Sunday, 21 July 2019

CUBE

Melbourne Museum is in the Carlton Gardens in Melbourne, Australia, adjacent to the Royal Exhibition Building. It was designed by Denton Corker Marshall Architects and finished construction in 2001. The museum is a rich response to Melbourne’s urban condition, and provides a place for education, history, culture and society to engage with each other in a contemporary setting.

It is now an important part of Melbourne’s soft infrastructure. It is the largest museum in the Southern Hemisphere, and is a venue of Museum Victoria, which also operates the Immigration Museum and Scienceworks Museum.The museum has seven main galleries, a Children's Gallery and a temporary exhibit gallery on three levels, Upper, Ground and Lower Level and was constructed by Baulderstone Hornibrook.

The entire Children's Gallery (housed in what looks like a giant Rubik's Cube) is aimed at 3-8 year olds, (although it is proving to be popular with all ages), and consists of three spaces; the exhibition gallery Big Box, The Learning Environment and the Tattersall's Children's Garden.

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




Thursday, 18 July 2019

GAILLARDIA

Gaillardia, the blanket flowers, is a genus of flowering plants in the sunflower family, Asteraceae, native to North and South America. It was named after an M. Gaillard de Merentonneau or perhaps Charentonneau, an 18th-century French magistrate who was a patron of botany. The common name may refer to the resemblance of the inflorescence to the brightly patterned blankets made by Native Americans, or to the ability of wild taxa to blanket the ground with colonies.

Many cultivars have been bred for ornamental use. These are annual or perennial herbs or subshrubs, sometimes with rhizomes. The stem is usually branching and erect to a maximum height around 80 cm. The leaves are alternately arranged. Some taxa have only basal leaves. They vary in shape. They are glandular in most species. The inflorescence is a solitary flower head. The head can have 15 or more ray florets, while some taxa lack any ray florets. They can be most any shade of yellow, orange, red, purplish, brown, white, or bicolored. They are sometimes rolled into a funnel shape. There are many tubular disc florets at the centre of the head in a similar range of colours, and usually tipped with hairs. 

The fruit usually has a pappus of scales. The cultivar "Arizona Sun" illustrated here provides a blaze of summertime colour that thrives, whatever the weather! There is a constant display of large flower heads in fiery shades of orange, yellow and red. The cheery blooms persist well into autumn, and make spectacular cut flowers for an indoor display. This low maintenance, hardy perennial is trouble-free and even copes well on poor, dry soils. Perfect for containers or filling gaps at the front of sunny borders.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Wednesday, 17 July 2019

BAROQUE

The Baroque is a highly ornate and often extravagant style of architecture, music, dance, painting, sculpture and other arts that flourished in Europe from the early 17th until the mid-18th century. It followed Renaissance art and Mannerism and preceded the Rococo (in the past often referred to as "late Baroque") and Neoclassical styles. It was encouraged by the Catholic Church as a means to counter the simplicity and austerity of Protestant architecture, art and music, though Lutheran Baroque art developed in parts of Europe as well.

The Baroque style used contrast, movement, exuberant detail, deep colour, grandeur and surprise to achieve a sense of awe. The style began at the start of the 17th century in Rome, then spread rapidly to France, northern Italy, Spain and Portugal, then to Austria and southern Germany. By the 1730s, it had evolved into an even more flamboyant style, called rocaille or Rococo, which appeared in France and Central Europe until the mid to late 18th century.

Gian Lorenzo Bernini (7 December 1598 – 28 November 1680) was an Italian sculptor and architect. While a major figure in the world of architecture, he was, also and even more prominently, the leading sculptor of his age, credited with creating the Baroque style of sculpture, a typical and grandiose example of which is the Four Rivers Fountain (see below) in the Piazza Navona in Rome.

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



Tuesday, 16 July 2019

ST LOUIS, USA

St Louis is an independent city and inland port in the U.S. state of Missouri. The city developed along the western bank of the Mississippi River, which forms Missouri’s border with Illinois. In 2010, St Louis had a population of 319,294; a 2015 estimate put the population at 315,685, making it the 60th-most populous U.S. city and the second-largest city in Missouri after Kansas City. The St Louis metropolitan area includes the city as well as nearby areas in Missouri and Illinois; with an estimated population of 2,916,447, it has the largest metropolitan area in Missouri and is the nineteenth largest in the United States.

