Tuesday, 14 July 2020

CAPE COD, USA

Cape Cod is a geographic cape extending into the Atlantic Ocean from the southeastern corner of mainland Massachusetts, in the northeastern United States. Its historic, maritime character and ample beaches attract heavy tourism during the summer months. As defined by the Cape Cod Commission's enabling legislation, Cape Cod is conterminous with Barnstable County, Massachusetts. It extends from Provincetown in the northeast to Woods Hole in the southwest, and is bordered by Plymouth to the northwest.

Since 1914, Cape Cod has been separated from the mainland by the Cape Cod Canal. The canal cuts 28.2 km roughly across the base of the peninsula, though small portions of the Cape Cod towns of Bourne and Sandwich lie on the mainland side of the canal. Two highway bridges cross the Cape Cod Canal: The Sagamore Bridge and the Bourne Bridge. In addition, the Cape Cod Canal Railroad Bridge carries railway freight and limited passenger services onto the Cape. Cape territory is divided into 15 towns with many villages.

Provincetown (see below) is a New England town located at the extreme tip of Cape Cod in Barnstable County, Massachusetts, in the United States. A small coastal resort town with a year-round population of just under 3,000, Provincetown has a summer population of as high as 60,000. Often called "P-town" or "P'town", the town is known for its beaches, harbour, artists, tourist industry, and its status as a vacation destination for the LGBTQ community.

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, 13 July 2020

Sunday, 12 July 2020

SFAKIÁ, GREECE

Sfakiá (Greek: Σφακιά) is a mountainous area in the southwestern part of the island of Crete, in the Chania regional unit. It is considered to be one of the few places in Greece that have never been fully occupied by foreign powers. With a 2011 census population of 1,889 inhabitants living on a land area of 467.589 km2, Sfakia is one of the largest and least densely populated municipalities on the island of Crete.

The etymology of its name is disputed. According to the prevailing theory, it relates to its rugged terrain, deriving from the ancient Greek word σφαξ, meaning land chasm or gorge. The crystal clear sea and warm climate, as well as the hospitable population, the traditional food and crafts, make it a wonderful tourist destination.

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

Thursday, 9 July 2020

WONGA-WONGA VINE

Pandorea pandorana, commonly known as the Wonga Wonga Vine, is a species of woody climbing vine in the family Bignoniaceae. It is found in Australia, Malaysia and the southwestern Pacific region. It forms large pointed pods filled with papery seeds. It is easy to germinate, having two-lobed dicotyledons.

It is a popular garden plant, common cultivars include the yellow-flowered Pandorea 'Golden Showers', the white-flowered P. 'Snowbells', and the pinkish P. 'Ruby Belle'. The wood was used as in making spears for woomeras in the Central and Western deserts. Pandorea pandorana ranges in habit from a scrambling plant to a vigorous vine, growing on larger trees in forested habitats. It has glossy green leaves arranged oppositely along the stem. The pinnate leaves are around 8–16 cm long and have 3–9 leaflets of varying widths. The juvenile leaves are finer and have serrated margins, and more finely divided into 7–13 leaflets.

Flowering occurs in spring. The tubular or funnel-shaped flowers are highly variable in colour, ranging from cream-white or all-white to maroon-throated, burgundy or even yellow-orange. Flowering is followed in summer by 3–8 cm long and 1–2 cm wide oblong-shaped seed pods, which are initially bright green before turning brown and releasing numerous papery seeds around 1-1.5 cm in diameter which are released in large quantities.

Pruning is necessary to control the quick growing plant, which can overwhelm other plants in a small garden. The plant prefers full-sun to partial shade. It has been argued that the more sun it receives, the more flowers will bloom as a result. The species may be propagated by fresh seed or semi hard wood tip cuttings.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 7 July 2020

KANGAROO ISLAND, AUSTRALIA

Kangaroo Island is Australia's third-largest island, after Tasmania and Melville Island. It lies in the state of South Australia 112 km southwest of Adelaide. Its closest point to the mainland is Snapper Point in Backstairs Passage which is 13.5 km from the Fleurieu Peninsula. Once occupied by Australian Aborigines, the native population disappeared from the archaeological record when the land became an island following rising sea levels several thousand years ago. It was subsequently settled intermittently by sealers and whalers in the early 19th century, and from 1836 on a permanent basis during the establishment of the colony of South Australia.

Since then the island's economy has been principally agricultural, with a southern rock lobster fishery and with tourism growing in importance. The largest town, and the administrative centre, is Kingscote. The island has several nature reserves to protect the remnants of its natural vegetation and native animals, with the largest and best-known being Flinders Chase National Park at the western end.

