Sunday, 29 September 2019

DESKTOP 2250 - ASH GREEN

Fraxinus, English name ash, is a genus of flowering plants in the olive and lilac family, Oleaceae. It contains 45–65 species of usually medium to large trees, mostly deciduous, though a few subtropical species are evergreen. The genus is widespread across much of Europe, Asia, and North America.

The tree's common English name, "ash", traces back to the Old English æsc which relates to the Proto-Indo-European for the tree, while the generic name originated in Latin from a Proto-Indo-European word for birch. Both words are also used to mean "spear" in their respective languages as the wood is good for shafts.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Saturday, 28 September 2019

DESKTOP 2249 - NOISY MINERS

The noisy miner (Manorina melanocephala) is a bird in the honeyeater family, Meliphagidae, and is endemic to eastern and south-eastern Australia. This miner is a grey bird, with a black head, orange-yellow beak and feet, a distinctive yellow patch behind the eye and white tips on the tail feathers. Males, females and juveniles are similar in appearance, though young birds are a brownish-grey.

As the common name suggests, the noisy miner is a vocal species with a large range of songs, calls, scoldings and alarms, and almost constant vocalisations particularly from young birds. Noisy miners are gregarious and territorial; they forage, bathe, roost, breed and defend territory communally, forming colonies that can contain several hundred birds. Each bird has an 'activity space' and birds with overlapping activity spaces form associations called 'coteries', the most stable units within the colony. The birds also form temporary flocks called 'coalitions' for specific activities such as mobbing a predator.

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

Thursday, 26 September 2019

DESKTOP 2247 - LILIUM

Lilium ‘Tiny Double You’ is a dwarf Asiatic lily (Plant number: 1.318.840) and one of the Lily Looks™ series developed in the Netherlands. Bred originally for containers, these are versatile garden plants as well. The dwarf habit makes them useful near the front of any sunny border where they put on a great midsummer show. Also equally at home in a rock garden. The best effect comes from massing in good-sized clumps of one variety.

This selection is unique and new to the series with large, upfacing double, orange flowers. It is an outstanding garden plant and its unlicensed propagation is prohibited! It is suited to a full sun or partial shade position and will grow in most soil types. It grows to 30-35 cm and blooms in mid-summer. It is deer-resistant and does well in rockeries, borders, massed displays and in containers.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 25 September 2019

DESKTOP 2246 - LICHEN

A lichen is a composite organism that arises from algae or cyanobacteria (or both) living among filaments of a fungus in a symbiotic relationship. The combined life form has properties that are very different from the properties of its component organisms. Lichens come in many colours, sizes, and forms. The properties are sometimes plant-like, but lichens are not plants.

Lichens may have tiny, leafless branches (fruticose), flat leaf-like structures (foliose), flakes that lie on the surface like peeling paint (crustose), or other growth forms. Lichens do not have roots that absorb water and nutrients as plants do, but like plants they produce their own food by photosynthesis using sunlight energy, from carbon dioxide, water and minerals in their environment. When they grow on plants, they do not live as parasites and only use the plants as a substrate.

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, 24 September 2019

DESKTOP 2245 - METSOVO, GREECE

Metsovo is a town in Epirus on the mountains of Pindus in northern Greece, between Ioannina to the north and Metéora to the south. The largest centre of Vlach life in Greece, Metsovo is served by GR-6 Roadway and also by Egnatia Odos Motorway. This one of the most picturesque towns in Greece, its traditional stone houses nestling on the steep mountainside. It is the largest Vlach town in Greece and one can hear the Vlach language spoken here as well as Greek.

Metsovo is found at 1200 m altitude in an impressive verdant landscape, on the spot that North and South Pindos Mountains separate. Despite the radical growth of tourism in the latest years, the area has not lost its traditional character. It harmoniously combines the past with the present and it is an ideal shelter not only in winter when you will probably see it in snow and enjoy winter sports, but it has much to offer during all of the seasons of the year.

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, 22 September 2019

DESKTOP 2243 - FELICIA

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.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.