St Louis was founded in 1764 by fur traders Pierre Laclède and Auguste Chouteau, and named after Louis IX of France. Claimed first by the French, who settled mostly east of the Mississippi River, the region in which the city stands was ceded to Spain following France’s defeat in the Seven Years’ War. Its territory east of the Mississippi was ceded to the Kingdom of Great Britain, the victor. The area of present-day Missouri was part of Spanish Louisiana from 1762 until 1803; the French persuaded King Charles IV of Spain to cede Louisiana back to France in 1800, but the Spanish continued as administrators of the territory until the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

After the United States acquired this territory in the Louisiana Purchase, St Louis developed as a major port on the Mississippi River. In the late-19th century, St Louis was ranked as the fourth-largest city in the United States. It separated from St Louis County in 1877, becoming an independent city and limiting its own political boundaries. In 1904, it hosted the Louisiana Purchase Exposition and the Summer Olympics. Immigration has increased, and the city is the centre of the largest Bosnian population in the world outside their homeland.

The economy of metro St Louis relies on service, manufacturing, trade, transportation of goods, and tourism. Its metro area is home to major corporations, including Anheuser-Busch, Express Scripts, Centene, Boeing Defense, Emerson, Energizer, Panera, Enterprise, Peabody Energy, Ameren, Ralcorp, Monsanto, Scottrade, Edward Jones, Go Jet, Purina and Sigma-Aldrich. This city has also become known for a growing medical, pharmaceutical and research city. St Louis has two professional sports teams: The St Louis Cardinals of Major League Baseball and the St Louis Blues of the National Hockey League. The city is commonly identified with the 192 m tall Gateway Arch in Downtown St Louis.

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, 14 July 2019

RED DOOR

If one lives in a house with a red door, one must wear red pants!

This post is part of the Photo Sunday meme.

MINE

Two creations of mine about 20 years apart. The blue pastel sketch on the right was done first in a live figure drawing session. The photograph on the left was taken yesterday. They both depict similar feelings I was experiencing at the time.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

FELICIA

Felicia amelloides (blue daisy) is a herbaceous perennial of family Asteraceae, native to South Africa. Its beautiful blue flowers are quite striking and do well without much care. Pruning and dead-heading is essential, though.

This post is part of the Floral Friday meme.

Wednesday, 10 July 2019

ADELAIDE, SOUTH AUSTRALIA

Adelaide is the capital city of South Australia and the fifth-largest city in Australia. As at June 2013, Adelaide had an estimated resident population of 1.29 million. The demonym "Adelaidean" is used in reference to the city and its residents. Adelaide is north of the Fleurieu Peninsula, on the Adelaide Plains between the Gulf St Vincent and the low-lying Mount Lofty Ranges which surround the city. Adelaide stretches 20 km from the coast to the foothills, and 90 km from Gawler at its northern extent to Sellicks Beach in the south. 

Named in honour of Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen, queen consort to King William IV, the city was founded in 1836 as the planned capital for a freely settled British province in Australia. Colonel William Light, one of Adelaide's founding fathers, designed the city and chose its location close to the River Torrens, in the area originally inhabited by the Kaurna people. Light's design set out Adelaide in a grid layout, interspaced by wide boulevards and large public squares, and entirely surrounded by parklands. Early Adelaide was shaped by religious freedom and a commitment to political progressivism and civil liberties, which led to the moniker "City of Churches".

