Friday, 23 June 2017

DESKTOP 1424 - HOPE

Hope sustains us in our darkest days and hope warms us in our coldest nights. Hope heals our wounds and hope makes our inner deserts begin to sprout with green again. - NJV

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

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

DESKTOP 1422 - XYLOKASTRO, GREECE

Xylokastro (Greek: Ξυλόκαστρο) is a seaside town and a former municipality in Corinthia in the Peloponnese, Greece. The name of the town means "wooden castle" in Greek. 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 resort on the Gulf of Corinth.

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


Monday, 19 June 2017

DESKTOP 1420 - LEAF LITTER

The plane trees ling our street have lost nearly all of their leaves by now and the leaf litter keeps everyone in the neighbourhood busy: Raking, collecting, composting, mulching... But before one cleans up, there are plenty of photo opportunities!

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

Sunday, 18 June 2017

DESKTOP 1419 - CHINESE GARDEN

The Chinese Garden of Friendship was built as a symbol of the friendship between Sydney and Guangzhuo in China, to mark Australia’s bicentenary in 1988. The garden was designed and built by Chinese landscape architects and gardeners following the Taoist principles of 'Yin-Yang' and the five opposite elements—earth, fire, water, metal and wood. These principles also stress the importance of Qi, the central force of life and energy.

Yin-Yang plays such a vital role that just one missing element would disrupt the garden's harmony and balance. However when combined perfectly, the five elements form a fluid and nurturing environment. Everything you encounter in the garden has been hand-picked and meticulously placed to capture the five elements and the energy of Qi. Even the buildings meld with the landscape and complement the sinuous lines of the trees and vegetation.

Unlike western-style gardens, there are no planted flowerbeds or manicured lawns. Instead, wild aspects of nature are recreated in landscapes that feature waterfalls, mountains, lakes and forests.The art of Chinese Garden design began in imperial parks during the Shang dynasty 3,000 years ago. Later they flourished on a smaller scale in the private gardens of China's rich and powerful. Darling Harbour’s Chinese Garden of Friendship is a small-scale version of a typical private garden from this era.


This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Thursday, 15 June 2017

DESKTOP 1416 - CORREA

Correa is a genus of flowering plants in the family Rutaceae, with bell-shaped flowers, native mainly to eastern Australia. There are about 11 species in the genus and 26 subspecies. Natural hybridisation between the species makes taxonomic relationships within this genus problematic.

There are also hundreds of named cultivars, many of which have been registered with the Australian Cultivar Registration Authority (ACRA). The genus Correa is named after the Portuguese botanist José Correia da Serra (1750–1823), known as Abbé Correa.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 13 June 2017

DESKTOP 1414 - SAHARA

The Sahara (Arabic: الصحراء الكبرى‎‎, aṣ-ṣaḥrāʾ al-kubrā , 'the Greatest Desert') is the largest hot desert and the third largest desert in the world after Antarctica and the Arctic. Its area of 9,200,000 square kilometres is comparable to the area of the United States. The desert comprises much of North Africa, excluding the fertile region on the Mediterranean Sea coast, the Atlas Mountains of the Maghreb, and the Nile Valley in Egypt and Sudan

It stretches from the Red Sea in the east and the Mediterranean in the north to the Atlantic Ocean in the west, where the landscape gradually changes from desert to coastal plains. To the south, it is bounded by the Sahel, a belt of semi-arid tropical savanna around the Niger River valley and the Sudan Region of Sub-Saharan Africa. The Sahara can be divided into several regions including: The western Sahara, the central Ahaggar Mountains, the Tibesti Mountains, the Aïr Mountains, the Ténéré desert, and the Libyan Desert. The name 'Sahara' is derived from ṣaḥārā (‏صحارى‎, pronounced /ˈsˤaħaːraː/), the plural of the Arabic word for "desert".

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.

Monday, 12 June 2017

DESKTOP 1413 - BLENDED VISTAS

This is an image created from three separate photos of different locations and layered together so as to form a horizontal mosaic of three component parts: Sky; mountains; and flowering field.

