Thursday, 27 July 2017

DESKTOP 1458 - BANKSIA

Banksia is a genus of around 170 species in the plant family Proteaceae. These Australian wildflowers and popular garden plants are easily recognised by their characteristic flower spikes and fruiting "cones" and heads. Banksias range in size from prostrate woody shrubs to trees up to 30 metres tall. They are found in a wide variety of landscapes; sclerophyll forest, (occasionally) rainforest, shrubland, and some more arid landscapes, though not in Australia's deserts.

Heavy producers of nectar, banksias are a vital part of the food chain in the Australian bush. They are an important food source for all sorts of nectarivorous animals, including birds, bats, rats, possums, stingless bees and a host of invertebrates. Furthermore, they are of economic importance to Australia's nursery and cut flower industries. However these plants are threatened by a number of processes including land clearing, frequent burning and disease, and a number of species are rare and endangered.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

DESKTOP 1457 - CAPRICORN

Capricorn (♑) is the tenth astrological sign in the zodiac, originating from the constellation of Capricornus. It spans the 270–300th degree of the zodiac, corresponding to celestial longitude. Under the tropical zodiac, the sun transits this area from December 22 to January 19 each year, and under the sidereal zodiac, the sun transits the constellation of Capricorn from approximately January 16 to February 16.

In astrology, Capricorn is considered an earth sign, negative sign, and one of the four cardinal signs. Capricorn is said to be ruled by the planet Saturn. Its symbol is based on the Sumerians' primordial god of wisdom and waters, Enki, with the head and upper body of a goat and the lower body and tail of a fish. Later known as Ea in Akkadian and Babylonian mythology, Enki was the god of intelligence (gestú, literally "ear"), creation, crafts; magic; water, seawater and lakewater (a, aba, ab).

The goat part of the symbol depicts ambition, resoluteness, intelligence, curiosity, but also steadiness, and ability to thrive in inhospitable environments while the fish represents passion, spirituality, intuition, and connection with the soul. Individuals born between December 21 to January 19 may be called Capricornian. Capricorn is third and last of the earth signs in the zodiac, the other two being Taurus and Virgo.

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

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

DESKTOP 1456 - SITHONIA, GREECE

Sithonia (Greek: Σιθωνία), also known as Longos, is a peninsula of Chalkidiki, which itself is located on a larger peninsula within Greece. The Kassandra Peninsula lies to the west of Sithonia and the Mount Athos peninsula to the east. Sithonia is also a municipality, covering the Sithonia peninsula. The seat of the municipality is the town Nikiti.

Spathies Beach is typical of the beaches in this region, with crystal clear waters and pine trees that come down almost to the water. The beach is about 44 km southeast of Polygyros and south of Nikiti.

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.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Sunday, 23 July 2017

DESKTOP 1454 - FIORDLAND, NZ

The Fiordland national park forest in the Kepler Mountains, is close to Te Anau in New Zealand's South Island. This wild forest includes ancient podocarp trees. Podocarp trees have been around since the time of Gondwana Land, before continents separated. This includes the giant Rimu tree, which grows to up to 50 metres.

You can literally walk into this forest (on the Kepler Great Walk track) from Te Anau town, or catch a Tracknet bus. Manapouri borders equally impressive Fiordland national park forest, including the giant fuchsia trees, the largest fuchsia in the world, in the remote Back Valley. Also look out for beautiful manuka groves (of honey fame) and a great selection of ferns.

These forests are also home to an amazing array of mosses and lichens, growing on the ground in big soft beds, or covering trees. These diversely-coloured and shaped mosses and lichens are a great indication of the cleanliness of Fiordland's air.

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

Friday, 21 July 2017

DESKTOP 1452 - TINY TOADSTOOLS

These tiny toadstools were growing on a patch of mossy lichen. It was tricky getting close enough to photograph them!

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

Thursday, 20 July 2017

DESKTOP 1451 - PIG'S EAR

Cotyledon orbiculata, commonly known as pig's ear or round-leafed navel-wort, is a South African succulent plant belonging to the Cotyledon genus, family Crassulaceae.