As South Australia's seat of government and commercial centre, Adelaide is the site of many governmental and financial institutions. Most of these are concentrated in the city centre along the cultural boulevard of North Terrace, King William Street and in various districts of the metropolitan area. Today, Adelaide is noted for its many festivals and sporting events, its food and wine, its long beachfronts, and its large defence and manufacturing sectors. It ranks highly in terms of liveability, being listed in the Top 10 of The Economist's World's Most Liveable Cities index in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

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










Tuesday, 9 July 2019

KOLKATA, INDIA

Kolkata (formerly Calcutta) is the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal. Located on the east bank of the Hooghly River, it is the principal commercial, cultural, and educational centre of East India, while the Port of Kolkata is India’s oldest operating port and its sole major riverine port. In 2011, the city had population of 4.5 million, while the population of the city and its suburbs was 14.1 million, making it the third-most populous metropolitan area in India. In 2008 its gross domestic product (adjusted for purchasing power parity) was estimated to be US$104 billion, which was the third highest among Indian cities, behind Mumbai and Delhi. As a growing city in a developing country, Kolkata has pollution, traffic congestion, poverty, overcrowding, and other problems.

The Victoria Memorial is a large marble building in Kolkata, which was built between 1906 and 1921 after a proposal by Lord Curzon. It is dedicated to the memory of Queen Victoria (1819–1901) and is now a museum and tourist destination under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture. The Memorial lies on the Maidan (grounds) by the bank of the Hooghly River, near Jawaharlal Nehru Road. The memorial was funded by many Indian states, individuals of the British Raj and the British government in London. The princes and people of India responded generously to Curzon’s appeal for funds and the total cost of construction of this monument was entirely derived from their voluntary subscriptions.

The Victoria Memorial’s architect was William Emerson (1843–1924), president of the Royal Institute of British Architects. The design is in the Indo-Saracenic revivalist style. This style uses a mixture of British and Mughal elements as well as Venetian, Egyptian, Deccani and Islamic architectural influences. The building is 103 m by 69 m and rises to a height of 56 m. It is constructed of white Makrana marble. The gardens of the Victoria Memorial were designed by Lord Redesdale and David Prain. Emerson’s assistant, Vincent J. Esch designed the bridge of the north aspect and the garden gates.

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, 4 July 2019

GOLDEN CELEBRATION ROSE

'Golden Celebration' ™ (Ausgold) bred by David Austin is a delightful variety in their English Rose Collection. It is one of the largest-flowered and most magnificent of the English Roses. Its colour is rich golden yellow and the flowers are in the form of a giant, full-petalled cup. It has excellent shapely growth, forming a nicely rounded, slightly arching shrub with ample foliage.

It is very reliable and easy to grow. It is an ideal rose to mark any celebration or important event. The flowers are initially tea-scented but often develop a wonderful combination of sauterne wine and strawberry. It features repeat flowering and will benefit from summer pruning in most areas. This variety won the best shrub and most fragrant rose awards at the Rose Awards Day 2000.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 2 July 2019

LAS PALMAS, CANARIES

Las Palmas (officially Las Palmas de Gran Canaria) is a city and capital of Spanish Gran Canaria island, in the Canary Islands, off the north-western coast of Africa. It is the co-capital (jointly with Santa Cruz de Tenerife), the most populous city in the autonomous community of the Canary Islands, and the ninth largest city in Spain with a population of 383,308 in 2010. It is also the fifth most populous urban area in Spain and (depending on sources) ninth or tenth most populous metropolitan area in Spain.

Las Palmas is the largest city of the European Union lying outside the European continent. Las Palmas is located in the northeastern part of the island of Grand Canary, about 150 kilometres off the Moroccan coast of Africa in the Atlantic Ocean. It enjoys a very mild and pleasant semi-arid climate highly influenced by the Atlantic Ocean, with mild to warm temperatures throughout the year. Locals know it as the “Eternal Spring”, with an average annual temperature of 21.3 °C. According to a study carried out by Thomas Whitmore, director of research on climatology at Syracuse University in the U.S., Las Palmas enjoys “the best climate in the world”.

The city was founded in 1478, and considered the de facto capital of the Canary Islands until the seventeenth century. Today, the city is co-capital of the Canary Islands with Santa Cruz. It is home of the Canarian Ministry of Presidency (shared in a 4-year term with Santa Cruz de Tenerife), as well as half of the Ministries and Boards of the Canarian Government, and the High Court of Justice of the Canary Islands. Thus it is the judicial and commercial capital of the Canary Islands, and is also home to a large part of the executive power.

