Friday, 21 February 2020

DESKTOP 2395 - FREMANTLE

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.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday, 20 February 2020

DESKTOP 2394 - CANDY STRIPE PHLOX

Phlox subulata 'Candy Stripe' (=Moss Phlox USDA Zone: 2-9) is a popular garden cultivar of phlox. There are many selections of Moss Phlox, all of them forming a low mound or cushion of dark green needle-like leaves, smothered by tiny flowers in late spring. This variety produces a showy display of rose-pink flowers, each petal striped with white. Clip plants lightly immediately after blooming to encourage a dense habit. Wonderful in the sunny rock garden, for edging, or in mixed containers. Clumps may be ripped apart and divided in early Autumn, after 3 to 4 years. Requires good drainage. Drought tolerant, once established.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 18 February 2020

DESKTOP 2392 - ABU SIMBEL

The Abu Simbel temples are two massive rock temples at Abu Simbel (أبو سمبل in Arabic), a village in Nubia, southern Egypt, near the border with Sudan. They are situated on the western bank of Lake Nasser, about 230 km southwest of Aswan (about 300 km by road). 

The complex is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the "Nubian Monuments," which run from Abu Simbel downriver to Philae (near Aswan). The twin temples were originally carved out of the mountainside during the reign of Pharaoh Ramesses II in the 13th century BC, as a lasting monument to himself and his queen Nefertari, to commemorate his victory at the Battle of Kadesh.

Their huge external rock relief figures have become iconic. The complex was relocated in its entirety in 1968, on an artificial hill made from a domed structure, high above the Aswan High Dam reservoir. The relocation of the temples was necessary to prevent their being submerged during the creation of Lake Nasser, the massive artificial water reservoir formed after the building of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile River.

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, 16 February 2020

DESKTOP 2390 - WOOD

The Mullum Mullum Creek winds lazily through northeastern Melbourne, flowing from South to North and emptying into the Yarra River near Eltham South. Along its path there are many nature reserves where there are picnic facilities and also of course havens for the native flora and fauna.

Residents of the outer suburbs of Melbourne have ready access to many such waterways and reserves, which makes living in the big metropolis very attractive - all of the comforts and diversions of a big urban centre, but also the joys of country life all within a radius of a few tens of kilometres. This photo is taken in Deep Creek Reserve close to Warrandyte Rd.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

DESKTOP 2387 - CHIVES

Chives is the common name of Allium schoenoprasum, the smallest species of the edible onion genus. A perennial plant, it is native to Europe, Asia and North America. A. schoenoprasum is the only species of Allium native to both the New and the Old Worlds. The name of the species derives from the Greek skhoínos (sedge) and práson (leek). Its English name, chives, derives from the French word cive, from cepa, the Latin word for onion.

Chives are a commonly used herb and can be found in grocery stores or grown in home gardens. In culinary use, the scapes and the unopened, immature flower buds are diced and used as an ingredient for fish, potatoes, soups, and other dishes. Chives have insect-repelling properties that can be used in gardens to control pests.

The flowers are pale purple, and star-shaped with six petals, 1–2 cm wide, and produced in a dense inflorescence of 10-30 together; before opening, the inflorescence is surrounded by a papery bract. The seeds are produced in a small three-valved capsule, maturing in summer. The herb flowers from April to May in the southern parts of its habitat zones and in June in the northern parts (November to February in the Southern Hemisphere).

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 12 February 2020

DESKTOP 2386 - CALLA HEART

Zantedeschia aethiopica (known as calla lily and arum lily) is a species in the family Araceae, native to southern Africa in Lesotho, South Africa, and Swaziland. It is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant, evergreen where rainfall and temperatures are adequate, deciduous where there is a dry season. Its preferred habitat is in streams and ponds or on the banks. In some countries (e.g. New Zealand) it may be considered an introduced weed.

