Friday, 29 June 2018

DESKTOP 1794 - WINTER SUN

The sun rising on a cold Winter's morning in the Darebin Parklands in the Melbourne suburbs.

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

Thursday, 28 June 2018

DESKTOP 1793 - HIPPEASTRUM

Hippeastrum is a genus of about 90 species and over 600 hybrids and cultivars of perennial herbaceous bulbous plants. They generally have large fleshy bulbs and tall broad leaves, generally evergreen, and large red or purple flowers. Hippeastrum is a genus in the family Amaryllidaceae. The name Hippeastrum, given to it by William Herbert, means "Knight's-star-lily", although precisely what Herbert meant by the name is not certain. For many years there was confusion among botanists over the generic names Amaryllis and Hippeastrum, one result of which is that the common name "amaryllis" is mainly used for cultivars of this genus, often sold as indoor flowering bulbs particularly at Christmas in the northern hemisphere. By contrast the generic name Amaryllis applies to bulbs from South Africa, usually grown outdoors.

The genus is native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas from Argentina north to Mexico and the Caribbean. Reproduction is generally by allogamy (cross-pollination) and Hippeastrum may be propagated by seed or offset bulbils (bulblets), although commercial ventures use in vitro techniques, or splitting of the bulb into sections. The genus has been intensely bred and cultivated since the early nineteenth century to produce large colourful showy flowers. In temperate climes these can be placed outside in the summer, and after a dormancy period, be induced to rebloom inside in the winter.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 27 June 2018

DESKTOP 1792 - YELLOW

Yellow as in maize kernels, or corn kernels as they are known in US English. Maize (Zea mays subsp. mays, from Spanish: Maíz after Taíno mahiz), also known as corn, is a cereal grain first domesticated by indigenous peoples in southern Mexico about 10,000 years ago. The leafy stalk of the plant produces separate pollen and ovuliferous inflorescences or ears, which are fruits, yielding kernels or seeds. Maize has become a staple food in many parts of the world, with total production surpassing that of wheat or rice. However, not all of this maize is consumed directly by humans. Some of the maize production is used for corn ethanol, animal feed and other maize products, such as corn starch and corn syrup. The six major types of corn are dent corn, flint corn, pod corn, popcorn, flour corn, and sweet corn.

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

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

DESKTOP 1791 - PERTH, AUSTRALIA

Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia. It is the fourth most populous city in Australia, with an estimated population of 1.74 million living in the Perth metropolitan area. Part of the South West Land Division of Western Australia, the majority of the metropolitan area of Perth is located on the Swan Coastal Plain, a narrow strip between the Indian Ocean and the Darling Scarp, a low coastal escarpment.
 
The first areas settled were on the Swan River, with the city's central business district and port (Fremantle) both still located on the river. Perth's metropolitan area is formally divided into a number of local government areas, which themselves consist of a large number of suburbs, extending from Two Rocks in the north to Rockingham in the south, and east inland to The Lakes.

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, 25 June 2018

DESKTOP 1790 - VENUS, MOON, SUN

Except for the Sun, the Moon and Venus are the two brightest objects in the sky. You just can’t miss them. Astronomers measure relative brightness of objects in the sky with a term called magnitude.

The Sun has the highest magnitude of any object in the sky, at -26.73 apparent magnitude. The brightness of the Moon, for comparison, has a magnitude of -12.6. These numbers are done on a logarithmic scale. So the brightness of the Sun is actually 449,000 times brighter than the full moon. The maximum brightness of Venus is -4.7 magnitude, which is a fraction of the brightness of the Moon (and the Sun!).

Here is a composite image of Venus, the crescent moon and the sun, setting.

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,
and also part of the Blue Monday.

Sunday, 24 June 2018

DESKTOP 1789 - GRAND CANYON

The Grand Canyon (Hopi: Ongtupqa; Yavapai: Wi:kaʼi:la, Navajo: Tsékooh Hatsoh, Spanish: Gran Cañón) is a steep-sided canyon carved by the Colorado River in Arizona, United States. The Grand Canyon is 446 km long, up to 29 km wide and attains a depth of 1,857 meters. The canyon and adjacent rim are contained within Grand Canyon National Park, the Kaibab National Forest, Grand Canyon-Parashant National Monument, the Hualapai Indian Reservation, the Havasupai Indian Reservation and the Navajo Nation.