Thursday, 19 September 2019

DESKTOP 2240 - SOUTHERN BOUQUET

 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.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 17 September 2019

DESKTOP 2238 - THE AZORES

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.

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 September 2019

DESKTOP 2237 - SPRING vs AUTUMN

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!

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Macro Monday meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.
 

Saturday, 14 September 2019

DESKTOP 2235 - GOLDFISH

Our goldfish swimming happily in their big tank.

A flash of orange,
A splash of cooling water – 
A happy goldfish...

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

Thursday, 12 September 2019

DESKTOP 2233 - BLUE WATERLILY

Nymphaea violacea, also known as blue lily, is a waterlily in the genus Nymphaea, and the family Nymphaeaceae. Nymphaea violacea is found in Australia, particularly in the Kimberleys and in northern parts of Queensland and the Northern Territory.

The flowers are violet, blue or white. The waterlily is a bush tucker of the Aborigines in northern Australia. The tuber, stem, flowers and seeds are all edible.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 11 September 2019

DESKTOP 2232 - JADE

Jade is an ornamental mineral, mostly known for its green varieties. It can refer to either of two different minerals: Nephrite, a silicate of calcium and magnesium, or jadeite, a silicate of sodium and aluminium. Jade is featured prominently in ancient Asian art, but also has an important place in many other cultures.

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

Monday, 9 September 2019

DESKTOP 2231 - DERRY, IRELAND

Derry (officially Londonderry), is the second-largest city in Northern Ireland and the fourth-largest city on the island of Ireland. The name Derry is an anglicisation of the Old Irish name Daire (modern Irish: Doire) meaning “oak grove”. In 1613, the city was granted a Royal Charter by King James I and gained the “London” prefix to reflect the funding of its construction by the London guilds. While the city is more usually known colloquially as Derry, Londonderry is also commonly used and remains the legal name.

The old walled city lies on the west bank of the River Foyle, which is spanned by two road bridges and one footbridge. The city now covers both banks (Cityside on the west and Waterside on the east). The population of the city was 83,652 at the 2001 Census, while the Derry Urban Area had a population of 90,736.The district administered by Derry City and Strabane District Council contains both Londonderry Port and City of Derry Airport.

Derry is close to the border with County Donegal, with which it has had a close link for many centuries. The person traditionally seen as the founder of the original Derry is Saint Colmcille, a holy man from Tír Chonaill, the old name for almost all of modern County Donegal, of which the west bank of the Foyle was a part before 1610. In 2013, Derry was the inaugural UK City of Culture, having been awarded the title in 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.

DESKTOP 2230 - WINTRY

We have had a return of the Winter weather lately with rain, cold and wind keeping things cosy indoors. Not that walks out into the Parklands are contraindicated!

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Macro Monday meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.

Thursday, 5 September 2019

DESKTOP 2226 - GUMTREE

Eucalyptus leucoxylon, commonly known as the Yellow Gum, (South Australian) Blue Gum or White Ironbark, is a small to medium-sized tree with rough bark on the lower 1-2 metres of the trunk, above this, the bark becomes smooth with a white, yellow or bluish-grey surface. Adult leaves are stalked, lanceolate to broad-lanceolate, to 13 x 2.5 cm, concolorous, dull, green. Flowers in white, pink or red appear during winter. 

E. leucoxylon is widely distributed on plains and nearby mountain ranges or coastal South Australia, where it is known as the Blue Gum and extends into the western half of Victoria where it is known as the Yellow gum.

The species has been divided into numerous varieties and subspecies. A spectacular red-flowered form of uncertain provenance Eucalyptus leucoxylon ‘Rosea’ (shown here) is widely planted as an ornamental plant, it flowers profusely in winter. A threatened subspecies known as the Bellarine Yellow Gum (Eucalyptus leucoxylon subsp. bellarinensis) is endemic to the Bellarine Peninsula at the south-eastern end of the species' range. The leaves are distilled for the production of cineole based eucalyptus oil.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 4 September 2019

DESKTOP 2225 - IRIS

Iris is a genus of about 300 species of flowering plants with showy flowers. It takes its name from the ancient Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris, referring to the wide variety of flower colours found among the many species. As well as being the scientific name, iris is also very widely used as a common name for all Iris species, though some plants called thus belong to other closely related genera. A common name for some species is 'flags', while the plants of the subgenus Scorpiris are widely known as 'junos', particularly in horticulture. 

