Tuesday, 21 May 2019

DESKTOP 2119 - 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. The metropolitan area is located in the South West Division of Western Australia, between the Indian Ocean and a low coastal escarpment known as the Darling Range. The central business district and suburbs of Perth are situated on the banks of the Swan River.

Shortly after the establishment of the port settlement of Fremantle, Perth was founded on 12 June 1829 by Captain James Stirling as the political centre of the Swan River Colony. As the business and administration centre for the resource-rich state, Perth has grown consistently.  Perth became known worldwide as the “City of Light” when city residents lit their house lights and streetlights as American astronaut John Glenn passed overhead while orbiting the earth on Friendship 7 in 1962. The city repeated the act as Glenn passed overhead on the Space Shuttle in 1998. Perth is tied for eighth place in The Economist’s 2011 list of the world's most livable cities.

Perth’s residents have traditionally enjoyed the highest standard of living of any of Australia’s big cities.  Until recently, the reason for this has been that, for most occupations, wages were only a little less than could be found in cities such as Sydney and Melbourne while house prices in Perth were considerably lower than the other cities.

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.

Saturday, 18 May 2019

Thursday, 16 May 2019

DESKTOP 2114 - VIOLET

Viola is a genus of flowering plants in the violet family Violaceae. It is the largest genus in the family, containing between 525 and 600 species. Most species are found in the temperate Northern Hemisphere, however some are also found in widely divergent areas such as Hawaii, Australasia, and the Andes. Some Viola species are perennial plants, some are annual plants, and a few are small shrubs.

A large number of species, varieties and cultivars are grown in gardens for their ornamental flowers. In horticulture the term "pansy" is normally used for those multi-coloured, large-flowered cultivars which are raised annually or biennially from seed and used extensively in bedding. The terms "viola" and "violet" are normally reserved for small-flowered annuals or perennials, including the type species.

Viola odorata is a species of the genus Viola native to Europe and Asia, but has also been introduced to North America and Australia. It is commonly known as wood violet, sweet violet, English violet, common violet, florist's violet, or garden violet. The sweet scent of this flower has proved popular throughout the generations particularly in the late Victorian period, and has consequently been used in the production of many cosmetic fragrances and perfumes.

The scent of violet flowers is distinctive with only a few other flowers having a remotely similar odour. References to violets and the desirable nature of the fragrance go back to classical sources such as Pliny and Horace when the name ‘Ion’ was in use to describe this flower from which the name of the distinctive chemical constituents of the flower, the ionones – is derived. The leaves are edible and contain mucilage.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

DESLTOP 2112 - CARDIFF, UK

Cardiff (Welsh: Caerdydd) is the capital and largest city in Wales and the eleventh-largest city in the United Kingdom. The city is the country’s chief commercial centre, the base for most national cultural and sporting institutions, the Welsh national media, and the seat of the National Assembly for Wales. The unitary authority area’s mid-2011 population was estimated to be 346,100, while the population of the Larger Urban Zone was estimated at 861,400 in 2009. The Cardiff metropolitan area makes up over a third of the total population of Wales, with a mid-2011 population estimate of about 1,100,000 people.

Cardiff is a significant tourist centre and the most popular visitor destination in Wales with 18.3 million visitors in 2010. In 2011, Cardiff was ranked sixth in the world in National Geographic’s alternative tourist destinations. The city of Cardiff is the county town of the historic county of Glamorgan (and later South Glamorgan). Cardiff is part of the Eurocities network of the largest European cities. The Cardiff Urban Area covers a slightly larger area outside the county boundary, and includes the towns of Dinas Powys and Penarth.

Cardiff Castle (Welsh: Castell Caerdydd) is a medieval castle and Victorian Gothic revival mansion located in the city centre of Cardiff, Wales. The original motte and bailey castle was built in the late 11th century by Norman invaders on top of a 3rd-century Roman fort. The castle was commissioned either by William the Conqueror or by Robert Fitzhamon, and formed the heart of the medieval town of Cardiff and the Marcher Lord territory of Glamorgan.

In the 12th century the castle began to be rebuilt in stone, probably by Robert of Gloucester, with a shell keep and substantial defensive walls being erected. Further work was conducted by Richard de Clare, 6th Earl of Gloucester, in the second half of the 13th century. Cardiff Castle was repeatedly involved in the conflicts between the Anglo-Normans and the Welsh, being attacked several times in the 12th century, and stormed in 1404 during the revolt of Owain Glyndŵr.

