Thursday, 5 August 2021

PLUM BLOSSOM

The first wild plum blossoms have appeared even as the cold weather and the rain persist. It is Winter, but the scent of Spring is already in the air. As Japanese Edo Period poet Hattori Ransetsu (1654-1707) remarks:

One plum blossom
brings us just one more step
to the warmth.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Thursday, 22 July 2021

WILD LEEKS

The three-cornered leek (Allium triquetrum) is an invasive weed in the Amaryllidaceae family that can carpet large areas very quickly because of its rapidly germinating seeds that quickly form a dense clump of leaves and flowers. Pretty though this three-cornered leek may be, don't be tempted to pick it as a cut flower because it does reek strongly of an oniony smell! However, all parts of the plant are edible. The leaves and flowers can be added to salads, and the bulbs can be substituted for garlic.

These are growing by the banks of the Merri Creek in Clifton Hill, Melbourne. In the background the brick road bridge. This bridge across Merri Creek at the southern end of High Street was built for the recently created Shire of Jika Jika in 1875 to a design by T.E. Rawlinson, Road Engineer in the Department of Roads and Bridges, although contributions to its design have also been attributed to the Jika Jika Shire Engineer, Evander McIver.

The bridge was constructed of Malmsbury bluestone (basalt) and bricks from local brickworks in Northcote. The bridge was widened in 1890 to allow for the extension of the Clifton Hill cable tram route up High Street. The widening was executed in a similar style to the original design and was supervised by George Duncan, Engineer to the Melbourne Tramways & Omnibus Company.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.





Thursday, 15 July 2021

ANDROMEDA

Andromeda polifolia, common name bog-rosemary, is a species of flowering plant native to Northern parts of the Northern Hemisphere. It is the only member of the genus Andromeda, and is only found in bogs in cold peat-accumulating areas.

It is a small shrub growing to 10–20 centimetres (rarely to 40 cm) tall with slender stems. The leaves are evergreen, alternately arranged, lanceolate, 1–5 centimetres long and 2–8 millimetres broad, dark green above (purplish in winter) and white beneath with the leaf margins curled under.

The flowers are bell-shaped, white to pink, 5–8 mm long; flowering is in late spring to early summer. The fruit is a small capsule containing numerous seeds.  'Compacta' shown here is a small evergreen shrub to 20cm in height, with oval leaves and terminal clusters of clear pink, globose flowers. 

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.



Tuesday, 6 July 2021

TASMANIAN PASTORAL

Tasmania is an island state 240 kilometres to the south of the Australian continent, separated from it by the Bass Strait. The state includes the island of Tasmania, the 26th largest island in the world, and the surrounding 334 smaller islands. The state has a population of 507,626 (as of June 2010), of whom almost half reside in the greater Hobart precinct.

Tasmania’s area is 68,401 square kilometres, of which the main island covers 62,409 square kilometres. The subantarctic Macquarie Island is also under the administration of the state, as part of the Huon Valley Council local government area.   Tasmania is promoted to tourists as the “Natural State”, the “Island of Inspiration” and “A World Apart, Not A World Away”, owing to its large and relatively unspoiled natural environment.

Almost 37% of Tasmanian land lies in reserves, national parks and World Heritage Sites. The island is 364 kilometres long from its northernmost to its southernmost points, and 306 kilometres from west to east.   The state capital and largest city is Hobart, which encompasses the local government areas of City of Hobart, City of Glenorchy, and City of Clarence, while the satellite town of Kingston (part of the Municipality of Kingborough) is generally included in the Greater Hobart area.

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, 24 June 2021

CAMELLIA

This year, the flowers that usually bloom in late Winter have started to flower now, a third of the way into Winter. At the same time, some Autumn flowers have persisted till now and even a Summer flower pops its head up now and then. Climate change is something that may underlie this, but it all could have to do with the various weather microcycles that are going on all the time.

This camellia in full bloom, is something which usually happens in late Winter or early Spring.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Thursday, 17 June 2021

PANSY ORCHID

Miltonia, abbreviated Milt. in the horticultural trade, is an orchid genus formed by nine epiphyte species and eight natural hybrids inhabitants of the Brazilian Atlantic Forest, one species reaching the northeast of Argentina and east of Paraguay. This genus was established by John Lindley in 1837, when he described its type species, Miltonia spectabilis. Many species were attributed to Miltonia in the past, however, today, the species from Central America and from cooler areas on northwest of South America have been moved to other genera.

Miltonia species have large and long lasting flowers, often in multifloral inflorescences. This fact, allied to being species that are easy to grow and to identify, make them a favourite of orchid collectors all over the world. Species of this genus are extensively used to produce artificial hybrids. Despite the fact that Miltonia is now a well established genus, most of its species were originally classified under other genera as Cyrtochilum, Oncidium, Odontoglossum, and Brassia. All were discovered between 1834 and 1850 with the exception of M. kayasimae, discovered only in 1976. 