It grows to 0.6–1 m tall, with large clumps of broad, arrow shaped dark green leaves up to 45 cm long. The Inflorescences are large and are produced in spring, summer and autumn, with a pure white spathe up to 25 cm and a yellow spadix up to 90 mm long. Z. aethiopica contains calcium oxalate, and ingestion of the raw plant may cause a severe burning sensation and swelling of lips, tongue, and throat; stomach pain and diarrhoea may occur.

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the My Corner of the World.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Saturday, 8 February 2020

Thursday, 6 February 2020

DESKTOP 2380 - LACHENALIA

Lachenalia aloides (opal flower) is a species of flowering plant in the family Asparagaceae, native to the Western Cape of South Africa. It is a bulbous perennial growing to 15–28 cm  tall by 5 cm broad, with strap-shaped spotted leaves and fleshy stems bearing pendant tubular yellow flowers, red at the tips, in winter and spring. The Latin aloides literally means "aloe-like"; though L. aloides, despite its similarity, does not belong to the same family of plants as aloes.

Numerous cultivars have been bred for garden use. They require a sheltered, frost-free position or under glass. The following have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit: L. aloides var. aurea and L. aloides var. quadricolor. Lachenalia look good planted at the front of beds and borders, in rockeries, along pathways or in pots.

Plant into well drained soil in a sunny position. They will tolerate some shade but flower better in sun. Plant 5-10cm deep and 10cm apart. Water in then keep just moist in growth. Add a little fertiliser when they begin to bloom and that is about all you will need to do. They are easy care bulbs that can be left in the ground to naturalise. Try combining Lachenalia with Muscari or Grape Hyacinths; they also grow well with early Daffodils or spring star flowers.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

DESKTOP 2378 - KAYSERBERG, FRANCE

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 is 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.

Saturday, 1 February 2020

DESKTOP 2375 - ROSELLA

The eastern rosella (Platycercus eximius) is a rosella native to southeast of the Australian continent and to Tasmania. It has been introduced to New Zealand where feral populations are found in the North Island (notably in the northern half of the island and in the Hutt Valley) and in the hills around Dunedin in the South Island.

The eastern rosella is 30 cm long. It has a red head and white cheeks. The beak is white and the irises are brown. The upper breast is red and the lower breast is yellow fading to pale green over the abdomen. The feathers of the back and shoulders are black, and have yellowish or greenish margins giving rise to a scalloped appearance that varies slightly between the subspecies and the sexes. The wings and lateral tail feathers are bluish while the tail is dark green. The legs are grey. The female is similar to the male though duller in colouration and has an underwing stripe, which is not present in the adult male. Juveniles are duller than females and have an underwing stripe.

The diet of eastern rosellas mainly consists of fruit, seeds, flowers and insects. The natural range of the eastern rosella is eastern Australia, down to Tasmania. The species is found in lightly wooded country, open forests, woodlands, gardens, bushlands and parks. Eastern rosellas usually breed in spring but if needed summer as well. They can have 2-9 eggs. In the wild their breeding hollow is 1m deep and 30m high up a tree. The sign the eastern rosella mostly shows that they would be breeding is that they give food to each other.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme.

Tuesday, 28 January 2020

DEESKTOP 2371 - DURBAN, STH AFRICA

Durban (Zulu: eThekwini, from itheku meaning "bay/lagoon") is the largest city in the South African province of KwaZulu-Natal. Durban's metropolitan municipality ranks third among the most populous urban areas in South Africa after Johannesburg and Cape Town. It is also the second most important manufacturing hub in South Africa after Johannesburg. It forms part of the eThekwini Metropolitan Municipality.

Durban is famous for being the busiest port in South Africa. It is also seen as one of the major centres of tourism because of the city’s warm subtropical climate and extensive beaches. The municipality, which includes neighbouring towns, has a population of almost 3.5 million, making the combined municipality one of the biggest cities on the Indian Ocean coast of the African continent. It is the largest city in KwaZulu-Natal which is the 2nd most populous province in South Africa.