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 July 2020

RED FOR WINTER BLUES

If the cold weather in Winter gives you the blues, remedy it with a good strong dose of reds!

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

Sunday, 5 July 2020

EUBOEA, GREECE

Euboea or Evia (Modern Greek: Εύβοια) is the second-largest Greek island in area and population, after Crete. The narrow Euripus Strait separates it from Boeotia in mainland Greece. In general outline it is a long and narrow, seahorse-shaped island; it is about 180 kilometres long, and varies in breadth from 50 kilometres to 6 kilometres. Its general direction is from northwest to southeast, and it is traversed throughout its length by a mountain range, which forms part of the chain that bounds Thessaly on the east, and is continued south of Euboea in the lofty islands of Andros, Tinos and Mykonos. It forms most of the regional unit of Euboea, which also includes Skyros and a small area of the Greek mainland.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Saturday, 4 July 2020

YARRA BEND PARK

Yarra Bend Park has been one of Melbourne’s largest expanses of inner suburban parkland for nearly 150 years. Yarra Bend Park and neighbouring Studley Park were reserved in 1877. Both park areas and several reserves were combined in 1929 to create one large park. The combined area became known as Yarra Bend National Park despite never being raised to formal national park status.

During the 1930’s additions included picnic and sporting grounds, toilet facilities and a public golf course. The Yarra Bend Golf Club House, officially opened in May 1936, is an original example of American ‘Country Club’ type architecture. The Park provides a great open space for walking, bike riding, riverside cafes, golf, boating, BBQs, picnicking and a host of other leisure activities.

This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme.

Thursday, 2 July 2020

WINTERSWEET

Chimonanthus praecox (wintersweet) has been cultivated in China for more than 1,000 years and has been introduced to Japan, Korea, Europe, Australia and the United States. It is a familiar plant in British gardens, where it is grown mainly for its gorgeous scent. The rather insignificant, creamy-yellow, waxy flowers are borne on bare stems from about December to March, with the leaves appearing later. Long esteemed in China and Japan for its fragrance, many parts of the plant are rich in essential oils and are also used for culinary and medicinal purposes.

Wintersweet was introduced to Japan from China during the 17th century, and to Britain, under the name of Calycanthus praecox, a century later. The generic name means "winter-flower', while the specific name means "precocious' as it flowers so early. It is a deciduous shrub (or sometimes with persistent leaves), up to 3 m high and wide (up to 13 m tall in the wild), with rough, opposite, dark green leaves and small, solitary, highly scented, yellowish flowers borne on short stalks in winter and spring before the leaves appear. The outer petals (tepals) are waxy, almost transparent, in appearance, while the inner tepals are smaller and usually purplish. The flowers are beetle-pollinated.

Named cultivars include Chimonanthus praecox ‘Luteus’, which has slightly larger flowers and yellow inner tepals, and C. praecox ‘Grandiflorus’, a larger shrub, with bigger leaves and larger, but less strongly scented, pure yellow flowers, with red-stained inner tepals.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 30 June 2020

QANTAS

Qantas Airways Limited is the flag carrier of Australia. The name was originally "QANTAS", an acronym for "Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services". Nicknamed "The Flying Kangaroo", the airline is based in Sydney, New South Wales, with its main hub at Sydney Airport. It is Australia's largest airline, the oldest continuously operated airline in the world and the second oldest in the world overall. Qantas headquarters are located in the Qantas Centre in the Mascot suburb of the City of Botany Bay. Qantas still retains a 65% share of the Australian domestic market and carries 18.7% of all passengers travelling in and out of Australia.

With the COVID crisis, QANTAS like most other airlines around the world is struggling to survive. Most of its flights have been suspended and most of its planes are languishing in the airports, being maintained and hopeful for a return to the skies. It has shed one-fifth of its employees while keeping another 15,000 stood down. Government support is the only way the company and its employees can weather the COVID storm. 

Here's to happier days, when the kangaroo can fly again and we can travel to our destinations of choice around the world!

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



Sunday, 28 June 2020

MATRYOSHKA DOLLS

Matryoshka doll - noun
Each of a set of brightly painted hollow wooden dolls of varying sizes, designed to fit inside each other.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Friday, 26 June 2020

WHITBY ABBEY

Whitby Abbey is a ruined Benedictine abbey overlooking the North Sea on the East Cliff above Whitby in North Yorkshire, England. It was disestablished during the Dissolution of the Monasteries under the auspices of Henry VIII. It is a Grade I Listed building in the care of English Heritage and its site museum is housed in Cholmley House.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Wednesday, 24 June 2020

ZEBRA ALOE

Aloe maculata (synonym Aloe saponaria; commonly known as the soap aloe or zebra aloe) is a Southern African species of aloe in the Asphodelaceae family. Local people in South Africa know it informally as the "Bontaalwyn" in Afrikaans, or "Lekhala" in the Sesotho language. It is a very variable species and hybridises easily with other similar aloes, sometimes making it difficult to identify.