These epiphytic orchids occur from Central to Southern Brazil down to Argentina. They are named after Charles Wentworth-Fitzwilliam, 5th Earl Fitzwilliam, formerly Viscount Milton, an English orchid enthusiast. These orchids have two leaves, arising from a pseudobulbs, covered with a foliaceous sheath. The inflorescence consists of waxy, nonspurred flowers. The lip is large and flat and lacks a callus at its base. They possess a footless column with two hard pollinia. The flowers have a delicate, exotic scent, some compare to that of roses. The species in this genus are sometimes referred to as the "pansy orchids", but it is the Miltoniopsis orchids that have flowers that closely resemble the pansy. Almost everyone except for the most serious orchid hobbyists use the name pansy orchids interchangeably, which may cause confusion.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Wednesday, 16 June 2021

ROSE HIPS

Winter is with us and most roses have finished flowering. Rose hips are a welcome dash of colour.

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


Thursday, 10 June 2021

BUDDLEJA

Buddleja commonly known as the butterfly bush is a genus comprising over 100 species of flowering plants endemic to Asia, Africa, and the Americas, within the Buddlejaceae family. The generic name bestowed by Linnaeus posthumously honoured the Reverend Adam Buddle (1662–1715), a botanist and rector in Essex, England, at the suggestion of Dr. William Houstoun. Houstoun sent the first plants to become known to science as Buddleja (B. americana) to England from the Caribbean about 15 years after Buddle's death.

As garden shrubs Buddleja is essentially a 20th-century plant, with the exception of B. globosa which was introduced to Britain from southern Chile in 1774 and disseminated from the nursery of Lee and Kennedy, Hammersmith. Several species are popular garden plants, the species are commonly known as 'butterfly bushes' owing to their attractiveness to butterflies, and have become staples of the modern butterfly garden; they are also attractive to bees and moths. The most popular cultivated species is Buddleja davidii from central China, named for the French Basque missionary and naturalist Père Armand David.

This bush is flowering prematurely, misled perhaps by the fine, warm days we enjoyed before the cold, wet, stormy, wintry front that hit us two days ago.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme


Thursday, 3 June 2021

FIRST DAISY

Our weather has been very topsy-turvy these last few weeks, with much variation in temperature and precipitation. Our poor plants are a little confused: On the one hand, roses are blooming late, lingering until Winter's beginning, while lawn daisies have started to appear. Chrysanthemums ,are blooming at the same time as Spring bulbs and while plane trees are shedding yellow leaves, ash trees are blossoming!

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme




Friday, 28 May 2021

LUNAR ECLIPSE

A total lunar eclipse occurred in Melbourne on May 26th 2021. A total lunar eclipse happens when the Earth comes between the Sun and the Full Moon and blocks all of Sun's direct rays from lighting up the Moon. This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are exactly or very closely aligned (in syzygy) with Earth between the other two, and only on the night of a full moon.

The type and length of a lunar eclipse depend on the Moon's proximity to either node of its orbit. A totally eclipsed Moon is sometimes called a blood moon for its reddish colour, which is caused by Earth completely blocking direct sunlight from reaching the Moon. The only light reflected from the lunar surface has been refracted by Earth's atmosphere. This light appears reddish for the same reason that a sunset or sunrise does: the Rayleigh scattering of bluer light.

Unlike a solar eclipse, which can only be viewed from a relatively small area of the world, a lunar eclipse may be viewed from anywhere on the night side of Earth. A total lunar eclipse can last up to nearly 2 hours, while a total solar eclipse lasts only up to a few minutes at any given place, because the Moon's shadow is smaller. Also unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to view without any eye protection or special precautions, as they are dimmer than the full Moon.

This post is part of thSkywatch Friday meme



Monday, 24 May 2021

URBAN ANIMALS

We live in a big metropolis of over five million people, and yet we are lucky to have many parks, parklands and nature reserves right in the midst of the urban area. Within walking distance of our house is the Darebin Parklands, which straddle Alphington and Ivanhoe, approximately 10 kilometres northeast of the City of Melbourne. Darebin Creek flows through the Parklands, to join the Yarra River, at Alphington.

Darebin Parklands comprises an area of approximately 40 hectares of urban bushland, containing much native flora and fauna. The park is highly accessible being both on a bus route and adjacent to the Hurstbridge railway line. The digital mosaic below shows some of the fauna inhabiting the park.

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


Monday, 17 May 2021

VICTORIAN TERRACES

Terraced houses in Australia refers almost exclusively to Victorian and Edwardian era terraced houses or replicas, almost always found in the older, inner city areas of the major cities, mainly Sydney and Melbourne. Terraced housing was introduced to Australia in the 19th century. Their architectural work was based on those in London and Paris, which had the style a century earlier.

Large numbers of terraced houses were built in the inner suburbs of large Australian cities, particularly Sydney and Melbourne, mainly between the 1850s and the 1890s. The beginning of this period coincided with a population boom caused by the Victorian and New South Wales Gold Rushes of the 1850s and finished with an economic depression in the early 1890s. Detached housing became the popular style of housing in Australia following Federation in 1901.