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, 12 May 2019

Thursday, 9 May 2019

DESKTOP 2107 - FAIRY FAN FLOWER

Scaevola is a genus of flowering plants in the Goodenia family, Goodeniaceae. It consists of more than 130 tropical species, with the centre of diversity being Australia and Polynesia. Common names for Scaevola species include scaevolas, fan-flowers, half-flowers, and naupaka, the fan flower's Hawaiian name. The flowers are shaped as if they have been cut in half. The generic name means "left-handed" in Latin.

Many legends have been told to explain the formation of the naupaka's unique half flowers. In one version a woman tears the flower in half after a quarrel with her lover. The gods, angered, turn all naupaka flowers into half flowers and the two lovers remained separated while the man is destined to search in vain for another whole flower.

Scaevola is the only Goodeniaceae genus that is widespread outside of Australia. In at least six separate dispersals, about 40 species have spread throughout the Pacific Basin, with a few reaching the tropical coasts of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. The Hawaiian Islands are home to ten Scaevola species, nine of which are endemic. Eight of the indigenous species are the result of a single colonisation event. Scaevola aemula (Fairy Fan-flower or Common Fan-flower, shown here) is a small shrub native to southern Australia.

It grows to 50 cm in height and produces white or blue flowers in spikes up to 24 cm long from August to March in its native range. These are followed by rounded, wrinkled berries to 4.5 mm in length. The species occurs in Western Australia, South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales. The species is thought to be the most commonly cultivated of the genus Scaevola, and a large number of cultivars have been developed. Most of these are mat-forming to a height of 12 cm and spreading up to 1 metre in width.

It prefers a sunny or partially shaded, well-drained position and tolerates salt spray and periods of drought. Pruning and pinching of tip growth may be carried out to shape the plant. Propagation is from cuttings or by layering.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

DESKTOP 2106 - ROMAN RUINS

Rome is a city and special comune (named "Roma Capitale") in Italy. Rome is the capital of Italy and of the Lazio region. With 2.9 million residents in 1,285 km2, it is also the country's largest and most populated comune and fourth-most populous city in the European Union by population within city limits. The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, within Lazio (Latium), along the shores of Tiber river. Vatican City is an independent country within the city boundaries of Rome, the only existing example of a country within a city: for this reason Rome has been often defined as capital of two states.

Famous artists, painters, sculptors and architects made Rome the centre of their activity, creating masterpieces throughout the city. In 1871 Rome became the capital of the Kingdom of Italy, and in 1946 that of the Italian Republic. Rome has the status of a global city. Rome ranked in 2014 as the 14th-most-visited city in the world, 3rd most visited in the European Union, and the most popular tourist attraction in Italy. Its historic centre is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Monuments, ruins and museums such as the Vatican Museums and the Colosseum are among the world's most visited tourist destinations with both locations receiving millions of tourists a year.

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

Monday, 6 May 2019

DESKTOP 2105 - FREMANTLE, WA

Fremantle is a city in Western Australia, located at the mouth of the Swan River. Fremantle Harbour serves as the port of Perth, the state capital. Fremantle was the first area settled by the Swan River colonists in 1829. It was declared a city in 1929, and has a population of approximately 25,000. The city is named after Captain Charles Howe Fremantle, the English naval officer who had pronounced possession of Western Australia and who established a camp at the site. The city contains well-preserved 19th-century buildings and other heritage features. The Western Australian vernacular diminutive for Fremantle is Freo.

The native Australian Noongar people inhabited the area that is now Fremantle, which was known as Walyalup. The area was considered as a site for possible British settlement in 1827, when Captain James Stirling, in HMS Success, explored the coastal areas near the Swan River. As a result of Stirling's report, Captain Charles Howe Fremantle of HMS Challenger, a 603 ton, 28-gun frigate, was instructed to sail to the west coast of Australia to establish a settlement there. On 2 May 1829, Fremantle hoisted the Union Flag in a bay near what is now known as Arthur Head, and in accordance with his instructions, took formal possession “of the whole of the West Coast of New Holland” in the name of George IV of the United Kingdom.

Shown here is the fishing boat harbour, which as well as being a working harbour has numerous, cafés, restaurants, tourist shops and a micro-brewery.

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.

DESKTOP 2104 - LOOK CLOSELY

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.