President Theodore Roosevelt was a major proponent of preservation of the Grand Canyon area, and visited it on numerous occasions to hunt and enjoy the scenery. Nearly two billion years of Earth's geological history have been exposed as the Colorado River and its tributaries cut their channels through layer after layer of rock while the Colorado Plateau was uplifted. While some aspects about the history of incision of the canyon are debated by geologists, several recent studies support the hypothesis that the Colorado River established its course through the area about 5 to 6 million years ago. Since that time, the Colorado River has driven the down-cutting of the tributaries and retreat of the cliffs, simultaneously deepening and widening the canyon.

For thousands of years, the area has been continuously inhabited by Native Americans, who built settlements within the canyon and its many caves. The Pueblo people considered the Grand Canyon a holy site, and made pilgrimages to it. The first European known to have viewed the Grand Canyon was García López de Cárdenas from Spain, who arrived in 1540.

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, 21 June 2018

DESKTOP 1786 - OXALIS

Oxalis purpurea is a summer-deciduous, winter-growing dwarf geophyte seldom higher than 6 or 7 cm, in the Oxalidaceae family. It forms a small rosette or mound up to 20 cm in diameter of trifoliate (clover-like) leaves which are dark green and not visibly hairy. It is unique amongst dicotyledonous plants in that it forms true bulbs which are often buried deep underground. Each bulb produces a single thin underground stem which gives rise to the above-ground rosette. The bulbs readily proliferate by producing smaller bulbils, each also producing a single stem, often resulting in a posy of plants and flowers in one place.

The new shoots emerge from dormant bulbs after the first good autumn rains and will usually stay active until early summer (November in the Southern Hemisphere) but will go prematurely dormant if water becomes limiting. The flowers usually appear more than one at a time and when flowering en masse are spectacular. Each flower has five petals which flare like a trumpet during the day and furl at night or on overcast days. Flowers are usually pinky mauve to lilac and can be very dark and intensely coloured or very pale. Other less common colour forms include salmon, peach and pure white (albino). Flowers always have a yellow throat. Flowers start to appear from early winter (May in the Southern Hemisphere) and will usually keep flowering until the plants go dormant. The fruit is small (size of a match head) and contains many tiny seeds which are dispersed by explosive dehiscence.

This is a common but undervalued South African native plant, in some cases considered an invasive weed. However, Oxalis purpurea can make a most magnificent garden plant that flowers for half the year if placed in the right spot and kept under control.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 20 June 2018

DESKTOP 1785 - XERXES

Xerxes I (Old Persian: 𐎧𐏁𐎹𐎠𐎼𐏁𐎠 x-š-y-a-r-š-a Xšayaṛša "ruling over heroes", Greek Ξέρξης [ksérksɛːs]; 519–465 BC), called Xerxes the Great, was the fourth king of kings of the Achaemenid dynasty of Persia. Like his predecessor Darius I, he ruled the empire at its territorial apex. He ruled from 486 BC until his assassination in 465 BC at the hands of Artabanus, the commander of the royal bodyguard.

Xerxes I is one of the Persian kings identified as Ahasuerus in the biblical Book of Esther. He is also notable in Western history for his failed invasion of Greece in 480 BC. His forces temporarily overran mainland Greece north of the Isthmus of Corinth until the losses at Salamis and Plataea a year later reversed these gains and ended the second invasion decisively. Xerxes also crushed revolts in Egypt and Babylon. Roman Ghirshman says that, "After this he ceased to use the title of 'king of Babylon', calling himself simply 'king of the Persians and the Medes'." Xerxes oversaw the completion of various construction projects at Susa and Persepolis.

The bas-relief below from Persepolis shows Darius I, the Great who is seated. He is followed by his son, the Crown Prince, Xerxes. Xerxes is depicted in the same size and with his head at the same level as his father's. This indicates not only that Xerxes was the heir apparent, but also co-ruler with his father, Darius. Immediately behind Xerxes is Nehemiah; here seen as the Chief Cupbearer, a position of highest rank with a function similar to that of "Prime Minister." The kings are receiving tribute.

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

Tuesday, 19 June 2018

DESKTOP 1784 - ST PETERSBURG

Saint Petersburg (Russian: Санкт-Петербу́рг) is Russia's second-largest city after Moscow, with 5 million inhabitants in 2012, part of the Saint Petersburg agglomeration with a population of 6.2 million (2015). An important Russian port on the Baltic Sea, it has a status of a federal subject (a federal city). Situated on the Neva River, at the head of the Gulf of Finland on the Baltic Sea, it was founded by Tsar Peter the Great on May 27 [O.S. 16] 1703.