The leaves range in colour from red to green, but always have distinctive "H-shaped" spots. The flowers are similarly variable in colour, ranging from bright red to yellow, but are always bunched in a distinctively flat-topped raceme. The inflorescence is borne on the top of a tall, multi-branched stalk and the seeds are reputedly poisonous. This species was previously known as Aloe saponaria (a name that came from the Latin "sapo" meaning soap, as the sap makes a soapy lather in water - the juice from the leaves is traditionally used as soap by indigenous people).

Its currently accepted name, according to the South African National Biodiversity Institute (SANBI), is Aloe maculata ("maculata" means speckled or marked). Taxonomically, it forms part of the Saponariae series of very closely related Aloe species, together with Aloe petrophila, Aloe umfoloziensis, Aloe greatheadii and Aloe davyana.

The Soap Aloe is highly adaptable and is naturally found in a wide range of habitats across Southern Africa, from Zimbabwe in the north, to the Cape Peninsula in the south. Specifically, it is native to southern and eastern South Africa, south-eastern Botswana and Zimbabwe. In addition, it is now planted around the world as a popular landscape plant in warm desert regions – especially in the United States, where it is the most popular ornamental aloe in the Tucson, Arizona area, and is also popular in California.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday, 18 June 2020

HELLEBORE

Helleborus niger, commonly called Christmas rose or black hellebore, is an evergreen perennial flowering plant in the buttercup family, Ranunculaceae. It is poisonous. Although the flowers resemble wild roses (and despite its common name), Christmas rose does not belong to the rose family (Rosaceae). The plant is a traditional cottage garden favourite because it flowers in the depths of winter.

Large-flowered cultivars are available, as are pink-flowered and double-flowered selections. It has been awarded an Award of Garden Merit (AGM). It can be difficult to grow well; acid soil is unsuitable, as are poor, dry conditions and full sun. Moist, humus-rich, alkaline soil in dappled shade is preferable. Leaf-mould can be dug in to improve heavy clay or light sandy soils; lime can be added to 'sweeten' acid soils.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Monday, 15 June 2020

PYTHAGOREAN TILING

Let's revise a bit of geometry: A Pythagorean tiling or two squares tessellation is a tiling of a Euclidean plane by squares of two different sizes, in which each square touches four squares of the other size on its four sides. Many proofs of the Pythagorean theorem are based on it, explaining its name. It is commonly used as a pattern for floor tiles. When used for this, it is also known as a 'hopscotch pattern' or 'pinwheel pattern'.

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

Sunday, 14 June 2020

FRINGE-LILY

Thysanotus tuberosus, known as the common fringe-lily is a perennial herb in the Asparagaceae family, which is endemic to Australia. The generic name comes from the Greek θύσανος (thysanos) and means "tasselled", while species name tuberosus refers to the crisp tasting edible root.

The leaves are linear in shape, and round at cross section towards the top. The plant reaches a height from 20 cm to 60 cm tall and grows in a wide variety of situations, from semi-arid parts of south eastern Australia to coastal areas receiving more than 1300 mm of rain per year. The plants are often found in open country, heathlands or in dry sclerophyll woodland.

Flowers form from September to April. The three-petalled flowers are purple, with frilly edges, and only last for one day. They are among the more colourful wildflowers in Southeastern Australia. There two sub-species: The tepals are somewhat longer and wider in subsp. tuberosus, being 10 to 19 mm long, and around 10 mm wide. In subsp. parviflorus the inner anthers are smaller, and straight to slightly curved. Fringe-lilies are not often seen in cultivation despite their obvious beauty. Generally they have proved to be difficult to maintain in cultivation.

T. tuberosus should be grown in a well-drained sunny position. It is also suited to growing in a container. Propagation is relatively easy from seed which does not require any special pre-treatment.

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

Thursday, 11 June 2020

HIPPEASTRUM

Hippeastrum is a genus of about 90 species and 600+ hybrids and cultivars of bulbous plants in the family Amaryllidaceae, subfamily Amaryllidoideae, native to tropical and subtropical regions of the Americas from Argentina north to Mexico and the Caribbean. Some species are grown for their large showy flowers.