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.

Saturday, 10 June 2017

DESKTOP 1411 - YARRA BEND PARK

Vista of the Yarra River in suburban Melbourne, about 4 km from the CBD. Yarra Bend Park is an amazing nature reserve in the midst of the City.

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

Thursday, 8 June 2017

DESKTOP 1409 - ERYNGIUM

Eryngium is a genus of flowering plants in the family Apiaceae. There are about 250 species. The genus has a cosmopolitan distribution, with the centre of diversity in South America. Common names include eryngo and amethyst sea holly (though the genus is not related to the true hollies, Ilex). These are annual and perennial herbs with hairless and usually spiny leaves. The dome-shaped umbels of steely blue or white flowers have whorls of spiny basal bracts. Some species are native to rocky and coastal areas, but the majority are grassland plants. In the language of flowers, they represent admiration.

Species are grown as ornamental plants in gardens. Numerous hybrids have been selected for garden use, of which E. × oliverianum and E. × tripartitum have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. Many species of Eryngium have been used as food and medicine.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

DESKTOP 1407 - STONEHENGE, UK

Stonehenge is a prehistoric monument in Wiltshire, England, 3 km west of Amesbury and 13 km north of Salisbury. It consists of a ring of standing stones, with each standing stone around 4.1 metres high, 2.1 metres wide and weighing around 25 tons. The stones are set within earthworks in the middle of the most dense complex of Neolithic and Bronze Age monuments in England, including several hundred burial mounds.

Archaeologists believe it was constructed from 3000 BC to 2000 BC. The surrounding circular earth bank and ditch, which constitute the earliest phase of the monument, have been dated to about 3100 BC. Radiocarbon dating suggests that the first bluestones were raised between 2400 and 2200 BC, although they may have been at the site as early as 3000 BC.

One of the most famous landmarks in the UK, Stonehenge is regarded as a British cultural icon. It has been a legally protected Scheduled Ancient Monument since 1882 when legislation to protect historic monuments was first successfully introduced in Britain. The site and its surroundings were added to UNESCO's list of World Heritage Sites in 1986. Stonehenge is owned by the Crown and managed by English Heritage; the surrounding land is owned by the National Trust.

Stonehenge could have been a burial ground from its earliest beginnings. Deposits containing human bone date from as early as 3000 BC, when the ditch and bank were first dug, and continued for at least another five hundred years.

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.

Thursday, 1 June 2017

DESKTOP 1402 - CRASSULA

Crassula ovata, commonly known as jade plant, friendship tree, lucky plant, or money tree, is a succulent plant with small pink or white flowers in the Crassulaceae family. It is native to South Africa and Mozambique, and is common as a houseplant worldwide. It is sometimes referred to as the money tree; however, Pachira aquatica also receives this nickname.

The jade plant is an evergreen with thick branches. It has thick, shiny, smooth, leaves that grow in opposing pairs along the branches. Leaves are a rich jade green, although some may appear to be more of a yellow-green. Some varieties may develop a red tinge on the edges of leaves when exposed to high levels of sunlight. New stem growth is the same colour and texture as the leaves, but becomes brown and woody with age. Under the right conditions, they may produce small white or pink star-like flowers in early spring.

Numerous varieties and cultivars have been selected, of which C. ovata 'Hummel's Sunset' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. As a succulent, Crassula ovata requires little water in the summer, and even less in the winter. It is susceptible to overwatering. C. ovata may attain a red tinge around its leaves when grown with bright sunlight. In more extreme cases, the green colour of the plant is lost and can be replaced by yellow. This is caused by the jade plant making pigments such as carotenoids to protect from harsh sunlight and ultraviolet rays.

The jade plant does best in rich, well-draining soil. The plant flowers in the wintertime, particularly during a cooler, darker, dry spell. C. ovata is sometimes attacked by mealybugs, a common nuisance of the succulents. The jade plant is known for its ease of propagation, which can occur by clippings or even stray leaves which fall from the plant. Jade plants propagate readily from both with success rates higher with cuttings. In the wild, vegetative propagation is the jade plant's main method of reproduction. Branches regularly fall off wild jade plants and these branches may root and form new plants.