Durban has the highest number of dollar millionaires added per year of any South African city with the number rising 200% between 2000 and 2014. In May 2015, Durban was officially recognised as one of the New7Wonders Cities together with Vigan, Doha, La Paz, Havana, Beirut, and Kuala Lumpur.

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, 26 January 2020

DESKTOP 2369 - MICROBES

This is a mixed media drawing I have just completed. It was inspired by microbes visible in a drop of water under the microscope.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Friday, 24 January 2020

DESKTOP 2367 - SOUTHERN CROSS

Crux is a constellation centred on four stars in the southern sky in a bright portion of the Milky Way. It is among the most easily distinguished constellations as its hallmark stars each have an apparent visual magnitude brighter than +2.8, even though it is the smallest of all 88 modern constellations. Its name is Latin for cross, and it is dominated by a cross-shaped or kite-like asterism that is commonly known as the Southern Cross.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday, 23 January 2020

DESKTOP 2366 - GREVILLEA

Grevillea is a diverse genus of about 360 species of evergreen flowering plants in the family Proteaceae, native to rainforest and more open habitats in Australia, New Guinea, New Caledonia, Sulawesi and other Indonesian islands east of the Wallace Line. It was named in honour of Charles Francis Greville.

The species range from prostrate shrubs less than 50 cm tall to trees 35 m tall. Common names include grevillea, spider flower, silky oak and toothbrush plant. Closely related to the genus Hakea, the genus gives its name to the subfamily Grevilleoideae.

The brightly coloured, petal-less flowers consist of a calyx tube that splits into 4 lobes with long styles. They are good bird-attracting plants, honeyeaters in particular are common visitors. They are also used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the dryandra moth and the Pieris rapae (small white). 

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

DESKTOP 2364 - RIO

Rio de Janeiro (‘River of January’), or simply Rio, is the second-most populous municipality in Brazil and the sixth-most populous in the Americas. Rio de Janeiro is the capital of the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s third-most populous state. Part of the city has been designated as a World Heritage Site, named “Rio de Janeiro: Carioca Landscapes between the Mountain and the Sea”, by UNESCO on 1 July 2012 as a Cultural Landscape. Founded in 1565 by the Portuguese, the city was initially the seat of the Captaincy of Rio de Janeiro, a domain of the Portuguese Empire. Later, in 1763, it became the capital of the State of Brazil, a state of the Portuguese Empire.

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, 19 January 2020

DESKTOP 2362 - PLUMS

Summer means picking home-grown fruit and enjoying tree-ripened, tartly sweet, aromatic and juicy plums - a taste many city dwellers do not have the pleasure of experiencing...

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Thursday, 16 January 2020

DESKTOP 2359 - POPPY

Papaver argemone is a species of the genus Papaver. Its common names include long pricklyhead poppy, prickly poppy and pale poppy. Its native range includes parts of Eurasia and North Africa, and it is cultivated as an ornamental plant. It can be found growing wild in parts of North America, where it is an introduced species.

This annual herb grows up to 50 cm, Its 15–50 cm long, branching stems are coated in stiff prickly hairs. The fern-like green, leaves at the base of the plant have stalks, but upper leaves are stalk-less. They can be up to 20 cm long. It blooms in spring to summer, between May and July. The flowers have four, slightly overlapping red petals, around a dark base. They can measure 2–5.5 cm across, with pale blue anthers and 4-6 stigmas.

Later, the plant produces a seed capsule, oblong to clavate (club-like) shaped with ribs and up to 2 cm long. The plant contains alkaloids, explaining its traditional use in herbal medicines. It also means the plant is not eaten much by grazing animals. It is native to Europe and countries around the Mediterranean. It grows in fields and disturbed soils (including ploughed). It is normally found at 0–300 m above sea level.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 15 January 2020

DESKTOP 2358 - SUMMER

At the Darebin Parklands in suburban Melbourne, showing the effects of the dry weather we have been experiencing. The atmosphere is hazy with the bushfire smoke.

