Thursday, 31 December 2015

CHRISTMAS LILIES

Lilium candidum (popularly known as the Madonna lily, Easter lily and Christmas lily in the Southern Hemisphere) is a plant in the true lily family, Liliaceae. It is native to Greece, the western Balkans and the Middle East, and naturalised in other parts of Europe (France, Italy, Ukraine, etc.) as well as in North Africa, the Canary Islands, Mexico, and other places.

It forms bulbs at ground level, and unlike other lilies, has a basal rosette of leaves through the winter, which die back in summer. A leafy flower stem, typically up to 1.2 metres high, sometimes up to 2 metres high, emerges in late spring and bears sweetly and headily fragrant flowers in summer. Flowers are white, flushed yellow at the base.

It has long been cultivated, but is susceptible to virus diseases of lilies, and to Botrytis fungus. One possible way to avoid problems with viruses is to grow plants raised from seed. This is currently in bloom in our garden, although it is suffering a little from the excessive unseasonable December heat (40˚C today!).

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.




Saturday, 26 December 2015

Friday, 25 December 2015

FRIDAY GREENS #52 - GATE

Welcome to this meme active every Friday. The theme is "Friday Greens" and you can post images, art, photos where the predominant colour is GREEN!
GREEN is the colour between blue and yellow in the spectrum; coloured like grass or emeralds.
I appreciate your comments, and please add a link back to this page from your own Friday Greens blog post. The meme is only as successful as you make it be! Please add your own GREEN post using the Linky tool below:

Thursday, 24 December 2015

WHITE WATER LILY

Members of the Nymphaceae family are commonly called water lilies and live as rhizomatous aquatic herbs in temperate and tropical climates around the world. The family contains eight large-flowered genera with about 70 species. The genus Nymphaea contains about 35 species in the Northern Hemisphere. The genus Victoria contains two species of giant water lilies endemic to South America.

Water lilies are rooted in soil in bodies of water, with leaves and flowers floating on the surface. The leaves are round, with a radial notch in Nymphaea and Nuphar, but fully circular in Victoria. Water lilies are a well studied clade of plants because their large flowers with multiple unspecialised parts were initially considered to represent the floral pattern of the earliest flowering plants, and later genetic studies confirmed their evolutionary position as basal angiosperms. Analyses of floral morphology and molecular characteristics and comparisons with a sister taxon, the family Cabombaceae, indicate, however, that the flowers of extant water lilies with the most floral parts are more derived than the genera with fewer floral parts.

Genera with more floral parts, Nuphar, Nymphaea, Victoria, have a beetle pollination syndrome, while genera with fewer parts are pollinated by flies or bees, or are self- or wind-pollinated. Thus, the large number of relatively unspecialised floral organs in the Nymphaeaceae is not an ancestral condition for the clade. Horticulturally water lilies have been hybridised for temperate gardens since the nineteenth century, and the hybrids are divided into three groups: hardy, night-blooming tropical, and day-blooming tropical water lilies. Hardy water lilies are hybrids of Nymphaea species from the subgenus Castalia; night-blooming tropical water lilies are developed from the subgenus Lotos; and the day-blooming tropical plants arise from hybridisation of plants of the subgenus Brachyceras.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Tuesday, 22 December 2015

HEIDELBERG, GERMANY

Heidelberg is a city situated on the River Neckar in south-west Germany. The fifth-largest town in the State of Baden-Württemberg after Stuttgart, Karlsruhe, Mannheim and Freiburg im Breisgau, Heidelberg is part of the densely populated Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region. In 2011, over 149,000 people lived in the city.

A former residence of the Electorate of the Palatinate, Heidelberg is the location of Heidelberg University, well known far beyond Germany's borders. Heidelberg is a popular tourist destination due to its romantic and picturesque cityscape, including Heidelberg Castle and the baroque style Old Town.


The "old town" (German: Altstadt), on the south bank of the Neckar, is long and narrow. It is dominated by the ruins of Heidelberg Castle, 80 metres above the Neckar on the steep wooded slopes of the Königstuhl (King's chair or throne) hill.