The city is located in the north-eastern part of the island set in magnificent scenery composed of two bays and their beautiful beaches – Playa de las Canteras and Playa de las Alcaravaneras. It has an impressive infrastructure of hotels and apartments and its harbour Puerto de La Luz is one of the most important in all Europe, giving the city a very cosmopolitan feel. Only under the impulse of tourism and economic activities of the 1960s was the city finally consolidated with a population that has doubled in the last 30 years.

Las Palmas offers a variety of theatre, cinema, opera, concerts, visual arts and dance performances. The city hosts the Canary Islands Music Festival, the Theatre and Dance and the International Film Festival. The main City Festival, celebrating the foundation of the “City Fiestas de San Juan” is held in June. The Carnival of Las Palmas de Gran Canaria is known not only in Spain but also worldwide, and is one of the main attractions for tourists. The city centre of Las Palmas, specifically the Vegueta and Triana neighbourhoods, are included in the tentative List of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. A host of museums, exhibition halls, auditoriums and libraries contribute to the cultural life of the city.

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.

Friday, 28 June 2019

Thursday, 27 June 2019

CAMELLIA

Camellia is a genus of flowering plants in the tea family Theaceae. They are found in eastern and southern Asia, from the Himalayas east to Japan and Indonesia. There are 100–250 described species, with some controversy over the exact number. The genus was named by Linnaeus after the Jesuit botanist Georg Joseph Kamel, who worked in the Philippines, though he never described a camellia.

Of economic importance in the Indian subcontinent and Asia, leaves of C. sinensis are processed to create the popular beverage, tea. The ornamental Camellia japonica, Camellia oleifera and Camellia sasanqua and their hybrids are represented in cultivation by a large number of cultivars.

Striped camellias, or striped flowers for that matter, were once considered quite regal and a much sought after commodity. Today, they seem to be the least favourite camellia cultivar, accounting for only 7.5% of camellias encountered in Australia.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

YARROW

Achillea millefolium, commonly known as yarrow or common yarrow, is a flowering plant in the family Asteraceae. It is native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Asia, Europe, and North America. It has been introduced as a feed for live stock in places like New Zealand and Australia. However, it is a weed in those places and sometimes also in its native regions.

In New Mexico and southern Colorado, it is called plumajillo (Spanish for 'little feather') from its leaf shape and texture. In antiquity, yarrow was known as herba militaris, for its use in stanching the flow of blood from wounds. Other common names for this species include gordaldo, nosebleed plant, old man's pepper, devil's nettle, sanguinary, milfoil, soldier's woundwort, thousand-leaf, and thousand-seal.

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, 25 June 2019

SOFIA, BULGARIA

Sofia (Bulgarian: София, tr. Sofiya) is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria. 1.26 million people live in the city and 1.68 million people live in its metropolitan area. The city is at the foot of Vitosha Mountain in the western part of the country. Being in the centre of the Balkan peninsula, it is midway between the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea, and closest to the Aegean Sea. Sofia has been an area of human habitation since at least 7000 BC.

Being Bulgaria’s primate city, Sofia is a hometown of many of the major local universities, cultural institutions and commercial companies. Sofia is one of the top 10 best places for start-up business in the world, especially in information technologies. Sofia is Europe’s most affordable capital to visit as of 2013.

The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a Bulgarian Orthodox cathedral in Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. Built in Neo-Byzantine style, it serves as the cathedral church of the Patriarch of Bulgaria and is one of the largest Eastern Orthodox cathedrals in the world, as well as one of Sofia’s symbols and primary tourist attractions. The St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral in Sofia occupies an area of 3,170 square metres and can hold 10,000 people inside. It is the second biggest cathedral located on the Balkan Peninsula after the Cathedral of Saint Sava in Belgrade.