On 1 September 1914, the name was changed from Saint Petersburg to Petrograd (Russian: Петрогра́д), on 26 January 1924 to Leningrad (Russian: Ленингра́д), and on 7 September 1991 back to Saint Petersburg. Between 1713 and 1728 and in 1732–1918, Saint Petersburg was the capital of Imperial Russia. In 1918, the central government bodies moved to Moscow.

Saint Petersburg is one of the modern cities of Russia, as well as its cultural capital. The Historic Centre of Saint Petersburg and Related Groups of Monuments constitute a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Saint Petersburg is home to the Hermitage, one of the largest art museums in the world. Many foreign consulates, international corporations, banks and businesses have offices in Saint Petersburg.

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.

Sunday, 17 June 2018

DESKTOP 1782 - LAKE WENDOUREE

Ballarat is a city located on the Yarrowee River and lower western plains of the Great Dividing Range in the state of Victoria, Australia, approximately 105 kilometres west-north-west of the state capital, Melbourne. It is the third most populous urban area in the state, with a population of 85,935. It is the state's most populated inland settlement, and fifth most populated inland settlement in Australia. People from Ballarat are referred to as Ballaratians or Ballafornians. The City of Ballarat local government area encompasses both the Greater Ballarat urban area and outlying towns.

Lake Wendouree is an artificially-created and maintained shallow urban lake located adjacent to the suburb of the same name in the city of Ballarat, Victoria, Australia. The name Wendouree comes from a local aboriginal word 'wendaaree' which means 'go away': a story is told that when settler William Cross Yuille asked a local indigenous woman what the name of the swamp was, that was her reply. The lake is home to many black swans (Cygnus atratus), ducks and coots.

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.

Saturday, 16 June 2018

DESKTOP 1781 - CRIMSON ROSELLA

The Crimson Rosella (Platycercus elegans) is a parrot native to eastern and south eastern Australia which has been introduced to New Zealand and Norfolk Island. It is commonly found in, but not restricted to, mountain forests and gardens. The species as it now stands has subsumed two former separate species, the yellow rosella and the Adelaide rosella. Molecular studies show one of the three red-coloured races, var. nigrescens is genetically more distinct.

This post is 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, 15 June 2018

DESKTOP 1780 - MELBOURNE

This is taken on the Princes Bridge, looking towards the Northeast, towards the Central Business District.

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

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

WATER

The large pond in the Darebin Parklands. This large nature reserve is within walking distance from my home and I love going there and looking at the still water reflecting the weather...

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

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

DESKTOP 1777 - SEVILLE, SPAIN

Seville is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville, Spain. It is situated on the plain of the river Guadalquivir. The inhabitants of the city are known as sevillanos (feminine form: sevillanas) or hispalenses, after the Roman name of the city, Hispalis. Seville has a municipal population of about 703,000 as of 2011, and a metropolitan population of about 1.5 million, making it the fourth-largest city in Spain and the 30th most populous municipality in the European Union.

Its Old Town, with an area of 4 square kilometres, contains three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Alcázar palace complex, the Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies. The Seville Harbour, located about 80 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean, is the only river port in Spain. Seville is also the hottest major metropolitan area in the geographical Western Europe, with summer average high temperatures of above 35 °C.

The Torre del Oro (English: "Tower of Gold") is a dodecagonal military watchtower in Seville. It was erected by the Almohad Caliphate in order to control access to Seville via the Guadalquivir river. Constructed in the first third of the 13th century, the tower served as a prison during the Middle Ages. Its name comes from the golden shine it projected on the river, due to its building materials (a mixture of mortar, lime and pressed hay).

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.

Friday, 8 June 2018

DESKTOP 1773 - EVENING STAR

Venus is the second planet from the Sun, orbiting it every 224.7 Earth days. It has the longest rotation period (243 days) of any planet in the Solar System and rotates in the opposite direction to most other planets (meaning the Sun would rise in the west and set in the east). It does not have any natural satellites. It is named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty. It is the second-brightest natural object in the night sky after the Moon, reaching an apparent magnitude of −4.6, bright enough to cast shadows at night and, rarely, visible to the naked eye in broad daylight. Orbiting within Earth's orbit, Venus is an inferior planet and never appears to venture far from the Sun; its maximum angular distance from the Sun (elongation) is 47.8°.