The Main Street (Hauptstrasse), a mile-long pedestrian street, running the length of the old town.
The old stone bridge was erected 1786–1788. A medieval bridge gate is on the side of the old town, and was originally part of the town wall. Baroque tower helmets were added as part of the erection of the stone bridge in 1788.
The Church of the Holy Spirit (Heiliggeistkirche), a late Gothic church in the marketplace of the old town.
The Karls‘ gate (Karlstor) is a triumphal arch in honour of the Prince Elector Karl Theodor, located at Heidelberg's east side. It was built 1775–1781 and designed by Nicolas de Pigage.
The house Zum Ritter Sankt Georg (Knight St. George) is one of the few buildings to survive the War of Succession. Standing across from the Church of the Holy Spirit, it was built in the style of the late Renaissance. It is named after the sculpture at the top.
The Marstall (Stables), a 16th-century building on the Neckar that has served several purposes through its history. It is now a cafeteria for the university.

The castle is a mix of styles from Gothic to Renaissance. Prince Elector Ruprecht III (1398–1410) erected the first building in the inner courtyard as a royal residence. The building was divided into a ground floor made of stone and framework upper levels. Another royal building is located opposite the Ruprecht Building: the Fountain Hall.


Prince Elector Philipp (1476–1508) is said to have arranged the transfer of the hall's columns from a decayed palace of Charlemagne from Ingelheim to Heidelberg. In the 16th and 17th centuries, the Prince Electors added two palace buildings and turned the fortress into a castle. The two dominant buildings at the eastern and northern side of the courtyard were erected during the rule of Ottheinrich (1556–1559) and Friedrich IV (1583–1610).


Under Friedrich V (1613–1619), the main building of the west side was erected, the so-called "English Building". The castle and its garden were destroyed several times during the Thirty Years' War and the Palatine War of Succession. As Prince Elector Karl Theodor tried to restore the castle, lightning struck in 1764, and ended all attempts at rebuilding. Later on, the castle was misused as a quarry; stones from the castle were taken to build new houses in Heidelberg. This was stopped in 1800 by Count Charles de Graimberg, who then began the process of preserving the castle.


This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,

and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Trees & Bushes meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme.







Saturday, 19 December 2015

RAINBOW LORIKEETS

A rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus haematodus) is a species of Australasian parrot found in Australia, eastern Indonesia (Maluku and Western New Guinea), Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. It is widespread in the Melbourne area and will happily feed in gardens with native plants.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Friday Greens meme,
and also part of Pippa's Week That Has Been Friday meme,
and also part of the Saturday Silhouettes meme,
and also part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.





Friday, 18 December 2015

FRIDAY GREENS #51 - OLD BIKE

Welcome to this meme active every Friday. The theme is "Friday Greens" and you can post images, art, photos where the predominant colour is GREEN!
GREEN is the colour between blue and yellow in the spectrum; coloured like grass or emeralds.
I appreciate your comments, and please add a link back to this page from your own Friday Greens blog post. The meme is only as successful as you make it be! Please add your own GREEN post using the Linky tool below:

Thursday, 17 December 2015

PROTEAS

Protea is both the botanical name and the English common name of a genus of South African flowering plants, sometimes also called sugarbushes (Afrikaans: suikerbos). The genus Protea was named in 1735 by Carl Linnaeus after the Greek god Proteus, who could change his form at will, because proteas have such a wide variety of forms.

The Proteaceae family to which proteas belong is an ancient one. Its ancestors grew in Gondwana, 300 million years ago. Proteaceae is divided into two subfamilies: the Proteoideae, best represented in southern Africa, and the Grevilleoideae, concentrated in Australia and South America and the other smaller segments of Gondwana that are now part of eastern Asia. Africa shares only one genus with Madagascar, whereas South America and Australia share many common genera — this indicates they separated from Africa before they separated from each other.

Most proteas occur south of the Limpopo River. However, Protea kilimanjaro is found in the chaparral zone of Mount Kenya National Park. 92% of the species occur only in the Cape Floristic Region, a narrow belt of mountainous coastal land from Clanwilliam to Grahamstown, South Africa. The extraordinary richness and diversity of species characteristic of the Cape Flora is thought to be caused in part by the diverse landscape where populations can become isolated from each other and in time develop into separate species.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.