Saturday, 4 May 2019

DESKTOP 2102 - DUCK

The Pacific black duck (Anas superciliosa) is a dabbling duck found in much of Indonesia, New Guinea, Australia, New Zealand, and many islands in the southwestern Pacific, reaching to the Caroline Islands in the north and French Polynesia in the east. It is usually called the grey duck in New Zealand, where it is also known by its Maori name, pārera.

This sociable duck is found in a variety of wetland habitats, and its nesting habits are much like those of the mallard, which is encroaching on its range in New Zealand. It feeds by upending, like other Anas ducks. It has a dark body, and a paler head with a dark crown and facial stripes. In flight, it shows a green speculum and pale underwing. All plumages are similar. The size range is 54–61 cm; males tend to be larger than females, and some island forms are smaller and darker than the main populations.

It is not resident on the Marianas islands, but sometimes occurs there during migration. The now extinct Mariana mallard was probably originally derived from hybrids between this species and the mallard, which came to the islands during migration and settled down there. Here it is in the Darebin Creek in Alphington, in suburban Melbourne.

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.


Thursday, 2 May 2019

DESKTOP 2100 - CASSIA

Cassia fistula, known as the golden shower tree and by other names, is a flowering plant in the family Fabaceae. The species is native to the Indian subcontinent and adjacent regions of Southeast Asia. It ranges from southern Pakistan eastward throughout India to Myanmar and Thailand and south to Sri Lanka. In literature, it is closely associated with the Mullai (forest) region of Sangam landscape. It is the national tree of Thailand, and its flower is Thailand's national flower. It is also the state flower of Kerala in India and of immense importance amongst the Malayali population. It is a popular ornamental plant and is also used in herbal medicine.

The golden shower tree is a medium-sized tree, growing to 10–20 m tall with fast growth. The leaves are deciduous, 15–60 cm long, and pinnate with three to eight pairs of leaflets, each leaflet 7–21 cm long and 4–9 cm broad. The fragrant flowers are produced in pendulous racemes 20–40 cm long, each flower 4–7 cm diameter with five yellow petals of equal size and shape. The fruit is a legume, 30–60 cm long and 1.5–2.5 centimetres broad, with a pungent odour and containing several seeds. The tree has strong and very durable wood.

Cassia fistula is widely grown as an ornamental plant in tropical and subtropical areas. It blooms in late spring. Flowering is profuse, with trees being covered with yellow flowers, many times with almost no leaf being seen. It will grow well in dry climates. Growth for this tree is best in full sun on well-drained soil; it is relatively drought tolerant and slightly salt tolerant. It will tolerate light brief frost, but can get damaged if the cold persists. It can be subject to mildew or leaf spot, especially during the second half of the growing season. The tree will bloom better where there is pronounced difference between summer and winter temperatures.

In Ayurvedic medicine, the golden shower tree is known as aragvadha, meaning "disease killer". The fruit pulp is considered a purgative, and self-medication or any use without medical supervision is strongly advised against in Ayurvedic texts. Though its use in herbalism has been attested to for millennia, little research has been conducted in modern times.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

DESKTOP 2099 - QUOKKA

The quokka (Setonix brachyurus), the only member of the genus Setonix, is a small macropod about the size of a domestic cat. Like other marsupials in the macropod family (such as kangaroos and wallabies), the quokka is herbivorous and mainly nocturnal.

Quokkas can be found on some smaller islands off the coast of Western Australia, in particular on Rottnest Island just off Perth and Bald Island near Albany. A small mainland colony exists in the protected area of Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, where they co-exist with the critically endangered Gilbert's potoroo.

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, 30 April 2019

DESKTOP 2098 - AÏT BEN-HADDOU, MOROCCO

Morocco, officially the Kingdom of Morocco, is a country in the Maghreb region of North Africa. Geographically, Morocco is characterised by a rugged mountainous interior and large portions of desert. It is one of only three countries (with Spain and France) to have both Atlantic and Mediterranean coastlines. The Arabic name al-Mamlakah al-Maghribiyah (Arabic: المملكة المغربية‎‎, meaning “The Western Kingdom”) and Al-Maghrib (Arabic: المغرب‎‎, meaning “The West”) are commonly used as alternate names.