The Alexander Nevsky Cathedral is a cross-domed basilica featuring an emphasised central dome. The cathedral's gold-plated dome is 45 m high, with the bell tower reaching 53 metres. The temple has 12 bells with total weight of 23 tons, the heaviest weighing 12 tons and the lightest 10 kilograms. The interior is decorated with Italian marble in various colours, Brazilian onyx, alabaster, and other luxurious materials. The central dome has the Lord’s Prayer inscribed around it, with thin gold letters.

The construction of the St. Alexander Nevsky Cathedral started in 1882 (having been planned since 19 February, 1879), when the foundation stone was laid, but most of it was built between 1904 and 1912. Saint Alexander Nevsky was a Russian prince. The cathedral was created in honour to the Russian soldiers who died during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, as a result of which Bulgaria was liberated from Ottoman rule.

The cathedral was designed by Alexander Pomerantsev, aided by Alexander Smirnov and Alexander Yakovlev, as the initial 1884-1885 project of Ivan Bogomolov was radically changed by Pomerantsev. The final design was finished in 1898, and the construction and decoration were done by a team of Bulgarian, Russian, Austro-Hungarian and other European artists, architects and workers.

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, 23 June 2019

FED SQ, OUT & IN

Federation Square is a civic centre and cultural precinct in the city of Melbourne. It is a mixed-use development covering an area of 3.2 hectares and centred around two major public spaces, open squares (St. Paul's Court and The Square) and one covered (The Atrium,) built on top of a concrete deck above busy railway lines. It was opened in 2002. 

Controversial since the demolition of the industrial buildings that preceded it, Federation Square is also globally famous for its alleged ugliness. In 2009, the Melbourne newspaper The Herald Sun reported that Federation Square is fifth on its list of eyesores, alongside a library in Kosovo, a television tower in Prague and New Zealand's 1970s-era parliament building. A poll conducted by the newspaper also found that 64.13% of the random 2000 Melburnians surveyed responded "Yes, it's an eyesore". The 124 comments on this news article range from the most favourable which suggest that while Federation Square is not picturesque, Melburnians should "get over" the concrete ugliness of it to those who strongly advocate the demolition of an unsightly building that is a "pimple" in a heritage-landscape - with St Paul's Cathedral and Flinders Street Station in its immediate vicinity.

It is Victoria’s second most popular tourist attraction, attracting 8.99 million visitors in 2011. Unlike many Australian landmarks, it was not opened by the Queen, nor was she invited to its unveiling. Federation Square is home to The Ian Potter Centre: National Gallery of Victoria Australia; ACMI; NGV Kids Corner and No Vacancy Project Space; as well as a wide range of restaurants, cafés, bars, visitor services and shops. The Melbourne Visitor Centre is also located at Federation Square, providing a one-stop shop for information on Melbourne for local, interstate and international visitors alike.

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


Saturday, 22 June 2019

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.

Dusky Moorhens are found in wetlands, including swamps, rivers, and artificial waterways. They prefer open water and water margins with reeds, rushes and waterlilies, but may be found on grasses close to water such as parks, pastures and lawns. The Dusky Moorhen has been favoured by artificial water sources such as dams, ponds and lakes in parks and gardens and associated grassy areas. However, wetland drainage in other areas may have negative impacts.

These birds feed in the water and on land on algae, water plants and grasses, as well as seeds, fruits, molluscs and other invertebrates. They will also eat carrion (dead animals) and the droppings of other birds. They do not dive when feeding; the tail is always visible above the water when upended.

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

Friday, 21 June 2019

BERRY SKY

Auranticarpa rhombifolia is a rainforest tree of eastern Australia. Known as the diamond leaf pittosporum, this tree is planted in many parts of Australia as an ornamental. The white flowers and orange fruit make it a most appealing street or garden tree. Other common names include hollywood, diamond leaf laurel, white myrtle and white holly. 

Australian botanists recently examined the large genus Pittosporum and decided the more northerly examples are significantly different from those in the south. Subsequently, a new genus was created Auranticarpa, which means "gold fruit". The range of natural distribution is on red–brown basaltic soils from Richmond River, New South Wales (28° S) to Forty Mile Scrub National Park (18° S) in tropical Queensland.