This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the My Corner of the World.

Tuesday, 14 January 2020

DESKTOP 2357 - LEONIDIO, GREECE

Leonidio (Greek: Λεωνίδιο) is a town and a former municipality in Arcadia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality South Kynouria, of which it is a municipal unit. It is considered a traditional settlement. The town of Leonidio, with a population of 3.826, emerges from a spectacular landscape, bound by two abrupt mountainsides enclosing the town from the north and south. The River Dafnon passes through the town, and it is crossed by three bridges. 

The town is capital of the Tsakonia region, notable for its cultural and linguistic particularities, and the settlement itself offers striking and picturesque architecture. It is now a protected architectural site and there are very strict regulations for building within the town limits. The convent of the Virgin of Elone is built on a craggy cliff near Leonidio and the first church there dates from the 1300s. The present convent is built on the ruins of the first church and dates from 1809. 

Plaka is the picturesque port of Leonidio, situated 4 km east of the town. It is sustained mainly with the help of tourism, but a small fishing fleet is also based there. There is a beach and the port has a number of taverns and bars immediately adjacent to the sea. Every August the "Tsakonian Eggplant Festival" is hosted here, attracting well-known chefs from across Europe and achieving ever-growing popularity.

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, 11 January 2020

DESKTOP 2354 - DUSKY MOORHEN

The Dusky Moorhen (Gallinula tenebrosa) is a medium-sized, dark grey-black water bird with a white undertail. It has a red bill with a yellow tip and a red facial shield. Young birds are much duller and browner than adults, with a greenish bill and face shield. It is found from Indonesia through New Guinea to Australia. It is widespread in eastern and south-western Australia, ranging from Cooktown to eastern South Australia and in the southern corner of Western Australia.

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

Thursday, 9 January 2020

DESKTOP 2352 - JASMINE

Jasminum, commonly known as the jasmines, is a genus of shrubs and vines in the olive family (Oleaceae). It contains around 200 species native to tropical and warm temperate regions of the Old World. Jasmines are widely cultivated for the characteristic fragrance of their flowers.

Jasminum angulare (Wild Jasmine) is a species of jasmine that is indigenous to South Africa. This scrambling climber can be grown in the sun or semi-shade. It produces masses of white, scented, star-shaped flowers and it attracts a variety of birds. This is one of around 10 species of Jasmine that naturally occur in South Africa.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 7 January 2020

DESKTOP 2350 - HANOVER, GERMANY

Hanover or Hannover (Low German: Hannober) is the capital and largest city of the German federal state of Lower Saxony, and its 535,061 (2017) inhabitants make it the thirteenth largest city of Germany, as well as the third-largest city of Northern Germany after Hamburg and Bremen. The city lies at the confluence of the River Leine (progression: Aller→ Weser→ North Sea) and its tributary Ihme, in the south of the North German Plain, and is the largest city of the Hannover–Braunschweig–Göttingen–Wolfsburg Metropolitan Region. It is the fifth-largest city in the Low German dialect area after Hamburg, Dortmund, Essen, and Bremen.

Before it became the capital of Lower Saxony in 1946, Hanover was the capital of the Principality of Calenberg (1636-1692), the Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg (1692-1814), the Kingdom of Hanover (1814-1866), the Province of Hanover of the Kingdom of Prussia (1868-1918), the Province of Hanover of the Free State of Prussia (1918-1946), and of the State of Hanover (1946). From 1714 to 1837, Hanover was by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, under their title of the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg (later described as the Elector of Hanover).

