Thursday 29 June 2017


Banksia ericifolia, the heath-leaved banksia (also known as the lantern banksia or heath banksia), is a species of woody shrub of the family Proteaceae native to Australia. It grows in two separate regions of Central and Northern New South Wales east of the Great Dividing Range. Well known for its orange or red autumn inflorescences, which contrast with its green fine-leaved heath-like foliage, it is a medium to large shrub that can reach 6 m high and wide, though is usually half that size. In exposed heathlands and coastal areas it is more often 1–2 m.

Banksia ericifolia was one of the original Banksia species collected by Joseph Banks around Botany Bay in 1770 and was named by Carl Linnaeus the Younger, son of Carl Linnaeus, in 1782. A distinctive plant, it has split into two subspecies: Banksia ericifolia subspecies ericifolia of the Sydney region and Banksia ericifolia subspecies macrantha of the New South Wales Far North Coast which was recognised in 1996.

Banksia ericifolia has been widely grown in Australian gardens on the east coast for many years, and is used to a limited extent in the cut flower industry. Compact dwarf cultivars such as Banksia 'Little Eric' have become more popular in recent years with the trend toward smaller gardens. The dwarf form is shown here.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 28 June 2017


Yak and Yeti

Up in the cold, cold Himalayas
Live lots of strange lumbering animals
And many nice people, (no cannibals),
Who don’t like to eat jambalayas.

Yaks are such dignified, noble beasts,
Who wander on the high, grass plateaux;
They grunt, rather than call, moo or low
And on fresh green turf they have feasts.

Yaks are so very useful and neat,
They donate so much and they live long;
Bovine and furry, sturdy and strong
They give humans their fur, milk and meat.

The yeti, supposedly, is a grim brute
Who stalks mountaineers quite astute;
“Abominable” though he may be named,
Treat him kindly and he’ll become tamed.

Poor yeti is so much misconstrued,
And his character slurs has accrued;
All he wants is a pet and a stroke
And his grateful wide grin you’ll evoke.

Both yeti and yak are fine fauna
They live simply and desire no sauna;
They do not build villas, nor drive hot rods
Content are they on the mount of the gods.

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

Tuesday 27 June 2017


The Azure Window (Maltese: it-Tieqa Żerqa), also known as the Dwejra Window (Maltese: it-Tieqa tad-Dwejra), was a 28-metre-tall limestone natural arch on the island of Gozo in Malta. It was located in Dwejra Bay, within the limits of San Lawrenz, close to the Inland Sea and the Fungus Rock, and was one of Malta's major tourist attractions. The arch, together with other natural features in the area, has appeared in a number of international films and media productions. The formation was created by the collapse of a sea cave, probably during the 19th century. It consisted of a pillar of rock rising from the sea and joined to the cliff by a horizontal slab.

Following decades of natural erosion that caused parts of the arch to fall into the sea, the slab and pillar collapsed completely in stormy weather on 8 March 2017. The Azure Window made an appearance on the popular TV series "Game of Thrones" — it was the backdrop to Khal Drogo and Daenerys’ wedding in Season One.

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.
Azure Window before collapse

Azure Window after collapse (Picture: AP/Christian Mangion)

Sunday 25 June 2017

Thursday 22 June 2017


Iris x germanica is the accepted name for a species of flowering plants in the family Iridaceae commonly known as the bearded iris or the German iris. It is one of a group of hybrid origin.

Iris x germanica grows up to 120 cm high and 30 cm wide. It is a European hybrid, rather than a true wild species. The roots can go up to 10 cm deep and it is a rhizomatous perennial that blooms mid to late spring. It is known to produce the isoflavone irilone. Hundreds of hybrids exist representing nearly every colour from jet black to sparkling whites, except bright scarlet. Varieties include I. g. var. florentina and I. g. var. germanica.

Lifting, dividing and replanting the rhizomes is best done once flowering has finished as this is when the plant grows the new shoots that will flower the following year. The rhizomes are placed on the surface of the soil facing towards the sun and with at least 45 cm of open ground in front of them - this allows two years growth and flowering. The plant is held in place by removing half the leaf mass to reduce wind rock and by using the old roots as anchors in the soil. The rhizome is placed on well dug ground and the roots placed either side into 10 cm deep grooves. The soil is then gently firmed around the roots, so holding the plant steady. New roots and leaves are created rapidly as the rhizome moves forwards.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 21 June 2017


The Xolmis

The xolmis is a pretty bird
In South America dwelling;
It’s white and black, and small, I see,
With story well worth telling.