For many years there was confusion amongst botanists over the generic names Amaryllis and Hippeastrum, one result of which is that the common name "amaryllis" is mainly used for cultivars of this genus, which are widely used as indoor flowering bulbs. The generic name Amaryllis applies to bulbs from South Africa, usually grown outdoors.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 9 June 2020

AMSTERDAM, THE NETHERLANDS

Amsterdam is the capital and most populous municipality of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Its status as the capital is mandated by the Constitution of the Netherlands, although it is not the seat of the government, which is The Hague. Amsterdam has a population of 840,486 within the city proper, 1,337,743 in the urban area, and 2,431,000 in the Amsterdam metropolitan area. The city is located in the province of North Holland in the west of the country, and is also North Holland’s largest city. It comprises much of the northern part of the Randstad, one of the larger conurbations in Europe, with a population of approximately 7 million.

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, 8 June 2020

BIRD LIFE

A walk in the Darebin Parklands is always a good way to relax and find serenity in nature right in the heart of a large metropolis, such that Melbourne has become. Even more delightful is spotting of some birds during one's walk. Here are some that I spotted...

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

From Top Right, clockwise: Indian Miner; Rainbow Lorikeets; Butcherbird; Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo; Purple Swamphen; Pacific Black Duck; Crested Pigeon; Bronzewing Pigeon; Willy Wagtail.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

ANDEAN SAGE

Salvia discolor (Andean sage) is a herbaceous perennial growing in a very localised area in Peru—it is equally rare in horticulture and in its native habitat. William Robinson wrote of its charms in 1933. The plant is scandent, meaning that it climbs without the use of tendrils, with wiry white stems growing from its base. Mistletoe-green leaves of various sizes grow in pairs about 1-2 in apart on the stem, with the undersides covered in white hairs. The leaves, stem and flower buds all exhibit a strong and distinct odour of blackcurrant.

The 2.5 cm long deeply saturated dark purple/blue (almost black) flowers are held in a pistachio-green calyx, growing on 30 cm or longer inflorescences. The stems of the inflorescences are shiny and covered with glands, which frequently have insects stuck to them. It blooms during hot spells through summer and autumn and is a frequently grown ornamental on the French and Italian Rivieras, where it grows 1 metre high and wide. It has begun to be a popular ornamental plant in Melbourne gardens, currently.

A FLORAL TRIBUTE TO BLACK LIVES UNJUSTLY LOST & WASTED

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

JERSEY, UK

Jersey (officially the Bailiwick of Jersey), is a Crown dependency of the United Kingdom, ruled by the Crown in right of Jersey, off the coast of Normandy, France. Jersey was part of the Duchy of Normandy, whose dukes went on to become kings of England from 1066. After Normandy was lost by the kings of England in the 13th century, and the ducal title surrendered to France, Jersey and the other Channel Islands remained attached to the English crown.

Jersey is a self-governing parliamentary democracy under a constitutional monarchy, with its own financial, legal and judicial systems, and the power of self-determination. The Lieutenant Governor on the island is the personal representative of the Queen. British cultural influence on the island can also be seen with the main language being English, British pound currency, driving on the left, BBC and ITV regions, school curriculum following that of England, and the popularity of British sports, including football, cricket and rugby. The bailiwick consists of the island of Jersey, along with surrounding uninhabited islands and rocks collectively named Les Dirouilles, Les Écréhous, Les Minquiers, Les Pierres de Lecq, and other reefs. The island of Jersey is the largest of the Channel Islands.

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, 1 June 2020

MOSAIC, LITERALLY...

A section of a mosaic table top made from broken glazed china pieces.

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, 30 May 2020

HOVERFLY ON HAWKWEED

Hoverflies, sometimes called flower flies, or syrphid flies, make up the insect family Syrphidae. As their common name suggests, they are often seen hovering or nectaring at flowers; the adults of many species feed mainly on nectar and pollen, while the larvae (maggots) eat a wide range of foods. In some species, the larvae are saprotrophs, eating decaying plant and animal matter in the soil or in ponds and streams.

About 6,000 species in 200 genera have been described. Hoverflies are common throughout the world and can be found on all continents except Antarctica. Hoverflies are harmless to most other animals, despite their mimicry of more dangerous wasps and bees, which wards off predators.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

SEASIDE DAISY

Erigeron karvinskianus is a species of flowering plant in the family Asteraceae known by the common names Mexican fleabane, Latin American fleabane, Santa Barbara daisy, Spanish daisy, Karwinsky’s fleabane, or bony-tip fleabane. Erigeron karvinskianus is native to much of Mexico, Central America, Colombia and Venezuela, and is naturalized in many other places, including parts of Africa and Europe, Australia, Hong Kong, Chile and the west coast of the United States.