C. orbiculata is an extremely variable species that grows to approximately 1.3 m in height. It has gray-green leaves that can be up to 13 by 7 cm with a white powdery substance on them that helps reflect sunlight and conserve water. The shape of the leaves was thought to have a resemblance to a pig's ear, thus the common name. The bell-shaped flowers are small, usually less than 3 cm  in length, and droop from the top of a 60 cm tall stalk. The flowers are usually orange-red but yellow varieties also exist.

Native to South Africa, it is popular in gardens in many countries. In the wild, it grows naturally in rocky outcrops in grassy shrubland and the Karoo region. In New Zealand, it is considered an invasive plant and is listed on the National Pest Plant Accord.

C. orbiculata has a number of medicinal uses. In South Africa, the fleshy part of the leaf is applied to warts and corns. Heated leaves are used as poultices for boils and other inflammations. Single leaves may be eaten as a vermifuge and the juice has been used to treat epilepsy. However, the leaves contain a bufanolide called cotyledontoxin, which is toxic to sheep, goats, horses, cattle, poultry, and dogs, causing a condition known as cotyledonosis.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

DESKTOP 1450 - BRIGHTON

Brighton is an affluent beach-side suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 11 km south-east of Melbourne's central business district. Its local government area is the City of Bayside. At the 2011 Census, Brighton had a population of 21,257. Brighton is named after Brighton in England. Brighton houses some of the wealthiest citizens in Melbourne with grand homes, and the development of large residential blocks of land. As of June 2016, Brighton has a median house price of AU$ 2,287,500.

Brighton is also well known for its Dendy Street Beach with its 82 colourful beach boxes. Built well over a century ago in response to very Victorian ideas of morality and seaside bathing, the bathing boxes remain almost unchanged. All retain classic Victorian architectural features with timber framing, weatherboards and corrugated iron roofs, though they also bear the hallmarks of individual licencees' artistic and colourful embellishments. 

Thanks to these distinctive decorations, the boxes turn the Brighton seaside into an immediately recognisable, iconic beachscape that can transform by the hour according to season, light and colour. Although these are nothing more than glorified change rooms, they are very much sought after and can fetch prices close to AU$ 300,000.

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

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

DESKTOP 1449 - SANTORINI, BEACH

Santorini (Greek: Σαντορίνη) officially Thira (Greek: Θήρα [ˈθira]), is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km southeast of Greece's mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera.

It forms the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands, with an area of approximately 73 km2 and a 2011 census population of 15,550. The municipality of Santorini includes the inhabited islands of Santorini and Therasia and the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi, and Christiana. The total land area is 90.623 km2.

Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island, and created the current geological caldera. A giant central, rectangular lagoon, which measures about 12 by 7 km, is surrounded by 300 m high, steep cliffs on three sides. The main island slopes downward to the Aegean Sea.

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.


Thursday, 13 July 2017

DESKTOP 1444 - VIREYA RHODODENDRON

Vireya rhododendrons have been grown as garden plants for many years, and are becoming increasingly popular as they are an easy care garden plant. Most are small in size and many varieties are suited to cooler climates. They can be grown in the garden, in containers and some are suited to hanging baskets.

Sometimes seen as a tropical plant, they are actually very versatile. In Australia they grow well in Queensland right through to the Dandenong Ranges. As long as they are grown in a sheltered position away from frosts and in a humus rich free draining soil. They are easily pruned to maintain shape. In terms or origin, Vireya Rhododendrons are small species of evergreen group of shrubs originally from the tropical forests of New Guinea, Borneo and the Philippines.

