Tuesday, 31 December 2019

NEW YEAR'S EVE

HAPPY NEW YEAR!
MAY 2020 BE FILLED WITH HEALTH
AND HAPPINESS FOR YOU!

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

Saturday, 28 December 2019

DESKTOP 2340 - HORSE

A horse grazing in Canberra, a few kilometres from the city centre. The don't call it "The Bush Capital" for nothing!

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme.

Friday, 27 December 2019

Thursday, 26 December 2019

DESKTOP 2338 - LOROPETALUM

Loropetalum is a genus of three species of shrubs or small trees in the witch-hazel family, Hamamelidaceae, native to China, Japan, and south-eastern Asia. The name Loropetalum refers to the shape of the flowers and comes from the Greek loros meaning strap and petalon meaning petal.

Flowers are produced in clusters during spring and are similar to those of the closely related witch-hazel. Each flower consists of four to six (depending on species) slender strap shaped petals 1-2 cm long. Illustrated here is Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum, often called "Chinese Fringe Flower".

Plan your colours to begin with, when planting this shrub. This particular loropetalum looks great in a black pot for an oriental feel or try a bright contrasting colour for a real statement. As it’s low growing, plant it at the front of garden beds for maximum impact. Loropetalums in general prefer moist but well drained soils but are quite adaptable to less than ideal conditions. Pruning is generally not required, however, you can give a light trim after flowering to help keep them in your preferred shape. A feed with a slow release fertiliser in early spring is beneficial. They are ideal for low maintenance areas, rockeries and garden edges.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 25 December 2019

Sunday, 22 December 2019

DESKTOP 2334 - BALI, INDONESIA

Pura Ulun Danu Bratan, or Pura Bratan, is a major Shivaite and water temple on Bali, Indonesia. The temple complex is located on the shores of Lake Bratan in the mountains near Bedugul. Water temples serve the entire region in the outflow area; downstream there are many smaller water temples that are specific to each irrigation association (subak). Built in 1633, this temple is used for offerings ceremony to the Balinese water, lake and river goddess Dewi Danu, due to the importance of Lake Bratan as a main source of irrigation in central Bali. The 11 stories of pelinggih meru dedicated for Shiva and his consort Parvathi. Buddha statue also present inside this temple.

Lake Bratan is known as the Lake of Holy Mountain due to the fertility of this area. Located 1200 m above sea level, it has a cold tropical climate. Every Tuesday, the piodalan ceremony takes place at the temple, to ensure good water supply to all the rice farmers in Bali. As the day progresses, the lake and its surroundings become crowded with tourists and paddle boats, so if you want to experience the temple in all its glory, start early in the morning, or stay back during the sunset, to capture the beauty in a relatively uncluttered milieu.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Saturday, 21 December 2019

DESKTOP 2333 - DUCKS

The Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata) also called the Maned Duck is very common throughout Australia and can be found in most suburban parks and waterways. They are also seen in woodland areas often perching in the trees. The male is on the right, front and has the darker head, while the female behind to the left is more speckled and has a lighter-coloured head. Here they are seen in the Darebin Parklands in Melbourne.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme.

Friday, 20 December 2019

DESKTOP 2332 - SMOKY SKY

Thick haze descended on Melbourne today, with a north-easterly wind carrying smoke from the fatal NSW bushfires into our city, a distance of hundreds of kilometres. The temperature soared to a maximum of 45˚C making for apocalyptic scenery and a terrible day to have to be outdoors... This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday, 19 December 2019

DESKTOP 2331 - CHOISYA

Choisya is a small genus of aromatic evergreen shrubs in the rue family, Rutaceae. Members of the genus are commonly known as Mexican orange or mock orange due to the similarity of their flowers with those of the closely related orange, both in shape and scent. They are native to southern North America, from Arizona, New Mexico, Texas and south through most of Mexico. In its generic name Humboldt and Bonpland honoured Swiss botanist Jacques Denis Choisy (1799-1859).

The species grow to 1 to 3 m tall. The leaves are opposite, leathery, glossy, palmately compound with 3-13 leaflets, each leaflet 3–8 cm long and 0.5–3.5 cm broad. C. ternata (shown here) has three broad leaflets, while C. dumosa has up to 13 very narrow leaflets. The flowers are star-shaped, 3–5 cm diameter, with 4-7 white petals, 8-15 stamens and a green stigma; they are produced throughout the late spring and summer. The fruit is a leathery two to six sectioned capsule.

Choisya species are popular ornamental plants in areas with mild winters, grown primarily for their abundant and fragrant flowers. The foliage is also aromatic, smelling of rue when bruised or cut. The most commonly found cultivars in the horticultural trade are the species, C. ternata, the golden-leaved C. ternata 'Sundance', and the inter-specific hybrid C. 'Aztec Pearl' (C. arizonica x C. ternata). All three varieties have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. The flowers are also valued for honeybee forage, producing abundant nectar.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 18 December 2019

DESKTOP 2330 - XANTHOPHYLL

xanthophyll | ˈzanθə(ʊ)fɪl |
noun [mass noun] Biochemistry
A yellow or brown carotenoid plant pigment which causes the autumn colours of leaves.
ORIGIN
mid 19th century: from Greek xanthos ‘yellow’ + phullon ‘leaf’.


