A place where I post a photo each day, which you can download and use as a desktop image.
These are all my original photos and you are welcome to use them for your personal purposes. If you wish to use them commercially, please contact me.
Felicia amelloides (blue daisy, blue marguerite) is a species of flowering plant of the family Asteraceae, native to South Africa. F. amelloides is synonymous with, and formerly known as, F. aethiopica, Aster amelloides, Aster capensis, and Aster coelestis.
F. amelloides is an evergreen shrublet usually 30–60 cm tall by 50 cm wide, but sometimes up to 1 m tall, with densely branched and frequently dark red stems, and rough, hairy, ovate green leaves. Striking blue composite flowers with prominent yellow centres, about 30 mm in diameter, and borne on naked stalks up to 180 mm long.
This species is much cultivated, and in the temperate world is usually grown as a half-hardy annual in pots, window-boxes, hanging baskets, and other summer bedding schemes for parks and gardens. Drought- and wind-resistant, it requires a sheltered aspect in full sun, and does not tolerate frost.
The flora of South Africa and Australia is very distinctive with quite a few rich botanical families that provide a diverse and amazing bouquet of flowers. The Proteaceae (banksias, grevilleas, waratahs) and Myrtaceae (eucalypts, bottlebrushes, titrees, lillipillis) especially are well represented.Australia and New Zealand once formed part of a huge southern land mass now referred to as Gondwanaland, whereas northern hemisphere continents were once aggregated into Laurasia. Gondwanaland and Laurasia began to disaggregate about 160 million years ago. Prior to this time, the southern hemisphere land masses and India were connected into Gondwanaland, while North America, Europe and much of Asia formed Laurasia.
South Africa, Madagascar, India, South America, New Caledonia, New Zealand, Australia and various other fragments broke away and drifted northwards, leaving Antarctica behind. Australia and South America were the last major land masses to separate from Antarctica, Australia beginning slowly about 90 to 100 million years ago and establishing a deep ocean passage some 30 to 40 million years ago.
Here is a bouquet of the Gondwanaland flowers, readily available in florists throughout the world because of extensive flower exports from both South Africa and Australia.
The Azores (Portuguese: Açores), officially the Autonomous Region of the Azores (Região Autónoma dos Açores), is one of the two autonomous regions of Portugal, an archipelago composed of nine volcanic islands in the North Atlantic Ocean about 1,360 km west of continental Portugal, about 1,643 km west of Lisbon, in continental Portugal, about 1,507 km from the African coast, and about 1,925 km southeast of Newfoundland, Canada. Its main industries are agriculture, dairy farming, livestock, fishing, and tourism, which is becoming the major service activity in the region. In addition, the government of the Azores employs a large percentage of the population directly or indirectly in the service and tertiary sectors.
The main settlement of the Azores is Ponta Delgada. There are nine major Azorean islands and an islet cluster, in three main groups. These are Flores and Corvo, to the west; Graciosa, Terceira, São Jorge, Pico, and Faial in the centre; and São Miguel, Santa Maria, and the Formigas Reef to the east. They extend for more than 600 km and lie in a northwest-southeast direction. All the islands have volcanic origins, although some, such as Santa Maria, have had no recorded activity since the islands were settled. Mount Pico, on the island of Pico, is the highest point in Portugal, at 2,351 m. The Azores are actually some of the tallest mountains on the planet, measured from their base at the bottom of the ocean to their peaks, which thrust high above the surface of the Atlantic.
The climate of the Azores is very mild for such a northerly location, being influenced by its distance to continents and the passing Gulf Stream. Due to the marine influence, temperatures remain mild year-round. Daytime temperatures normally fluctuate between 16°C and 25°C depending on the season. Temperatures above 30°C or below 3°C are unknown in the major population centres. It is also generally wet and cloudy. The culture, dialect, cuisine, and traditions of the Azorean islands vary considerably, because these once-uninhabited and remote islands were settled sporadically over a span of two centuries.
We have had some abrupt changes in our weather over the last few days, with very warm, fine and sunny days typical of Spring last week, while over the weekend there was rain, wind and cold weather and even snow in the nearby mountains - definitely Autumn! A topsy-turvy, hemisphere-switching state of affairs! Happy Autumn to Northern Hemisphere friends, and for Southern Hemisphere mates, let's hope Spring comes and decides to stay, soon!