Tuesday, 31 July 2018

DESKTOP 1826 - JANTAR MANTAR, INDIA

The Jantar Mantar is a collection of architectural astronomical instruments, built by Sawai Jai Singh who was a Rajput king. The title of (King) and Sawai was bestowed on him by Emperor Mohammad Shah. Jai Singh II of Amber built his new capital of Jaipur between 1727 and 1734. It is also located in Ujjain and Mathura. It is modelled after the one that he had built at the Mughal capital of Delhi.

He had constructed a total of five such facilities at different locations, including the ones at Delhi and Jaipur. The Jaipur observatory is the largest and best preserved of these. It has been inscribed on the World Heritage List as "an expression of the astronomical skills and cosmological concepts of the court of a scholarly prince at the end of the Mughal period".

Early restoration work was undertaken under the supervision of Major Arthur Garrett, a keen amateur astronomer, during his appointment as Assistant State Engineer for the Jaipur District. The Jantar Mantar was made by Sawai Jai Singh as he was particularly interested in learning about the sky above his head.

The name is derived from jantar ("instrument"), and mantar ("formula", or in this context "calculation"). Therefore jantar mantar means literally 'calculation instrument'. This observatory has religious significance, since ancient Indian astronomers were also Jyotisa (Indian astronomy and astrology) masters.

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.

Saturday, 28 July 2018

Thursday, 26 July 2018

DESKTOP 1821 - INDIAN HAWTHORN

Rhaphiolepis indica, the Indian hawthorn, India hawthorn or Hong Kong hawthorn, is an evergreen shrub in the family As. The species is native to an area from southern China, Japan, Laos, Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam. It is grown for its decorative pink flowers, and is popular in bonsai culture. The fruit is edible when cooked, and can be used to make jam.

Indian hawthorn is a mainstay horticultural specimen in southern United States. It is often found in commercial as well as in private landscapes. Often it is trimmed into small compact hedges or balls for foundation plants. It has been successfully pruned into a standard form as well as small dwarf-like trees up to 5 m in height. It is apt to develop leaf spot.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 25 July 2018

DESKTOP 1820 - CELL

cell | sɛl |noun: A unit in a device for converting chemical or solar energy into electricity: A button cell is required for powering a quartz watch.

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

Tuesday, 24 July 2018

DESKTOP 1819 - OUTBACK

The Outback is the vast, remote, arid area of Australia. The term "the outback" is generally used to refer to locations that are comparatively more remote than those areas named "the bush" which, colloquially, can refer to any lands outside the main urban areas. Because of the low and erratic rainfall over most of the outback, combined with soils which are usually not very fertile, inland Australia is relatively sparsely settled. More than 90 percent of Australians live in urban areas on the coast.

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, 23 July 2018

DESKTOP 1818 - IT'S COSY INSIDE

The wind and rain are lashing the streets outside; the window is all wet and raindrops are trickling down. Cars struggle to drive home through the storm and few people are braving the elements this evening.
But, it's cosy inside!

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,
and also part of the Blue Monday.

Saturday, 21 July 2018

DESKTOP 1816 - DIGHTS FALLS

Dights Falls is a rapids and weir on the Yarra River Melbourne, Victoria, just downstream of the junction with the Merri Creek. At this point the river narrows and is constricted between 800,000-year-old volcanic, basaltic lava flow and a much older steep, silurian, sedimentary spur. The north side also contains abundant graptolite fossils in sedimentary sandstone.

This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme.

Wednesday, 18 July 2018

DESKTOP 1814 - YELLOW JASMINE

Winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) is a slender, deciduous shrub native to China. It grows to 3 m tall and wide, with arching green shoots and opposite, pinnate, dark green leaves. Each leaf is divided into three oval-oblong leaflets which are about 3 cm long.As its name suggests, in the Northern Hemisphere winter jasmine flowers from November to March. The solitary flowers, often appearing on the bare stems (hence the Latin nudiflorum, literally "naked flower") have six petals and are bright yellow, or white, about 1 cm across, appearing in the leaf axils.

It likes full sun or partial shade and is hardy. J. nudiflorum is valued by gardeners as one of the few plants that are in flower during the winter months. It is frequently trained against a wall to provide extra warmth and shelter, but also lends itself to groundcover. It tolerates hard pruning and should be pruned in spring immediately after flowering; regular pruning will help to prevent bare patches. It can also be grown as a bonsai and is very tolerant of the wiring methods. It can be propagated using the layering technique. This plant has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

DESKTOP 1813 - BARK

bark | bɑːk |noun [mass noun]:  The tough protective outer sheath of the trunk, branches, and twigs of a tree or woody shrub: Beavers feed on leaves and the living bark of trees.

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, 17 July 2018

DESKTOP 1812 - KAYSERBERG, ALSACE

Kaysersberg is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France. The inhabitants are called Kaysersbergeois. The name means "Emperor's Mountain" in German. The high fortress that dominates the city serves as a reminder of both its strategic importance and its warlike past. Kaysersberg was the birthplace of Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965), theologian, musician, philosopher, and physician. Together with the rest of Alsace-Lorraine, Kaysersberg was part of Germany during the period between the Franco-Prussian War and the First World War. Kaysersberg is one of the finest wine growing areas in Alsace. The first vines were brought here in the 16th century from Hungary, and wine production is still an important aspect of the town’s economy today. Wine produced from the Pinot gris variety is a local specialty.

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, 16 July 2018

DESKTOP 1811 - PATHS

Having to choose the right path when a fork appears up ahead can be a surreal experience...