It catches flies, and flies to eat
Its lunch so very tasty;
And yet with numbers small, I know,
Extinction’s coming, hasty.

Its habitat has shrunk so much
The pampas are all dwindling;
The poor bird has no home, no more
And much will not be lingering.

The xolmis softly coos and calls
Its sad fate it is mourning;
Another species lost to us,
We’re deaf to its woeful warning…

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

Tuesday 20 June 2017


Seattle is a seaport city on the west coast of the United States and the seat of King County, Washington. With an estimated 704,352 residents as of 2016, Seattle is the largest city in both the state of Washington and the Pacific Northwest region of North America. In July 2013, it was the fastest-growing major city in the United States and remained in the Top 5 in May 2015 with an annual growth rate of 2.1%. In July 2016, Seattle was again the fastest-growing major U.S. city, with a 3.1% annual growth rate.

The city is situated on an isthmus between Puget Sound (an inlet of the Pacific Ocean) and Lake Washington, about 160 km south of the Canada–United States border. A major gateway for trade with Asia, Seattle is the fourth-largest port in North America in terms of container handling as of 2015. The Seattle area was previously inhabited by Native Americans for at least 4,000 years before the first permanent European settlers. Mount Rainier (Mount Tacoma, or Mount Tahoma) is the highest mountain of the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest, and the highest mountain in the USA state of Washington. It is a large active stratovolcano located 87 km south-southeast of Seattle, in the Mount Rainier National Park.

Arthur A. Denny and his group of travellers, subsequently known as the Denny Party, arrived from Illinois via Portland, Oregon, on the schooner Exact at Alki Point on November 13, 1851. The settlement was moved to the eastern shore of Elliott Bay and named "Seattle" in 1852, after Chief Si'ahl of the local Duwamish and Suquamish tribes. Logging was Seattle's first major industry, but by the late-19th century, the city had become a commercial and shipbuilding centre as a gateway to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush.

Growth after World War II was partially due to the local Boeing company, which established Seattle as a centre for aircraft manufacturing. The Seattle area developed as a technology centre beginning in the 1980s, with companies like Microsoft becoming established in the region. In 1994, Internet retailer Amazon was founded in Seattle. The stream of new software, biotechnology, and Internet companies led to an economic revival, which increased the city's population by almost 50,000 between 1990 and 2000.

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 18 June 2017


Flinders Street Station is a railway station on the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets in Melbourne, Australia. It serves the entire metropolitan rail network. Backing onto the city reach of the Yarra River in the heart of the city, the complex covers two whole city blocks and extends from Swanston Street to Queen Street. Flinders Street is served by Metro's suburban services, and V/Line regional services to Gippsland. It is the busiest station on Melbourne's metropolitan network, with some 92.6 million passenger movements recorded in 2011/12.

It was the first railway station in an Australian city and the world's busiest passenger station in the late 1920s. The main station building, completed in 1909, is a cultural icon of Melbourne, with its prominent dome, arched entrance, tower and clocks one of the city's most recognisable landmarks. It is listed on the Victorian Heritage Register. The Melburnian idiom "I'll meet you under the clocks" refers to the row of clocks above the main entrance, which indicate the time-tabled time of departure for trains on each line; another idiom, "I'll meet you on the steps", refers to the wide staircase underneath these clocks. Flinders Street Station is responsible for two of Melbourne's busiest pedestrian crossings, both across Flinders Street, including one of Melbourne's few pedestrian scrambles.

The ladies in red are volunteer tourist helpers, willing to smile and lend a hand to "lost souls"! Volunteers play a vital role in the City of Melbourne’s tourism services. ​Volunteers provide information on Melbourne to around two million visitors each year. Their love and knowledge of the city and regional Victoria adds to Melbourne's reputation as a friendly, welcoming and culturally vibrant city.

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

Thursday 15 June 2017


Argyranthemum (marguerite, marguerite daisy, dill daisy) is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the family Asteraceae. Members of this genus are sometimes also placed in the genus Chrysanthemum. The genus is endemic to Macaronesia, occurring only on the Canary Islands, the Savage Islands, and Madeira.