Like many succulents, jade plants can be propagated from just the swollen leaves which grow in pairs on the stems. While propagation methods may vary, most will follow similar steps. Typically, the wounds on the leaves are left to dry and callus forms over them. Then the leaves are placed in or on soil. Roots begin to grow on severed leaves about four weeks after being removed from the stem. Environmental factors such as temperature and humidity affect the speed at which the roots and new plant develop. Foliage usually appears soon after new roots have formed. 

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

DESKTOP 1400 - CRETAN BEACH

Crete (Greek: Κρήτη, Kríti) is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, 88th-largest island in the world and the fifth-largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, after Sicily, Sardinia, Cyprus, and Corsica. Crete and a number of surrounding islands and islets constitute the region of Crete (Greek: Περιφέρεια Κρήτης), one of the 13 top-level administrative units of Greece.

The capital and the largest city is Heraklion. As of 2011, the region had a population of 623,065. Crete forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece, while retaining its own local cultural traits (such as its own poetry and music). It was once the centre of the Minoan civilization (c. 2700–1420 BC), which is currently regarded as the earliest recorded civilization in Europe.

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.

Monday, 29 May 2017

DESKTOP 1399 - COFFEE

Help yourself to a virtual cappuccino!

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.

Friday, 26 May 2017

DESKTOP 1396 - MANDARINS

Mandarins are in season now in Melbourne, and nothing better than picking them from your own tree when they are at their ripest and juiciest!

This post is part of the Friday Photo Journal,
and also part of the Orange you Glad It's Friday meme,
and also part of the My Town Shootout meme.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

DESKTOP 1395 - ENGLISH DAISIES

Bellis perennis is a common European species of daisy, of the Asteraceae family, often considered the archetypal species of that name. Many related plants also share the name "daisy", so to distinguish this species from other daisies it is sometimes qualified as common daisy, lawn daisy or English daisy.

Historically, it has also been commonly known as bruisewort and occasionally woundwort (although the common name woundwort is now more closely associated with Stachys). Bellis perennis is native to western, central and northern Europe, but widely naturalised in most temperate regions including the Americas and Australasia.

B. perennis generally blooms from early to midsummer, although when grown under ideal conditions, they have a very long flowering season and will even produce a few flowers in the middle of mild winters. Numerous single- and double-flowered varieties are in cultivation, producing flat or spherical blooms in a range of sizes (1 cm to 6 cm) and colours (red, pink & white). They are generally grown from seed as biennial bedding plants. They can also be purchased as plugs in Spring.

The cultivar 'Tasso series' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.This daisy may be used as a potherb. Young leaves can be eaten raw in salads or cooked, noting that the leaves become increasingly astringent with age. Flower buds and petals can be eaten raw in sandwiches, soups and salads. It is also used as a tea and as a vitamin supplement.

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

Tuesday, 23 May 2017

DESKTOP 1393 - WHITE CLIFFS OF DOVER

The White Cliffs of Dover are cliffs that form part of the English coastline facing the Strait of Dover and France. The cliffs are part of the North Downs formation. The cliff face, which reaches up to 110 m, owes its striking appearance to its composition of chalk accented by streaks of black flint. The cliffs stretch along the coastline for 13 km, spreading east and west from the town of Dover in the county of Kent, an ancient and still important English port.

The cliffs have great symbolic value in Britain because they face towards continental Europe across the narrowest part of the English Channel, where invasions have historically threatened and against which the cliffs form a symbolic guard. The National Trust calls the cliffs "an icon of Britain", with "the white chalk face a symbol of home and war time defence." Because crossing at Dover was the primary route to the continent before the advent of air travel, the white line of cliffs also formed the first or last sight of Britain for travellers. In World War II, thousands of allied troops on the little ships in the Dunkirk evacuation saw the welcoming sight of the cliffs.