As one of the brightest objects in the sky, Venus has been a major fixture in human culture for as long as records have existed. It has been made sacred to gods of many cultures, and has been a prime inspiration for writers and poets as the morning star and evening star. Venus was the first planet to have its motions plotted across the sky, as early as the second millennium BC.

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

Thursday, 7 June 2018

DESKTOP 1772 - PRICKLY MOSES

Acacia verticillata (prickly Moses; prickly-leaved wattle; star-leaved acacia; prickly mimosa; whorl-leaved acacia) is a perennial shrub to small tree in the Fabaceae family, native to Australia and Tasmania. The species is a common understorey shrub in both wet and dry sclerophyll forests as well as scrub and heath. In coastal environments it will often have much wider leaves as opposed to the regular needle-like nature of inland specimens.

Acacia verticillata stems are ribbed and are sparsely to densely hairy. The leaves are small sharply pointed phyllodes (false leaves) are up to 17 x 3 mm. and 1.5-2.5 mm wide. They have one prominent vein and 1-2 less prominent veins. Its inflorescences which are numerous (Southern Spring: September, October) consist of numerous pale yellow flowers arranged on short cylindrical spikes that extend beyond the leaves. Its seeds are in elongated pods (5-10 cm long) which are sparsely hairy when young and glabrous when mature. This trees dispersal is by seed. Trees are often covered by a fungally-induced galls. 

On 1 September 2016, the Reserve Bank of Australia released a replacement of the polymer five dollar note which includes a stylised depiction of Acacia verticillata (subspecies ovoidea).

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

DESKTOP 1771 - VASE

This vase is in the National Gallery of Victoria's decorative art collection in Melbourne and is a piece by Thomas Webb & Sons, Stourbridge, England. It is glass and dated ca 1880.

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

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

DESKTOP 1770 - DAYLESFORD

Daylesford is a spa town located in the foothills of the Great Dividing Range, within the Shire of Hepburn, Victoria, Australia, approximately 115 kilometres north-west of Melbourne. First established in 1852 as a gold-mining town, today Daylesford has a population of 2,565 as of the 2011 census. As one of Australia’s few spa towns, Daylesford is a notable tourist destination. The town’s numerous spas, restaurants and galleries are popular alongside the many gardens and country-house-conversion styled bed and breakfasts.

The broader area around the town, including Hepburn Springs to the north, is known for its natural spring mineral spas and is the location of over 80 per cent of Australia's effervescent mineral water reserve. The Daylesford wine region is fast becoming known as Australia's best Pinot growing region, boasting continuous gold medals and 95 point plus wines. At 616 metres above sea level, it has a cooler, wetter climate than Melbourne. Summer (January–February) temperatures range from 10 to 37 °C, while July temperatures are cold, ranging from about 1–2 °C to 9 °C. Annual precipitation, occasionally falling as snow, averages about 870 mm but has ranged from 445 mm to over 1,350 mm per year.

With 65 mineral springs, the Daylesford-Hepburn Springs region accounts for more than 80 per cent of Australia’s known mineral water springs. As a result, the region has a number of spa developments including Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa, Mineral Spa at Peppers Springs Retreat and Salus Spa, Lake House. The town is also known for hosting a number of annual events, including the ChillOut Festival held during the Victorian Labour Day long weekend in March each year, the largest gay and lesbian festival in rural and regional Australia; the Harvest Week Festival; the Lavandula's Festivals; and the Hepburn Springs Swiss Italian Festival celebrating the town's Swiss-Italian heritage.

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.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

DESKTOP 1768 - MALACHITE

Malachite is a copper carbonate hydroxide mineral, with the formula Cu2CO3(OH)2. This opaque, green banded mineral crystallizes in the monoclinic crystal system, and most often forms botryoidal, fibrous, or stalagmitic masses, in fractures and spaces, deep underground, where the water table and hydrothermal fluids provide the means for chemical precipitation. Individual crystals are rare but do occur as slender to acicular prisms. Pseudomorphs after more tabular or blocky azurite crystals also occur.

The stone's name derives (via Latin: molochītis, Middle French: melochite, and Middle English melochites) from Greek Μολοχίτης λίθος molochitis lithos, "mallow-green stone", from μολόχη molōchē, variant of μαλάχη malāchē, "mallow". The mineral was given this name due to its resemblance to the leaves of the mallow plant.

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.

Saturday, 2 June 2018