The tree grows well in Melbourne and its masses of small golden orange fruit make for a cheerful sight in Winter.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

FRANGIPANI

Plumeria is a genus of flowering plants in the dogbane family, Apocynaceae. It contains primarily deciduous shrubs and small trees. They are native to Central America, Mexico, the Caribbean, and South America as far south as Brazil but can be grown in tropical and sub-tropical regions. Plumeria is related to the Oleander, Nerium oleander, and both possess an irritant, rather similar to that of Euphorbia. Contact with the sap may irritate eyes and skin. 

Each of the separate species of Plumeria bears differently shaped, alternate leaves with distinct form and growth habits. The leaves of P. alba are quite narrow and corrugated, whereas leaves of P. pudica have an elongated shape and glossy, dark-green colour. P. pudica is one of the everblooming types with non-deciduous, evergreen leaves. Another species that retains leaves and flowers in winter is P. obtusa; though its common name is "Singapore," it is originally from Colombia.

Plumeria flowers are most fragrant at night in order to lure sphinx moths to pollinate them. The flowers have no nectar, however, and simply dupe their pollinators. The moths inadvertently pollinate them by transferring pollen from flower to flower in their fruitless search for nectar. Plumeria species may be propagated easily from cuttings of leafless stem tips in spring. Cuttings are allowed to dry at the base before planting in well-drained soil. Cuttings are particularly susceptible to rot in moist soil.

In order to get the most from a plumeria plant with respect to growth, size, blooms, and scent, there is a fine balance that must be maintained. Ideally, a plumeria is in its element when it can have plenty of sun and appropriate water, so as to maintain soil moistness just above a state of dryness. On the other hand, if the plant receives a lesser amount of sun, then a lesser amount of watering is necessary - again, to ensure that soil moistness stays just above the dry state. The more sun, the more water. The less sun, the less water. A common mistake of novice plumeria growers is to overwater the plant when it is not able to be exposed to enough sun, thereby resulting in a rotted root system. Conversely, if a plumeria plant is able to receive maximum exposure to the sun, but they aren't watered enough, the plant will die.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 19 June 2019

XENON

Xenon | ˈzɛnɒn, ˈziːɛnɒn | noun [mass noun]
The chemical element of atomic number 54, a member of the noble gas series. It is obtained by distillation of liquid air, and is used in some specialised electric lamps. (Symbol: Xe)
ORIGIN
Late 19th century: from Greek, neuter of xenos ‘strange’.

A xenon arc lamp is a highly specialised type of gas discharge lamp, an electric light that produces light by passing electricity through ionised xenon gas at high pressure. It produces a bright white light that closely mimics natural sunlight, with applications in movie projectors in theatres, in searchlights, and for specialised uses in industry and research to simulate sunlight, often for product testing. Xenon headlamps in automobiles are actually metal-halide lamps, where a xenon arc is only used during start-up to correct the colour temperature.

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

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

NAPLES, ITALY

Naples (Italian: Napoli; Latin: Neapolis; Ancient Greek: Νεάπολις, meaning "new city") is the capital of the Italian region Campania and the third-largest municipality in Italy, after Rome and Milan. In 2015, around 975,260 people lived within the city's administrative limits. Naples is the 9th-most populous urban area in the European Union with a population of between 3 million and 3.7 million. About 4.4 million people live in the Naples metropolitan area, one of the largest metropolises on the Mediterranean Sea.

Naples is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Bronze Age Greek settlements were established in the Naples area in the second millennium BC. A larger colony – initially known as Parthenope, Παρθενόπη – developed on the Island of Megaride around the ninth century BC, at the end of the Greek Dark Ages. The city was refounded as Neápolis in the sixth century BC and became a lynchpin of Magna Graecia, playing a key role in the merging of Greek culture into Roman society and eventually becoming a cultural centre of the Roman Republic. Naples remained influential after the fall of the Western Roman Empire, serving as the capital city of the Kingdom of Naples between 1282 and 1816. Thereafter, in union with Sicily, it became the capital of the Two Sicilies until the unification of Italy in 1861.