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

Tuesday, 17 December 2019

DESKTOP 2329 - BROOME, AUSTRALIA

Broome is a coastal, pearlfishing and tourist town in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, 2,240 km north of Perth. The urban population is estimated at 14,776, growing to over 45,000 per month during the tourist season. Broome International Airport provides transport to several domestic destinations.

Cable Beach is situated 7 km from town along a bitumen road and is named in honour of the Java-to-Australia undersea telegraph cable which reaches shore there. The beach itself is 22.5 km long with white sand, washed by tides that can reach over 9 m. The beach is almost perfectly flat. Caution is required when swimming from November to March as box jellyfish are present during those months. There have been cases where crocodiles have been sighted off the shore, but this is a rarity and measures are taken to prevent these situations.

Four wheel drive vehicles may be driven onto the beach from the car park. This allows people to explore the beach at low tide to a much greater extent than would be possible on foot. Sunset camel rides operate daily along the beach.

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

Monday, 16 December 2019

DESKTOP 2328 - 9 MORE SLEEPS...

A mosaic of reflections on Christmas ornaments, reminding us that the Big Guy's arrival is only 9 sleeps away!

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, 14 December 2019

DESKTOP 2326 - ZEBRAS

Zebras are several species of African equids (horse family) all having in common, distinctive black and white striped coats. Their stripes come in different patterns, unique to each individual. They are generally social animals that live in small harems to large herds. Unlike their closest relatives, horses and donkeys, zebras have never been truly domesticated.

There are three species of zebras: The plains zebra, the mountain zebra and the Grévy's zebra. The plains zebra and the mountain zebra belong to the subgenus Hippotigris, but Grévy's zebra is the sole species of subgenus Dolichohippus. The latter resembles an ass, to which it is closely related, while the former two are more horse-like. All three belong to the genus Equus, along with other living equids.

This post is part of the Weekend in Black and White,
and also part of the Saturday Critters meme.

Thursday, 12 December 2019

DESKTOP 2324 - POLYGALA

Polygala myrtifolia, the myrtle-leaf milkwort, is an evergreen 2-4m tall South African shrub or small tree found along the southern and south-eastern coasts, from near Clanwilliam in the Western Cape to KwaZulu-Natal. It is a fast-growing pioneer plant, a typical fynbos component, and may be found on dunes, rocky places, along forest margins, beside streams, and in open grassland. It belongs to the milkwort family of Polygalaceae.

The thin, oval, mucronate leaves, 25–50 mm long and up to 13 mm wide, are arranged alternately and have entire margins - some forms of P. myrtifolia have thin, needle-like leaves. The attractive mauve sweetpea-like flowers, which close at night, may also be pink, magenta, crimson or white, and have a characteristic brush-like tuft protruding from the keel. For pollination an intricate piston mechanism is used. The fruit is an oval, brown, dehiscent capsule which is narrowly winged.

The species is often cultivated in South African and Australasian gardens. The genus of Polygala comprises some 360 species with a wide distribution in the tropics and temperate zones. 'Polygala' is interpreted as 'much milk' since the plant was thought to stimulate milk production in European cows - 'myrtifolia' translates as 'myrtle-shaped leaves'. This species has become naturalised in some of the coastal areas of Australia, Norfolk Island, New Zealand and California. This species is noted for its antibacterial and antifungal properties. Research conducted by the University of KwaZulu Natal found that aqueous extracts of P. myrtifolia proved effective against Candida albicans.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 11 December 2019

DESKTOP 2323 - WEATHER

Melbourne, the state capital of Victoria and second largest city in Australia, has a temperate oceanic climate (Köppen climate classification Cfb) and is well known for its changeable weather conditions. This is mainly due to Melbourne's geographical location. This temperature differential is most pronounced in the spring and summer months and can cause strong cold fronts to form. These cold fronts can be responsible for all sorts of severe weather from gales to severe thunderstorms and hail, abrupt temperature drops, and heavy rain. In late Winter and early spring we do get a lot of weather and it's quite dramatic to see the sky darkening with clouds as the change moves in.

In the last few weeks we have experienced a great deal of weather and some quite spectacular changes that have come through and affected the city. I'm just grateful that we have not had the extreme heat and drought that have caused the massive bushfires that have been burning for months now in the Northeast coast.

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

Tuesday, 10 December 2019

DESKTOP 2322 - LIMA, PERU

Lima is the capital and the largest city of Peru. It is located in the valleys of the Chillón, Rímac and Lurín rivers, in the central coastal part of the country, overlooking the Pacific Ocean. Together with the seaport of Callao, it forms a contiguous urban area known as the Lima Metropolitan Area. With a population of more than 9 million, Lima is the most populous metropolitan area of Peru and the second-largest city in the Americas (as defined by "city proper"), behind São Paulo.

