rainey House, Rural Hall Plantation House, Weehaw Rice Mill Chimney, Wicklow Hall Plantation, and Winyah Indigo School.

Heritage tourism has become a booming business in Georgetown. In addition, many retirees have chosen to settle in this area of beaches, plantations redeveloped as residential communities, and pleasant climate. We had a very pleasant visit in this part of the world and once again we found the people here friendly and courteous to visitors.

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 February 2018

YARRA BEND PARK

Yarra Bend Park has been one of Melbourne’s largest expanses of inner suburban parkland for nearly 150 years. Yarra Bend Park and neighbouring Studley Park were reserved in 1877. Both park areas and several reserves were combined in 1929 to create one large park. The combined area became known as Yarra Bend National Park despite never being raised to formal national park status.

During the 1930’s additions included picnic and sporting grounds, toilet facilities and a public golf course. The Yarra Bend Golf Club House, officially opened in May 1936, is an original example of American ‘Country Club’ type architecture. The Park provides a great open space for walking, bike riding, riverside cafes, golf, boating, BBQs, picnicking and a host of other leisure activities.

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday 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, 4 February 2018

MY SUNDAY BEST MEME #52 - CHERRIES

Welcome to the 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!
This post is part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

PURPLE SWAMP HENS

The Australasian swamphen (Porphyrio melanotus), family Rallidae, is a species of swamphen occurring in eastern Indonesia, the Moluccas, Aru and Kai Islands, as well as in Papua New Guinea and Australia. It is also found in New Zealand where it is known as the Pūkeko, derived from the Māori language. The Australasian swamphen previously was considered a subspecies of the purple swamphen (Porphyrio porphyrio).

For such a bulky bird, the Swamphen is an accomplished flier and will readily take to the air to escape danger. In flight, the long legs and elongated toes trail behind or hang underneath the body. Purple Swamphens are proficient swimmers, but prefer to wander on the edges of the water, among reeds and on floating vegetation.

The diet of the Purple Swamphen includes the soft shoots of reeds and rushes and small animals, such as frogs and snails. However, it is a reputed egg stealer and will also eat ducklings when it can catch them. The Purple Swamphen uses its long toes to grasp food while eating.

Purple Swamphens are generally found in small groups and studies have shown that these consist of more males than females. More than one male will mate with a single female. All family members, and occasionally the young from a previous brood, share in incubation and care of the young. The nest consists of a platform of trampled reeds with the surrounding vegetation sometimes being used to form a shelter. Often two broods will be raised in a year.

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



Friday, 2 February 2018

SUPER BLUE BLOOD MOON

On January 31, 2018, it was the first time in 35 years that a blue moon synced up with a super moon and a total lunar eclipse, or blood moon because of its red hue. A blue moon is a full moon that occurs a second time in the same calendar month, while blood moon is the name we give to the moon during an eclipse. The red /orange appearance is caused by the light filtering and bending properties of our atmosphere. The "super moon" applies when the moon appears bigger because it is closer than normal to the Earth. NASA is calling it a lunar trifecta: The first super blue blood moon since 1982. That combination won't happen again until 2037.

We had a cloudy day in Melbourne on the 31st, and people were disappointed that we would be unable to watch the eclipse. In the evening, however, the sky cleared and lo and behold, the super blue blood moon did indeed appear and it did not disappoint!

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.