It is a popular garden flower and its blossoms provide wonderful splashes of colour in the Spring garden. The genus is widely distributed throughout the north temperate zone. Their habitats are varied, ranging from cold and montane regions to the grassy slopes, meadowlands and riverbanks of Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa, Asia and across North America. Irises are perennial herbs, growing from creeping rhizomes (rhizomatous irises) or, in drier climates, from bulbs (bulbous irises). They have long, erect flowering stems which may be simple or branched, solid or hollow, and flattened or have a circular cross-section. The rhizomatous species usually have 3–10 basal sword-shaped leaves growing in dense clumps. The bulbous species have cylindrical, basal leaves.

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

Tuesday, 3 September 2019

DESKTOP 2224 - HAARLEM, HOLLAND

Haarlem (predecessor of Harlem in the English language) is a city and municipality in the Netherlands. It is the capital of the province of North Holland and is situated at the northern edge of the Randstad, one of the most populated metropolitan areas in Europe. Haarlem had a population of 155,758 in 2014. It is a 15-minute train ride from Amsterdam, and many residents commute to the country’s capital for work.

Haarlem was granted city status or stadsrechten in 1245, although the first city walls were not built until 1270. The modern city encompasses the former municipality of Schoten as well as parts that previously belonged to Bloemendaal and Heemstede. Apart from the city, the municipality of Haarlem also includes the western part of the village of Spaarndam. Newer sections of Spaarndam lie within the neighbouring municipality of Haarlemmerliede en Spaarnwoude.

There are several museums in Haarlem. The Teylers Museum lies on the Spaarne River and is the oldest museum of the Netherlands. Its main subjects are art, science and natural history, and it owns a number of works by Michelangelo and Rembrandt. Another museum is the Frans Hals Museum of fine arts, with its main location housing Dutch master paintings, and its exhibition halls on the Grote Markt housing a gallery for modern art called De Hallen. Also on the Grote Markt, in the cellar of the Vleeshal is the Archeologisch Museum Haarlem, while across the square on Saturdays, the Hoofdwacht building is open with exhibitions on Haarlem history. Other museums are Het Dolhuys (a museum of psychiatry), the Ten Boom Museum (a hiding place for Jews in World War II) and the Historisch Museum Haarlem, across from the Frans Hals Museum.

Every year in April the bloemencorso (flower parade) takes place. Floats decorated with flowers drive from Noordwijk to Haarlem, where they are exhibited for one day. In the same month there is also a funfair organised on the Grote Markt and the Zaanenlaan in Haarlem-Noord. Other festivals are held on the Grote Markt as well, in particular the annual Haarlem Jazz & More (formerly known as Haarlem Jazzstad), a music festival, and Haarlem Culinair, a culinary event, as well as the biannual Haarlemse Stripdagen (Haarlem comic days). Bevrijdingspop is a music festival to celebrate the Dutch liberation from the Nazis after World War II. It is held every year on 5 May, the day that the Netherlands were liberated in 1945, at the Haarlemmerhout. At the same location, the Haarlemmerhoutfestival is also held every year, which is a music and theatre festival.

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, 2 September 2019

DESKTOP 2223 - FLOWERS

As Winter leaves us and we enter into a Southern Hemisphere Spring, the garden is a wonderful place to be!

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme.

Sunday, 1 September 2019

DESKTOP 2222 - RAIN

We waved goodbye to Winter and welcomed Spring with mixed weather offerings of rain and sunshine. Here rain falls in Southbank but fails to hide the ugly high rise apartments...

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.