Morocco has a population of over 33.8 million and an area of 446,550 km2. Its political capital is Rabat. The largest city is Casablanca. Other major cities include Marrakesh, Tangier, Tetouan, Salé, Fes, Agadir, Meknes, Oujda, Kenitra, and Nador. A historically prominent regional power, Morocco has a history of independence not shared by its neighbours. Its distinct culture is a blend of Arab, indigenous Berber, Sub-Saharan African, and European influences.

Morocco claims the non-self-governing territory of Western Sahara as its Southern Provinces. Morocco annexed the territory in 1975, leading to a guerrilla war with indigenous forces until a cease-fire in 1991. Peace processes have thus far failed to break the political deadlock. Morocco is a constitutional monarchy with an elected parliament. The King of Morocco holds vast executive and legislative powers, especially over the military, foreign policy and religious affairs. Moroccan Arabic, referred to as Darija, and French are also widely spoken. Morocco is an influential member of the Arab League and a part of the Union for the Mediterranean. It has the sixth-largest economy in Africa.

Aït Ben-Haddou (Arabic: آيت بن حدّو‎‎), shown below, is a fortified city, or palace (ksar), along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in present-day Morocco. Most citizens living in the area now live in more modern dwellings in a nearby village, although there are 4 families still living in the ancient city. This giant fortification, which is made up of six forts (Kasbahs) and nearly fifty palaces, which are individual forts, is a great example of earthen clay architecture, which is also used in Moroccan architecture. Aït Ben-Haddou has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987 and several films have been shot there, including, Sodom And Gomorrah (1963), Time Bandits (1981), The Jewel of the Nile (1985), The Mummy (1999), Gladiator (2000), Alexander (2004) and Prince of Persia (2010).

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.

Sunday, 28 April 2019

DESKTOP 2096 - WINDOW SEAT

When flying, I always like choosing a window seat, as I enjoy the view and it gives me the opportunity to take photos like this one, which I took when flying out of Melbourne.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Friday, 26 April 2019

DESKTOP 2094 - CRYSTAL BALL

View from my window through a crystal ball. Note the photo is rotated 180˚ as the image through the glass is normally seen upside down.

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

Thursday, 25 April 2019

DESKTOP 2093 - CALIFORNIAN POPPY

Eschscholzia californica (Californian poppy, golden poppy, California sunlight, cup of gold) is a species of flowering plant in the family Papaveraceae, native to the United States and Mexico, and the official state flower of California. It is a perennial or annual growing to 13–152 cm tall, with alternately branching glaucous blue-green foliage. The leaves are alternately divided into round, lobed segments.

The flowers are solitary on long stems, silky-textured, with four petals, each petal 2 to 6 cm long and broad; flower colour ranges from yellow to orange, with flowering from February to September. The petals close at night or in cold, windy weather and open again the following morning, although they may remain closed in cloudy weather. The fruit is a slender, dehiscent capsule 3 to 9 cm long, which splits in two to release the numerous small black or dark brown seeds. It survives mild winters in its native range, dying completely in colder climates.

E. californica is drought-tolerant, self-seeding, and easy to grow in gardens. It is best grown as an annual, in full sun and sandy, well-drained, poor soil. Horticulturalists have produced numerous cultivars with a range of colours and blossom and stem forms. These typically do not breed true on reseeding. Seeds are often sold as mixtures. Many cultivars have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. Because of its beauty and ease of growing, the California poppy was introduced into several regions with similar Mediterranean climates.

It is commercially sold and widely naturalised in Australia, and was introduced to South Africa, Chile, and Argentina. It is recognised as a potentially invasive species within the United States, although no indications of ill effects have been reported for this plant where it has been introduced outside of California. The golden poppy has been displaced in large areas of its original habitat, such as Southern California, by more invasive exotic species, such as mustard or annual grasses.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

DESKTOP 2092 - PAINTINGS

In the National Gallery of Victoria, in Melbourne, taking time to enjoy the art as this man is enjoying seeing "The Crossing of the Red Sea" (1632-4) by Nicolas Poussin (1594-1665).

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

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

DESKTOP 2091 - OLD HANOI

Hanoi (or more properly Hà Nội in Vietnamese) is the capital city of Vietnam and has an estimated population of about 6.5 million making it the second-largest city of Vietnam, after the most populous, Ho chi Minh City in the South. From 1010 until 1802, Hanoi was the most important political centre of Vietnam. The city is located on the right bank of the Red River. October 2010 marks the 1000 year anniversary of the establishment of the city.