Erigeron karvinskianus was first described in 1836 by Augustin Pyramus de Candolle. The specific epithet refers to Wilhelm Friedrich Karwinski von Karwin, who collected the plant in Mexico according to de Candolle. It is a vigorous, spreading perennial plant growing from woody rhizomes to a maximum height of 15 cm. Its leaves are located along the stem, the basal leaves dying off as the plant bolts. They are sometimes slightly toothed or lobed near the tips. The inflorescences hold one or more flower heads which are each about 1 cm wide. They have golden yellow disc florets in the centre surrounded by a fringe of up to 80 white to pinkish ray florets.

Erigeron karvinskianus is cultivated for its daisy-like blooms, and is often confused with the closely related true daisy Bellis. It is frequently grown in crevices in walls or paving, where it rapidly spreads to provide a carpet of flowers. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. It was used to colonise the concrete terraces of the football stadium (Estadio Azteca) built in Mexico City for the 1970 World Cup.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

AÏT BENHADDOU, MOROCCO

Aït Benhaddou (Arabic: آيت بن حدّو‎‎), is a fortified city, or palace (ksar), along the former caravan route between the Sahara and Marrakech in present-day Morocco. Most citizens living in the area now live in more modern dwellings in a nearby village, although there are 4 families still living in the ancient city.

This giant fortification, which is made up of six forts (Kasbahs) and nearly fifty palaces, which are individual forts, is a great example of earthen clay architecture, which is also used in Moroccan architecture. Aït Benhaddou has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1987 and several films have been shot there, including, Sodom And Gomorrah (1963), Time Bandits (1981), The Jewel of the Nile (1985), The Mummy (1999), Gladiator (2000), Alexander (2004) and Prince of Persia (2010).

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, 25 May 2020

GREECE I.D.

A mosaic of photos from my archives serving as a pictorial I.D. for Greece.

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

Sunday, 24 May 2020

MIKROLIMANO, GREECE

Mikrolimano in Attica, Greece is also known as Mounychia Port, and is third and smallest port of Piraeus, which has undergone multiple name changes throughout history. Formerly known as Tourkolimano, it has also been called Koumoundouros Port or "The Lantern".  The ancient Athenians used it as a military harbour, but Mikrolimano is known today for its many fine seafood restaurants and its picturesque moorings for the pleasure boats of the locals.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Friday, 22 May 2020

SUNRISE BRIDGE

Sunrise on the Yarra River, Melbourne, with the Southbank Pedestrian Bridge reflected in the quiet waters.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.


Thursday, 21 May 2020

FUMITORY

Fumaria officinalis (common fumitory or earth smoke) is the most common species of the genus Fumaria in Western and Central Europe. It is a herbaceous annual plant, which grows weakly erect and scrambling, with stalks about 10 to 50 cm long. Its pink 7 to 9 mm flowers appear from April to October in the northern hemisphere. They are two lipped and spurred, with sepals running a quarter the length of the petals. The fruit is an achene.

The plant contains alkaloids, potassium salts, and tannins. It is also a major source of fumaric acid. The "smoky" or "fumy" origin of its name comes from the translucent colour of its flowers, giving them the appearance of smoke or of hanging in smoke, and the slightly greey-blue haze colour of its foliage, also resembling smoke coming from the ground, especially after morning dew.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

ORANGES

 The orange is the fruit of the citrus species Citrus × sinensis in the family Rutaceae. It is also called sweet orange, to distinguish it from the related Citrus × aurantium, referred to as bitter orange. The sweet orange reproduces asexually (apomixis through nucellar embryony); varieties of sweet orange arise through mutations.

The orange is a hybrid between pomelo (Citrus maxima) and mandarin (Citrus reticulata). The chloroplast genome, and therefore the maternal line, is that of pomelo. The sweet orange has had its full genome sequenced. Sweet oranges were mentioned in Chinese literature in 314 BC.

As of 1987, orange trees were found to be the most cultivated fruit tree in the world. Orange trees are widely grown in tropical and subtropical climates for their sweet fruit. The fruit of the orange tree can be eaten fresh, or processed for its juice or fragrant peel. As of 2012, sweet oranges accounted for approximately 70% of citrus production. In 2014, 70.9 million tonnes of oranges were grown worldwide, with Brazil producing 24% of the world total followed by China and India.

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