Shown here is the hybrid Argyranthemum, 'Reflection Pink'. It is a drought- and salt-tolerant shrubby tender perennial often grown as an annual bedding plant, Reflection Pink Marguerite daisy boasts frilly foliage and large pink and brown blossoms. If you love the look of gazania flowers, this hybrid's flowers will delight you.

A mounding but upright plant that bears lots of flowers, the blooms occur on stem tips. They first appear early in the spring and continue for a long flowering season. Each flower opens with a button-like brown eye surrounded by a single row of rose and pink petals. The base of each petal has a deeper band of rose, with a strip of white immediately at the attachment to the brown eye. This creates a multicoloured bullseye effect. The petals fade significantly with age.

This bushy mound-forming perennial has gray-green, deeply lobed leaves that are ferny and emit a strong fragrance when crushed. Its daisies are produced above the foliage and appear from late spring till frost or almost year round in frost free climates. Flowering subsides in very hot weather and deadheading will prolong vigorous bloom. This easy-to-grow plant grows beautifully in full sun and moderately fertile garden soil with good drainage.

Hot and humid weather makes this plant falter quickly. Regular light pruning will promote compact growth, increase flowering and provide cuttings for propagation. Plants are wind and salt tolerant. Grow 'Reflection Pink' in seaside gardens, containers, or sunny garden beds. The blooms draw butterflies and can also be cut for flower arrangements.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 14 June 2017


The Walrus

The walrus lolls on icy shores
Of Arctic oceans frigid;
He barks then naps, and dreams and snores
How calm he looks, so rigid!

The walrus turns and smiles and drools,
He seems oddly familiar;
Could it be John, or Dick or Jules,
No, no, he’s too peculiar…

The walrus wakes and yawns and bleats,
And stares directly at me;
He nibbles crabs, and clams he eats
But he refuses chutney…

The walrus waits and then he goes
And dives quite deeply seaward;
In icy waters that are froze
He likes to gambol leeward.

Enjoy the ice while there, my friend,
For quickly it is melting,
Your home’s cool ease will shortly end
As we give Earth a belting...

This post is part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Poets United Midweek Motif.

Tuesday 13 June 2017


Hobart is the state capital and most populous city of the Australian island state of Tasmania. Founded in 1804 as a penal colony, Hobart is Australia's second oldest capital city after Sydney. In 2009, the city had a greater area population of approximately 212,019. A resident of Hobart is known as a "Hobartian".

The city is located in the state's south-east on the estuary of the Derwent River. The skyline is dominated by Mount Wellington at 1,271 metres high. The city is the financial and administrative heart of Tasmania, also serving as the home port for both Australian and French Antarctic operations. Hobart was named Australia's 6th most sustainable city, by the Australian Conservation Foundation in 2010. For economic and social innovation, Hobart was the 11th placed in Australia in 2009, and listed as an innovation influencer city in the Innovation Cities Global Index scoring equal with Reykjavik, Katowice and Casablanca by 2thinknow.

Hobart supports a huge tourist industry. Visitors come to the city to explore its historic inner suburbs and nationally acclaimed restaurants and cafes, as well as its vibrant music and nightlife culture. Australia's first legal casino was the 17-storey Wrest Point Hotel Casino in Sandy Bay, opened in 1973. Tourists also come to visit the massive weekly market in Salamanca Place, as well as to use the city as a base from which to explore the rest of Tasmania.

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 12 June 2017


The cultivation of elms in Australia began in the first half of the 19th century when European settlers imported species from their former homelands. Owing to the demise of elms in the northern hemisphere as a result of the Dutch elm disease pandemic, the mature trees in Australia's parks and gardens are now regarded as amongst the most significant in the world.

Here they are in their autumnal glory in Royal Parade, Parkville, close to the University of Melbourne.

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

Sunday 11 June 2017


Gulls or seagulls are seabirds of the family Laridae in the suborder Lari. They are most closely related to the terns (family Sternidae) and only distantly related to auks, skimmers, and more distantly to the waders. Until the 21st century, most gulls were placed in the genus Larus, but this arrangement is now known to be polyphyletic, leading to the resurrection of several genera. An older name for gulls is mew, cognate with German Möwe, Danish måge, Dutch meeuw, and French mouette; this term can still be found in certain regional dialects.