Naples was the most-bombed Italian city during World War II. Much of the city's 20th-century periphery was constructed under Benito Mussolini's fascist government, and during reconstruction efforts after World War II. In recent decades, Naples has constructed a large business district, the Centro Direzionale, and has developed an advanced transport infrastructure, including an Alta Velocità high-speed rail link to Rome and Salerno, and an expanded subway network, which is planned to eventually cover half of the region. The city has experienced significant economic growth in recent decades, and unemployment levels in the city and surrounding Campania have decreased since 1999. However, Naples still suffers from political and economic corruption, and unemployment levels remain high.

Naples' historic city centre is the largest in Europe, covering 1,700 hectares (4,200 acres) and enclosing 27 centuries of history, and is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Naples has long been a major cultural centre with a global sphere of influence, particularly during the Renaissance and Enlightenment eras. In the immediate vicinity of Naples are numerous culturally and historically significant sites, including the Palace of Caserta and the Roman ruins of Pompeii and Herculaneum. Culinarily, Naples is synonymous with pizza, which originated in the city.

Neapolitan music has also been highly influential, credited with the invention of the romantic guitar and the mandolin, as well as notable contributions to opera and folk standards. Popular characters and historical figures who have come to symbolise the city include Januarius, the patron saint of Naples, the comic figure Pulcinella, and the Sirens from the Greek epic poem the Odyssey. According to CNN, the metro stop “Toledo” is the most beautiful in Europe and it won also the LEAF Award 2013 as “Public building of the year”. Naples is the Italian city with the highest number of accredited stars from the Michelin Guide. 

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, 17 June 2019

CRYSTAL CANDLES

Candles burning behind a crystal mosaic window.

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

Saturday, 15 June 2019

COMMON STARLING

The Common Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) has a wide variation in plumage. Both sexes are similar, although the female is less glossy than the male. In autumn, when the plumage is new, birds are glossed black, with a purple and green shine, and the tips of the body feathers have large white spots. At this time the bill is dark and the legs are brown. With wear, the white spots are lost, while the bill and legs turn yellow. During the breeding season adults become glossy-black without any spots. Young birds are dull grey-brown.

In Australia, the Common Starling has become a familiar sight around human habitation throughout the east and south-east. Once a common bird of European deciduous woodlands (now in more rural and urban areas), the Common Starling was introduced into Australia in the late 1850s through to 1870. It has become well established and is expanding its range. Common Starlings are most often seen searching for seeds and insects on lawns and in paddocks. Other food includes spiders, worms, human scraps and fruit crops. Birds feed mainly on the ground and often in vast flocks.

During breeding season, the large winter flocks of Common Starlings break up into pairs or small groups. The nest is an untidy cup of grasses, leaves, twigs and items of human rubbish. Nest sites are any type of hollow, such as tree hollows and house roof voids. The birds are aggressive when competing for nesting sites and readily drive out native species. The pale blue eggs are incubated by both sexes which also raise the young birds. Often two broods are raised in a season. The Common Starling is a prominent bird in open cultivated areas, and is a well-known pest of orchards.

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

Thursday, 13 June 2019

DELPHINIUM

Delphinium is a genus of about 300 species of perennial flowering plants in the family Ranunculaceae, native throughout the Northern Hemisphere and also on the high mountains of tropical Africa. All members of the Delphinium genus are toxic to humans and livestock. The common name "larkspur" is shared between perennial Delphinium species and annual species of the genus Consolida. The name "delphinium" derives from the Latin for "dolphin", referring to the shape of the nectary.

'Blue Sensation'  hybrid, picture here, is a vigorous Delphinium that will rebloom up to five times after each successive flush when dead headed. Ideal in cottage gardens where it adds a dimension of height and colour. Growing to just under a metre, the strong, well branched stems of Delphinium 'Blue Sensation' are loaded with blooms through summer. Plant in a sunny location with well drained, humus rich soil and fertilise well. Delphinium 'Blue Sensation' can be enjoyed as a cut flower also. Plant Delphinium 'Blue Sensation' in moist, humus rich, well drained soil, that has well-rotted manure or compost worked into the soil prior to planting.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.