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.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

DESKTOP 1807 - CINERARIA

Cineraria is now generally treated as a genus of about 50 species of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae, native to southern Africa. The genus includes herbaceous plants and small sub-shrubs. In the past, the genus was commonly viewed in a broader sense including a number of species from the Canary Islands and Madeira which are now transferred to the genus Pericallis, including the Florist's Cineraria (Pericallis x hybrida). The uses for Cineraria include topical application for the treatment of cataracts.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

DESKTOP1805 - ABORIGINAL ART

This Australian Aboriginal art mural (detail below) adorns a renovated old "corner shop" that has been converted into a residence. The bricked up plate glass windows on front and side have been recently painted with this mural, the artist being Yamba Konrad Ross (contactable at sunsetdreaming@hotmail.com). The mural is very eye-catching and forms a focal point for the otherwise mundane suburban street in which it is found.

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

Saturday, 7 July 2018

DESKTOP 1802 - GEESE

The Cape Barren goose (Cereopsis novaehollandiae) is a large goose resident in southern Australia, classified in the family Anatidae. The species is named for Cape Barren Island, where specimens were first sighted by European explorers. These are bulky geese and their almost uniformly grey plumage, bearing rounded black spots, is unique. The tail and flight feathers are blackish and the legs are pink with black feet. The short, decurved black bill and light green cere gives it a very peculiar expression.

The Cape Barren goose is 75 to 100 cm long, weighs 3 to 7 kg and has a 150 to 190 cm wingspan; males are somewhat larger than females. This bird feeds by grazing and rarely swims. Their ability to drink salt or brackish water allows numbers of geese to remain on offshore islands all year round. They are one of the rarest of the world's geese. They are gregarious outside the breeding season, when they wander more widely, forming small flocks.

A previous decline in numbers appears to have been reversed as birds in the east at least have adapted to feeding on agricultural land. The breeding areas are grassy islands off the Australian coast, where this species nests on the ground in colonies. It bears captivity well, quite readily breeding in confinement if large enough paddocks are provided. This photo was taken on Phillip Island, where large numbers of these geese may be seen.

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

Thursday, 5 July 2018

DESKTOP 1800 - DAISIES

Argyranthemum (marguerite, marguerite daisy, dill daisy) is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the family Asteraceae. Members of this genus are sometimes also placed in the genus Chrysanthemum. The genus is endemic to Macaronesia, occurring only on the Canary Islands, the Savage Islands, and Madeira. Argyranthemum frutescens is recorded as a food plant of the leaf-mining larva of the moth Bucculatrix chrysanthemella.

Varieties and cultivars of Argyranthemum (sometimes listed under A. frutescens) are widely sold as garden plants, for summer bedding or containers. They produce prolific single- or double-flowered daisy-like flowers in shades of white, pink, yellow and purple throughout summer. They are generally half-hardy, and can be grown from seed or cuttings, or purchased as young plants to be planted out after all danger of frost has passed. Several cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

Illustrated here is the cultivar Marguerite Daisy 'Madeira® (Argyranthemum frutescens) 'Crested Merlot', which blooms prolifically. This is an easily grown variety that is particularly suited for pots and planters.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018

DESKTOP 1799 - ZÜRICH

Zürich is the largest city in Switzerland and the capital of the canton of Zürich It is located in north-central Switzerland at the northwestern tip of Lake Zürich The municipality has approximately 390,000 inhabitants, and the Zürich metropolitan area 1.83 million. Zürich is a hub for railways, roads, and air traffic. Both Zürich Airport and railway station are the largest and busiest in the country.

Permanently settled for around 2000 years, the history of Zürich goes back to its founding by the Romans, who, in 15 BC, called it Turicum. However, early settlements have been found dating back more than 6400 years ago. During the Middle Ages Zürich gained the independent and privileged status of imperial immediacy and, in 1519, was the place of origin and centre of the Protestant Reformation in German-speaking Switzerland, led by Ulrich Zwingli. Zürich is a leading global city and among the world's largest financial centres. The city is home to a large number of financial institutions and banking giants. Most of Switzerland's research and development centres are concentrated in Zürich and the low tax rates attract overseas companies to set up their headquarters there.

According to several surveys from 2006 to 2008, Zürich was named the city with the best quality of life in the world as well as the wealthiest city in Europe. Many museums and art galleries can be found in the city, including the Swiss National Museum and the Kunsthaus. Zürich also hosts one of the most important theatres in the German-speaking world.

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

Tuesday, 3 July 2018

DESKTOP 1798 - 12 APOSTLES

The Great Ocean Road is an Australian National Heritage listed 243-kilometre stretch of road along the south-eastern coast of Australia between the Victorian cities of Torquay and Warrnambool. The road was built by returned soldiers between 1919 and 1932, and is the world's largest war memorial; dedicated to casualties of World War I. It is an important tourist attraction in the region, which winds through varying terrain alongside the coast, and provides access to several prominent landmarks; including the nationally significant Twelve Apostles rock formations.

The Twelve Apostles is a collection of miocene limestone rock stacks jutting from the water in Port Campbell National Park, between Princetown and Peterborough on the Great Ocean Road. The apostles were formed by erosion: The harsh weather conditions from the Southern Ocean gradually eroded the soft limestone to form caves in the cliffs, which then became arches, which in turn collapsed; leaving rock stacks up to 45 metres high. The site was known as the Sow and Piglets until 1922 (Muttonbird Island, near Loch Ard Gorge, was the Sow, and the smaller rock stacks the Piglets); after which it was renamed to The Apostles for tourism purposes. The formation eventually became known as the Twelve Apostles, despite only ever having nine stacks.

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.