Vireyas bloom off and on all year 'round, covering the bushes in bright and sometimes fragrant flowers. The picture below is of the Rhododendron 'Tropic Glow' hybrid:

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,
and also part of the Orange you Glad It's Friday meme.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

DESKTOP 1442 - AEOLIAN ISLANDS, ITALY

The Aeolian Islands (Italian: Isole Eolie, Greek: Αιολίδες Νήσοι, Aiolides Nisoi) are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily, named after the demigod of the winds Aeolus. The islands' inhabitants are known as Aeolians (Italian: Eoliani). The Aeolian Islands are a popular tourist destination in the summer and attract up to 200,000 visitors annually. The largest island is Lipari (shown here) and the islands are sometimes referred to as the Lipari Islands or Lipari group. The other islands include Vulcano, Salina, Stromboli, Filicudi, Alicudi, Panarea and Basiluzzo.

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.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

DESKTOP 1437 - BACOPA

Sutera cordata 'Scopia Gulliver Blue' (sometimes known as Bacopa, or Chaenostoma cordatum), is a herbaceous annual with a trailing habit of growth, eventually spilling over the edges of hanging baskets and containers. Its relatively fine texture sets it apart from other garden plants with less refined foliage. This plant will require occasional maintenance and upkeep, and should not require much pruning, except when necessary, such as to remove dieback. It has no significant negative characteristics.

The plant grows to about 15 cm height and spreads over an area 50-60 cm in diameter. It is covered in stunning purple flowers with sky blue overtones and yellow eyes, along the stems from mid-spring to early winter. Its small serrated round leaves remain green in colour throughout the year. The fruit is not ornamentally significant.

Sutera cordata should only be grown in full sunlight. It does best in average to evenly moist conditions, but will not tolerate standing water. It is not particular as to soil type or pH. It is highly tolerant of urban pollution and will even thrive in inner city environments. It can be propagated by cuttings. It is a fine choice for the garden, but it is also a good selection for planting in outdoor containers and hanging baskets. Because of its trailing habit of growth, it is ideally suited for use as a 'spiller' in the 'spiller-thriller-filler' container combination; plant it near the edges where it can spill gracefully over the pot. Note that when growing plants in outdoor containers and baskets, they may require more frequent waterings than they would in the garden.

Although it's not a true annual, this fast-growing plant can be expected to behave as an annual if left outdoors over cold Winters, usually needing replacement the following year. As such, gardeners should take into consideration that it will perform differently than it would in its native habitat.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

DESKTOP 1436 - ZION

Zion (Hebrew: צִיּוֹן‎‎ Tsiyyon), also transliterated Sion, Sayon, Syon, Tzion or Tsion, is a placename often used as a synonym for Jerusalem. The word is first found in 2 Samuel 5:7 which dates from c.630–540 BC according to modern scholarship. It commonly referred to a specific mountain near Jerusalem (Mount Zion), on which stood a Jebusite fortress of the same name that was conquered by David and was named the City of David.

The term Tzion came to designate the area of Jerusalem where the fortress stood, and later became a metonym for Solomon's Temple, the city of Jerusalem and "the World to Come", the Jewish understanding of the afterlife. In Kabbalah, the more esoteric reference is made to Tzion being the spiritual point from which reality emerges, located in the Holy of Holies of the First, Second and Third Temple.

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

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

DESKTOP 1435 - CELEBRATION

"Life should not only be lived, it should be celebrated."
Osho (Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh)

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, 3 July 2017

DESKTOP 1434 - FROSTY SUNRISE

A couple of days ago we had a very cold night and a frosty morning. Here, at the Darebin Parklands, the view in the morning was quite spectacular!

This post is part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

DESKTOP 1433 - CHICORY

Common chicory, Cichorium intybus, is a somewhat woody, perennial herbaceous plant of the dandelion family usually with bright blue flowers, rarely white or pink. Many varieties are cultivated for salad leaves, chicons (blanched buds), or for roots (var. sativum), which are baked, ground, and used as a coffee substitute and additive. It is also grown as a forage crop for livestock. It lives as a wild plant on roadsides in its native Europe, and now common in North America, China, and Australia where it has become widely naturalised. "Chicory" is also the common name in the United States for curly endive (Cichorium endivia); these two closely related species are often confused.

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

Saturday, 1 July 2017