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.

And one cannot forget the classic Vera Lynn song in this context:

Sunday, 21 May 2017

DESKTOP 1391 - CD SURFACE

You are looking at the surface of a music CD magnified about 400 times, a photomicrograph I took with a laser reflecting microscope.

The surface of a CD is made of a polycarbonate layer with moulded spiral tracks on the top. The data are stored on the CD as a series of minute grooves which are known as ‘pits’ encoded on these spiral tracks. The areas between the ‘pits’ are known as ‘lands’. In the photo, the ‘lands’ are the dark blue-black colour and the ‘pits’ are the various lighter colours, with red representing the deepest area of the ‘pits’.

These pits and lands do not represent the 1s and 0s, rather each change from pit to land or land to pit is interpreted as 0 while no change is read as 1. When you play the CD, the Read Laser bounces the light beams (not capable to modify the surface of CD) on the surface and detects the pits and lands. Each change between pit to land or vice versa is translated as zero and no change (pit to pit or land to land) is translated as one. These binary values form the actual data.

In case you are wondering, the CD is Beethoven's Symphony No 5 in C minor, op 67...

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Thursday, 18 May 2017

DESKTOP 1388 - MONTBRETIA

Montbretias belong in the the Iridaceae family of bulbs, the Crocosmias having originated in Southern Africa. Montbretia is a hardy member of the Crocosmia group and is very easy to grow. Crocosmia × crocosmiiflora (Montbretia) is a garden hybrid of C. aurea and C. pottsii, first bred by Victor Lemoine in 1880. The variety illustrated here is ‘His Majesty’.

The orange flowers are trumpet shaped and appear alternately along the stems. The leaves are long and narrow.This is one of the few summer flowers in our garden that make a pretty display and can grow wildly. Some people call this a "wild gladiolus", but the wild gladiolus is pinkish in colour.

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

Tuesday, 16 May 2017

DESKTOP 1386 - BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA

Brisbane is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Queensland, and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of 2.24 million, and the South East Queensland urban conurbation, centred on Brisbane, encompasses a population of more than 3 million.

The Brisbane central business district stands on the original European settlement and is situated inside a bend of the Brisbane River, approximately 15 kilometres from its mouth at Moreton Bay. The metropolitan area extends in all directions along the floodplain of the Brisbane River valley between Moreton Bay and the Great Dividing Range. The metropolitan area sprawls across several of Australia's most populous local government areas, including the City of Brisbane, which is by far the most populous LGA in the nation.

The demonym of Brisbane is Brisbanite. Brisbane is named after the Brisbane River on which it is located, which in turn was named after Scotsman Sir Thomas Brisbane, the Governor of New South Wales from 1821 to 1825. The first European settlement in Queensland was a penal colony at Redcliffe, 28 kilometres north of the central business district, which was founded in 1824. That settlement was soon abandoned and moved to North Quay in 1825. Free settlers were permitted from 1842. Brisbane was chosen as the capital when Queensland was proclaimed a separate colony from New South Wales in 1859.

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.

Friday, 12 May 2017

Thursday, 11 May 2017

DESKTOP 1381 - YUCCA

Yucca is a genus of perennial shrubs and trees in the family Asparagaceae, subfamily Agavoideae. Its 40-50 species are notable for their rosettes of evergreen, tough, sword-shaped leaves and large terminal panicles of white or whitish flowers. They are native to the hot and dry (arid) parts of North America, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean.

Early reports of the species were confused with the cassava (Manihot esculenta). Consequently, Linnaeus mistakenly derived the generic name from the Taíno word for the latter, yuca (spelt with a single "c"). It is also colloquially known in the Midwest United States as "ghosts in the graveyard", as it is commonly found growing in rural graveyards and when in bloom the cluster of (usually pale) flowers on a thin stalk appear as floating apparitions.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

DESKTOP 1380 - ROME

An iconic view of the Tiber River and the Castel Sant' Angelo in Rome.

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.