The city is a major crossing point of railway lines and highways (Autobahnen), connecting European main lines in both the east-west (Berlin–Ruhr area/Düsseldorf/Cologne) and north-south (Hamburg–Frankfurt/Stuttgart/Munich) directions. Hanover Airport lies north of the city, in Langenhagen, and is Germany's ninth-busiest airport. The city’s most notable institutions of higher education are the Hanover Medical School with its university hospital (Klinikum der Medizinischen Hochschule Hannover), and the University of Hanover.

The Hanover fairground, due to numerous extensions, especially for the Expo 2000, is the largest in the world. Hanover hosts annual commercial trade fairs such as the Hanover Fair and the CeBIT. The IAA Commercial Vehicles show takes place every two years. It is the world's leading trade show for transport, logistics and mobility. Every year Hanover hosts the Schützenfest Hannover, the world's largest marksmen’s festival, and the Oktoberfest Hannover.

The New Town Hall (German: Neues Rathaus) or New City Hall shown here, is a city hall and was opened on July 20, 1913, after having been under construction for 12 years. It is a magnificent, castle-like building of the era of Wilhelm II in eclectic style at the southern edge of the inner city (outside of the historic city centre of Hanover). The building is embedded in the 10 hectare Maschpark. The Old Town Hall is no longer used as the main seat of administration, but houses businesses and the registry office.

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, 6 January 2020

DESKTOP 2349 - SUMMERFIELD REVISITED

Summerfield 

On a perfect Summer's day
Walking on a fresh green field,
Making memories warm and bright
For a cold and dismal Winter's night.

On a Summerfield my merry fay,
With a kiss a promise sealed:
Lips that savoured cool sweet wine, 
Now in Winter's tears taste brine.

Oh to be in Summerfield again,
'Neath blue sky on verdant grass,
Clasping hands and heart alight
How we'd love, all sense delight...

But instead in Winter's bane
I look in frozen looking glass:
Wrinkles, white hair, all decline,
And for Summerfield I long and pine.

NJV

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

Saturday, 4 January 2020

DESKTOP 2347 - TYGER

The Tyger
By William Blake

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye,
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seize the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand & what dread feet?

What the hammer, what the chain,
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil, what dread grasp,
Dare its deadly terrors clasp!

When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger Tyger burning bright,
In the forests of the night:
What immortal hand or eye,
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme.

Friday, 3 January 2020

DESKTOP 2346 - BUSHFIRE SUNSET

Bushfires (=wildfires, or forest fires) in Australia are frequently occurring events during the hotter months of the year due to Australia's mostly hot, dry climate. Large areas of land are ravaged every year by bushfires, which also cause property damage and loss of life. 

Major firestorms that result in severe loss of life are often named based on the day on which they occur, such as Ash Wednesday and Black Saturday. Some of the most intense, extensive and deadly bushfires commonly occur during droughts and heat waves, such as the 2009 Southern Australia heat wave, which precipitated the conditions during the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires in which 173 people lost their lives.

We are currently experiencing a severe bushfire season, which has started early and is still burning in New South Wales and Eastern Victoria. A drought has plagued eastern Australia since early 2017, and rainfall in November was the lowest ever on record, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. Death toll is now at 17 (including three firefighters), with nearly 500 homes lost over the New Year period.

About 7 million acres (three million hectares) have burned in New South Wales since July, according to the area's Rural Fire Service, the BBC reported. And about 12.35 million acres (five million hectares) of land have burned across the country, according to The Associated Press. To put that in perspective, about 4 million acres (1.8 million hectares) burned in California's 2018 wildfires, and about 2 million acres (900,000 hectares) burned during Brazil's 2019 Amazon fires.More than 1,400 homes have been destroyed, according to The Associated Press.

In Melbourne, we are experiencing very bad air quality, a choking smell of smoke and widespread hazy conditions as the smoke from the East Gippsland fires drifts across hundreds of kilometres to reach the City. It makes for red sunsets, which serve as reminder of the devastation these bushfires are causing throughout our country...

You can help the thousands of victims who have lost loved ones, property and the roofs over their heads, here.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.