Gulls are typically medium to large birds, usually grey or white, often with black markings on the head or wings. They typically have harsh wailing or squawking calls, stout, longish bills, and webbed feet. Most gulls, particularly Larus species, are ground-nesting carnivores, which take live food or scavenge opportunistically. Live food often includes crabs and small fish. Gulls have unhinging jaws which allow them to consume large prey.

Apart from the kittiwakes, gulls are typically coastal or inland species, rarely venturing far out to sea. The large species take up to four years to attain full adult plumage, but two years is typical for small gulls. Large white-headed gulls are typically long-lived birds, with a maximum age of 49 years recorded for the herring gull. Gulls nest in large, densely packed noisy colonies. They lay two or three speckled eggs in nests composed of vegetation. The young are precocial, being born with dark mottled down, and mobile upon hatching.

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

Thursday 8 June 2017


I guess we are fortunate in Melbourne as our Winters are never heavy, with the seasonal cold and rain quite tolerable. If it snows in the City it is first page news, so we're lucky there too. This generally means that whatever the season, fresh flowers are available locally (even if some of them have been forced to blossom - the Spring bulbs, for example).

This Winter bouquet has violet-coloured Dutch irises (Iris × hollandica), creamy white Alstroemeria (Alstroemeria × hybrida), and orange-pink Asiatic lilies (Asiatic lilies - Lilium asiatica).

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 7 June 2017


The Vulture

The vulture soars and surveys all,
The largest beast, as well as small;
The vulture looks for dead, red meat
For him live game is not a treat.

To scavenge and to pick a carcass clean
For vultures is a joy too keen;
They eat the dead and neaten up
Reuse, recycle, and so they sup.

We humans could perhaps a lesson learn
From vultures whom we hate and spurn:
Waste not, clean up, leftovers use
Environment, home, do not abuse.

We live on a small planet frail,
With scant resources that will fail;
Value each precious thing the earth
Us gives: Waste leads to woe and dearth.

The vulture soars and surveys all,
The largest beast, as well as small;
Creation’s marvels he esteems
And happy are his sleep and dreams.

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

Tuesday 6 June 2017


Polperro (Cornish: Porthpyra, meaning Pyra's cove) is a village and fishing harbour on the south-east Cornwall coast in the south west of England, within the civil (and partly in the ecclesiastical) parish of Lansallos. Polperro, through which runs the River Pol, is 7 miles (11 km) east of Fowey and 4 miles (6 km) west of the neighbouring town of Looe and 25 miles (40 km) west of the major city and naval port of Plymouth. It is a noted tourist destination, particularly in the summer months, for its idyllic appearance with tightly-packed ancient fishermen's houses which survive almost untouched, its quaint harbour and attractive coastline.

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 5 June 2017


Many of the trees around Melbourne have fruit on them - not necessarily all edible, but all are quite beautiful.

Clockwise from upper left: Green olives; persimmons; lilly pilly; black olives; pittosporum; haws.

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

Sunday 4 June 2017


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

Thursday 1 June 2017


Anemone hupehensis, Anemone hupehensis var. japonica, and Anemone × hybrida (commonly known as the Chinese anemone or Japanese anemone, thimbleweed, or windflower) are species of flowering herbaceous perennials in the Ranunculaceae family. A. hupehensis is native to central China, though it has been naturalised in Japan for hundreds of years.

The species was first named and described in Flora Japonica (1784), by Carl Thunberg. Thunberg had collected dried specimens while working as a doctor for the Dutch East Indies Company. In 1844, Robert Fortune brought the plant to England from China, where he found it often planted about graves. Height is 1–1.5 m and the leaves have three leaflets. Flowers are 40–60 mm across, with 5-6 (or up to 20 in double forms) sculpted pink or white petals and prominent yellow stamens, blooming from midsummer to autumn.

These plants thrive best in shady areas and under protection of larger plants. They are especially sensitive to drought or overwatering. They can be invasive or weedy in some areas, throwing out suckers from the fibrous rootstock, to rapidly colonise an area. Once established they can be extremely difficult to eradicate. On the other hand, they can take some time to become established.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,
and also part of the Weekend Green meme.