The Old Quarter of Hanoi, near Hoan Kiem lake, has the original street layout and architecture of old Hanoi. At the beginning of the 20th century the city consisted of only about 36 streets, most of which are now part of the old quarter. Each street then had merchants and households that specialised in a particular trade, such as silk traders, jewellery, food merchants, etc. The street names nowadays still reflect these specialisations, although few of them remain exclusively in their original commerce. The area is famous for its small artisans and merchants, including many silk shops. Local cuisine specialties as well as several clubs and bars can be found here also. A night market in the heart of the district opens for business every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evening with a variety of clothing, souvenirs and food.

One of the highlights of the Old Quarter is the visit to the Ngoc Son Temple, located on a small island on a lake. This Temple was constructed in the early 19th century on the foundations of the old Khanh Thuy Palace, which had been built in 1739. The temple is dedicated to Van Xuong, the God of Literature, although the 13th-century hero Tran Hung Dao, the martial arts genius Quan Vu and the physician La To are also worshipped here. The island is linked to the shore by a red, arched wooden bridge, The Huc (Sunbeam) Bridge, constructed in 1875 (seen in the photograph here).

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, 21 April 2019

DESKTOP 2089 - PARKLANDS

At the Darebin Parklands during our recent few days of Indian Summer...

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

Thursday, 18 April 2019

DESKTOP 2086 - AUSTRALIAN BLUEBELL

Wahlenbergia stricta, or Australian Bluebell, Tall or Austral Bluebell, is an Australian wildflower from the Campanulaceae family. It is considered the most commonly encountered of the Wahlenbergias] It is found in all Australian states but not the Northern Territory. It is often seen growing by the side of the road, enjoying the extra runoff.

W. stricta is a perennial herb flowering mainly in spring or summer with pale blue bell-like flowers. The leaves are long and linear, 5–70 millimetres long. The five-petalled flowers are erect on long, slender stems and about 6–20 millimetres in diameter. It forms thin, carrot shaped tubers.

Australian bluebells are generally easily propagated by division or root cutting. The seed is a very fine, black powder. It germinates readily in a few weeks and is best directly sown into tubes or cells as the seed and plant are very small and hard to separate and prick out. There are a number of common cultivars, including various shades of blue from a saturated blue similar to #00f through to white. Various double forms are available.

To maintain a cultivar propagation must be by vegetative means (division or cuttings). Once established W. stricta is very hardy - the pot can be dried out completely and the plant reduced to a tuber, yet it will reshoot when the rain comes. It is hardy in a range of soils from sand to gravel, clay to humus.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

DESKTOP 2085 - OPERA HOUSE

The Sydney Opera House is a multi-venue performing arts centre in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It was conceived and largely built by Danish architect Jørn Utzon, opening in 1973 after a long gestation that had begun with his competition-winning design in 1957. Utzon received the Pritzker Prize, architecture's highest honour, in 2003. The Sydney Opera House was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site on 28 June 2007.

It is one of the 20th century's most distinctive buildings and one of the most famous performing arts centres in the world. The Sydney Opera House is on Bennelong Point in Sydney Harbour, close to the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It sits at the northeastern tip of the Sydney central business district (the CBD), surrounded on three sides by the harbour (Sydney Cove and Farm Cove) and inland by the Royal Botanic Gardens. Contrary to its name, the building houses multiple performance venues.

The Sydney Opera House is among the busiest performing arts centres in the world, hosting over 1,500 performances each year attended by some 1.2 million people. It provides a venue for many performing-arts companies, including the four key resident companies Opera Australia, The Australian Ballet, the Sydney Theatre Company and the Sydney Symphony Orchestra, and presents a wide range of productions on its own account. It is also one of the most popular visitor attractions in Australia, with more than seven million people visiting the site each year, 300,000 of whom take a guided tour.

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

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

DESKTOP 2084 - THE PANTHÉON

The Panthéon (Latin: pantheon, from Greek πάνθειον (ἱερόν) '(temple) to all the gods') is a building in the Latin Quarter in Paris, France. It was originally built as a church dedicated to St. Genevieve and to house the reliquary châsse containing her relics but, after many changes, now functions as a secular mausoleum containing the remains of distinguished French citizens.

It is an early example of neo-classicism, with a façade modelled on the Pantheon in Rome, surmounted by a dome that owes some of its character to Bramante's Tempietto. Located in the 5th arrondissement on the Montagne Sainte-Geneviève, the Panthéon looks out over all of Paris. Designer Jacques-Germain Soufflot had the intention of combining the lightness and brightness of the Gothic cathedral with classical principles, but its role as a mausoleum required the great Gothic windows to be blocked.