Friday, 11 December 2015

FRIDAY GREENS #50 - SUMMERTIME

Welcome to this meme active every Friday. The theme is "Friday Greens" and you can post images, art, photos where the predominant colour is GREEN!
GREEN is the colour between blue and yellow in the spectrum; coloured like grass or emeralds.
I appreciate your comments, and please add a link back to this page from your own Friday Greens blog post.
The meme is only as successful as you make it be! Please add your own GREEN post using the Linky tool below:

Thursday, 10 December 2015

RHODODENDRON

Rhododendron 'Mrs. Murple's Purple', has large, 5 lobed, ruffled, star-shaped flowers that form a large ball truss that complements the attractive foliage and good growth habit. Each flower is a medium purple with a hint of red and fades to a white centre with a gold blotch on the upper lobe. The reverse of each flower has more of a reddish tint which helps to create a lovely contrast with the white anthers. (produced by crossing 'Purple Splendour' x 'Whitney's Purple').

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Saturday, 5 December 2015

MORNING SILHOUETTES

This is the beginning of a very hot day in Melbourne... The Summer has arrived and we are experiencing temperatures in the mid 30s. The location is the Fitzroy Gardens, close to the City centre.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Saturday Silhouettes meme.

Friday, 4 December 2015

FRIDAY GREENS #49 - SENECIO

Welcome to this meme active every Friday. The theme is "Friday Greens" and you can post images, art, photos where the predominant colour is GREEN!
GREEN is the colour between blue and yellow in the spectrum; coloured like grass or emeralds.
Senecio serpens is a trailing evergreen ground cover with succulent, blue-green, cylindrical foliage. White flowers are produced in Summer. Useful for growing along pathways, on embankments and in rockeries. Also ideal for container planting. It prefers a full sun to partly shaded position in well drained soil, but will tolerate a range of different conditions. Drought tolerant but sensitive to frost. maintenance and water requirement once established. Prune lightly after flowering to maintain compact growing habit.

I appreciate your comments, and please add a link back to this page from your own Friday Greens blog post.

The meme is only as successful as you make it be! Please add your own GREEN post using the Linky tool below:

EAT YOUR GREENS!

Vegetables contain a range of antioxidants and other disease-fighting compounds that are very difficult to get anywhere else. Plant compounds called phytochemicals can reduce inflammation and eliminate carcinogens, while others regulate the rate at which your cells reproduce, get rid of old cells and maintain DNA. Studies have repeatedly shown that people with higher vegetable intake have:
  • Lower risks of stroke, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, Alzheimer's disease and heart disease;
  • Lower risks of certain types of cancer, eye diseases and digestive problems;
  • Reduced risk of kidney stones and bone loss;
  • Higher scores on cognitive tests;
  • Higher antioxidant levels;
  • Lower biomarkers for oxidative stress.
Also, leafy vegetables are ideal for weight management as they are typically low in calories. Green vegetables are also a major source of iron and calcium for any diet. They are a good source of minerals and vitamins (such as magnesium, vitamin C and folate), and of course, dietary fibre.

So yes, Mother was right all along. I bet Grandma also told you they were good for you! So eat them daily! Most adults should eat at least 5 serves from the vegetable group a day.

This post is part of the Friday Greens meme,
and also part of the Food Friday meme.

Thursday, 3 December 2015

TUBEROUS BEGONIA

Tuberous begonias (Begonia tuberhybrida Hybrids) are among the most spectacular of all begonias but they are also the most difficult to grow. But, if you don’t mind a challenge (these plants are definitely hobbyist plants), the results can be very rewarding. Tuberous begonias are usually grown in pots, but there are also hanging basket varieties.

These come from the original South American species but tend to be much easier to grow than other forms as they require less training (they are naturally pendulous) and are more tolerant of unsatisfactory conditions (including heat and humidity). These can be used as patio or fernery plants. Plants can be grown either from seed or from tubers but in Australia are mainly grown from tubers. Planting a tuber of a named variety will guarantee that you will grow the same variety.

Begonias originated as rainforest plants in South America where they are now considered endangered in the wild. The name ‘begonia’ was given to this genus to honour Michel Begon (1638-1710), an amateur French botanist who collected begonias from Santo Domingo while stationed there with the French navy. Tuberous begonias were discovered later by an Englishman, Richard Pearce, in 1864.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.