Lima was founded by Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro on January 18, 1535, as Ciudad de los Reyes. It became the capital and most important city in the Spanish Viceroyalty of Peru. Following the Peruvian War of Independence, it became the capital of the Republic of Peru. Around one-third of the national population lives in the metropolitan area. Lima is home to one of the oldest institutions of higher learning in the New World. The National University of San Marcos, founded on May 12, 1551, during the Spanish colonial regime, is the oldest continuously functioning university in the Americas.

In October 2013, Lima was chosen to host the 2019 Pan American Games. It also hosted the December 2014 United Nations Climate Change Conference and the Miss Universe 1982 pageant. In October 2015, Lima hosted the 2015 Annual Meetings of the World Bank Group and the International Monetary Fund.

Lima’s architecture offers a mix of styles. Examples of early colonial architecture include the Monastery of San Francisco, the Cathedral and the Torre Tagle Palace. These constructions are generally influenced by Spanish Baroque, Spanish Neoclassical and Spanish Colonial styles. After independence, preferences gradually shifted toward neoclassical and Art Nouveau styles. Many of these works were influenced by French architectural styles. Many government buildings and major cultural institutions were constructed in this period.

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, 9 December 2019

DESKTOP 2321 - CITY

Ambling along the banks of the Yarra River on the South side, looking out towards the North. Picnicking, walking, boating, photographing, canoeing, or just having a lazy afternoon relaxing on the lawn, which is disrupted every now and then by the squawking seagulls... 

Deborah Halpern's mosaic sculpture "Angel" is prominent in the second small shot. Deborah  is one of Australia's most celebrated sculptors, known for her wildly colourful mosaic work. "Angel" stood in the moat of the National Gallery of Victoria for many years before it was moved to its current location.

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, 7 December 2019

Thursday, 5 December 2019

DESKTOP 2317 - HYDRANGEA

Hydrangea (common names hydrangea or hortensia) is a genus of 70-75 species of flowering plants in the Hydrangeaceae family, native to southern and eastern Asia (China, Japan, Korea, the Himalayas, and Indonesia) and the Americas. By far the greatest species diversity is in eastern Asia, notably China, Japan, and Korea. Most are shrubs 1 to 3 meters tall, but some are small trees, and others lianas reaching up to 30 m by climbing up trees. 

They can be either deciduous or evergreen, though the widely cultivated temperate species are all deciduous. Having been introduced to the Azores, H. macrophylla is now very common, particularly on Faial, which is known as the "blue island" due to the vast number of hydrangeas present on the island. Species in the related genus Schizophragma, also in Hydrangeaceae, are also often known as hydrangeas. Schizophragma hydrangeoides and Hydrangea petiolaris are both commonly known as climbing hydrangeas.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 4 December 2019

DESKTOP 2316 - VALLEY VISTA

The Yarra Valley is the name given to the region surrounding the Yarra River in Victoria, Australia. The river originates approximately 790 kilometres east of the Melbourne central business district and flows towards it and out into Port Phillip Bay. The name Yarra Valley is used in reference to the upper regions surrounding the Yarra River and generally does not encompass the lower regions including the city and suburban areas, where the topography flattens out, or the upper reaches which are in inaccessible bushland.

Included in the Yarra Valley is the sub-region of lower Yarra (or the lower Yarra Valley) which encompasses the towns of the former Shire of lower Yarra in the catchment area upstream of and including Woori Yallock. The Yarra Valley is a popular day-trip and tourist area, featuring a range of natural features and agricultural produce, as well as the Lilydale to Warburton Rail Trail.

The Yarra Valley is host to a thriving wine growing industry, with numerous vineyards making excellent wines. The area's relatively cool climate makes it particularly suited to the production of high-quality chardonnay, pinot noir and sparkling wine.

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

Monday, 2 December 2019

DESKTOP 2315 - PINNACLES, WA

The Pinnacles are limestone formations contained within Nambung National Park, near the town of Cervantes, Western Australia. The raw material for the limestone of the Pinnacles came from seashells in an earlier epoch rich in marine life. These shells were broken down into lime rich sands which were blown inland to form high mobile dunes. The Pinnacles remained unknown to most Australians until the 1960s, when the area was added to Nambung National Park. The area receives over 250,000 visitors a year. A visitor precinct and interpretive centre was completed in March 2008.

The best season to see the Pinnacles is Spring (from August to October), as the days are mild and wildflowers start to bloom. The pinnacle formations are best viewed in the early morning or late afternoon as the play of light brings out the colours and the extended shadows of the formations delivers a contrast that brings out their features. Most animals in the park are nocturnal, but emus and kangaroos can be seen during the daytime, more commonly in the evening or early morning.

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 2314 - FLORAL

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