We stand united with Parisians and all civilised people around the world, sharing their loss of one of the great cultural monuments of the world, the Nôtre Dame of Paris. The cathedral will arise anew from its ashes and continue to symbolise culture and civilisation, faith and enlightenment, sensitivity and broad-mindedness.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of Wordless Wednesday meme.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Sunday, 14 April 2019

DESKTOP 2082 - TROPICAL

North Queensland in Australia ticks all the boxes for a wonderful tropical experience...

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Thursday, 11 April 2019

DESKTOP 2079 - PONTEDERIA

Pontederia cordata, common name pickerelweed (USA) or pickerel weed (UK), is a monocotyledonous aquatic plant native to the American continent. It grows in a variety of wetlands, including pond and lake margins across an extremely large range from eastern Canada south to Argentina. A few examples include northern rivers, the Everglades and Louisiana. The species grows as an emergent plant, that is, in flooded conditions, so the plant is generally dependent upon aerenchyma in the stem to carry oxygen into the roots. Its metabolism, is, however, also tolerant of low soil oxygen.

It is often found in areas where water levels fluctuate naturally, with spring flooding and later summer emergence. Apart from flooding, the species is also influenced by soil fertility, tending to grow in the more fertile bays of large lakes, for example. Like many aquatic plants, it is negatively affected by salinity and grazing. It is also negatively affected by competition from other wetland plants. Like many wetland plants, it can survive unfavourable conditions as buried seeds in the soil.

The plant flowers in late summer. The purple flowers have yellow markings which may assist in attracting bees for pollination. One bee species known to pollinate the flowers is Dufourea (Halictoides) novaeangliae. Once the plant begins to produce seeds, the stem supporting the inflorescence bends to submerse the fruits and seeds. Seeds are dormant at the time of dispersal and will not germinate without stratification for 6-8 weeks.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

DESKTOP 2078 - NATURE

"Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better." - Albert Einstein

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.

Monday, 8 April 2019

DESKTOP 2077 - METHONI, GREECE

Methoni (Greek: Μεθώνη, Italian: Modone) is a village and a former municipality in Messenia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Pylos-Nestoras, of which it is a municipal unit. Its name may be derived from Mothona, a mythical rock. It is located 11 km south of Pylos and 11 km west of Foinikounta. The town is also known by the Italian name Modone, as it was called by the Venetians. Its economy is dominated by tourism, attracted by its beaches (including Tapia, Kokkinia and Kritika) and its historical castle.

Methoni has been identified as the city Pedasus, that Homer mentions under the name “ampeloessa” (of vine leaves), as the last of the seven “evnaiomena ptoliethra”, that Agamemnon offers Achilles in order to subdue his rage. Pausanias knew the city as Mothone, named after either the daughter of Oeneus or after the rock Mothon, which protects the harbour, and mentioned a temple to Athena Anemotis there. It was an important city in Ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine times.

The Venetians had their eye on Methoni since the 12th century, due to its location on the route from Venice to the Eastern markets. In 1125, they launched an attack against pirates, who had captured some Venetian traders on their way home from the east, and who were inhabiting Methoni at that time. The Venetians took over the town in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade, and secured recognition from the neighbouring Principality of Achaea through the Treaty of Sapienza (1209). A Roman Catholic bishop was installed in the local see.

The Venetians fortified Methoni, which developed into an important trade centre with great prosperity. Methoni became the important middle station between Venice and the Holy Lands, where every traveller stopped on their way to the East. A pilgrim who went by in 1484 admired its strong walls, the deep moats and the fortified towers. Nowadays the walls of the fortress, even though in ruins, continue to be impressive. The castle of Methoni occupies the whole area of the cape and the southwestern coast to the small islet that has also been fortified with an octagonal tower and is protected by the sea on its three sides. Its north part, the one that looks to land, is covered by a heavily fortified acropolis. A deep moat separates the castle from the land and communication was achieved by a wooden bridge. 

The Venetians built on the ancient battlements and added on and repaired it during both periods that they occupied the castle.The castle of Methoni rises deserted and isolated today. When the winter winds hit its walls the locals say that you can hear the screams of the prisoners and the unjustly killed in the dungeons.

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.

DESKTOP 2076 - INSECTS

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.