The generic Melbourne style of terrace is distinguishable from other regional variations, often reflecting the popularity of Italianate villa architecture in the city.  Many Victorian era Melbourne terraces are built on foundations of bluestone, a solid and porous local rock quarried from the volcanic plains to the north and west of the city, although it is rare to find terraces completely constructed of the material due to the difficulty to mould it.

The majority of designers of Victorian terraces in Melbourne made an effort to deliberately hide roof elements with the use of a decorative parapet, often combined with the use balustrades above a subtle but clearly defined eave cornice and a frieze which was either plain or decorated with a row of brackets (and sometimes additional patterned bas-relief. Chimneys were often tall, visible above the parapet and elaborately Italianate in style.

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


Friday, 14 May 2021

ANTARCTIC BLAST

We are in late Autumn, so colder weather and short days are to be expected. This week, we've had an Antarctic blast that caused leaden skies, wet weather and cold temperatures.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.


Sunday, 9 May 2021

OUTDOOR CAFÉ

Treating Mum to a lovely lunch on a sunny, mild Autumn day!

HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY!

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.


Tuesday, 4 May 2021

ATHENIAN TEMPLE

The Temple of Olympian Zeus (Greek: Ναός του Ολυμπίου Διός, Naos tou Olympiou Dios), also known as the Olympieion or Columns of the Olympian Zeus, is a colossal ruined temple in the centre of the Greek capital, Athens, that was dedicated to Zeus, king of the Olympian gods. Construction began in the 6th century BC during the rule of the Athenian tyrants, who envisaged building the greatest temple in the ancient world, but it was not completed until the reign of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in the 2nd century AD some 638 years after the project had begun.

During the Roman periods it was renowned as the largest temple in Greece and housed one of the largest cult statues in the ancient world. The temple's glory was short-lived, as it fell into disuse after being pillaged in a barbarian invasion in the 3rd century AD. It was probably never repaired and was reduced to ruins thereafter. In the centuries after the fall of the Roman Empire, it was extensively quarried for building materials to supply building projects elsewhere in the city. Despite this, a substantial part of the temple remains today, and it continues to be a major tourist attraction.  

Fifteen columns remain standing today and a sixteenth column lies on the ground where it fell during a storm in 1852. Nothing remains of the cella or the great statue that it once housed. The temple was excavated in 1889-1896 by Francis Penrose of the British School in Athens (who also played a leading role in the restoration of the Parthenon), in 1922 by the German archaeologist Gabriel Welter and in the 1960s by Greek archaeologists led by Ioannes Travlos. 

The temple, along with the surrounding ruins of other ancient structures, is a historical precinct administered by Ephorate of Antiquities of the Greek Interior Ministry. On 21 January 2007, a group of Hellenic neopagans held a ceremony honouring Zeus on the grounds of the temple. The event was organised by "Ellinais", an organisation which won a court battle to obtain recognition for Ancient Greek religious practices in the Autumn of 2006.

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, 25 April 2021

ANZAC POPPIES

Anzac Day is a national day of remembrance in Australia and New Zealand that broadly commemorates all Australians and New Zealanders "who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations" and "the contribution and suffering of all those who have served". Observed on 25 April each year, Anzac Day was originally devised to honour the members of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) who served in the Gallipoli Campaign, their first engagement in the First World War (1914–1918).

Below is a little drawing of mine in oil pastels, which shows a field of Flanders poppies, which symbolise the sacrifice of those who who served and died in all wars, conflicts, and peacekeeping operations. Lest we forget...

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

More of my creative efforts here:



Thursday, 22 April 2021

JACOBINIA

A member of the Acanthaceae family, the Brazilian plume flower or jacobinia (Justicia carnea) is a shade-loving, soft-wooded shrub (ht 1.5m) with large, lush leaves. Thick plumes of white, pale pink or deep pink tubular flowers appear in regular flushes from early summer to late autumn. A form with dark purplish underleaves is known as 'Radiant' - perhaps more correctly should be called 'Huntington Form'.

Justicia carnea needs hard pruning in late winter, and regular dead-heading during summer will help to promote new blooms. It will also flourish in sunny spots but is useful for shaded sites, as are so many of the Acanthaceae family, which do so well in temperate climates. Whilst it will stand neglect, it responds well to feeding and watering. It is easily propagated from cuttings. It is a good companion to hydrangeas, Plectranthus species, ferns and camellias. The white form looks pretty with silver-leaved companions, such as Plectranthus argentatus and Pilea cadierei.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


SUNSET FLIGHT

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.


Thursday, 15 April 2021

NEMESIA

Nemesia is a genus of annuals, perennials and sub-shrubs which are native to sandy coasts or disturbed ground in South Africa. Numerous hybrids have been selected, and the annual cultivars are popular with gardeners as bedding plants. In temperate regions the annual cultivars are usually treated as half-hardy bedding plants, sown from seed in heat and planted out after all danger of frost has passed.

The flowers are two-lipped, with the upper lip consisting of four lobes and the lower lip two lobes. The cultivar 'Innocence', a low-growing bushy perennial with white flowers, has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. The cultivar shown here is 'Sunsatia Banana', which is a popular ornamental hybrid.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme


Thursday, 8 April 2021

AUTUMN ROSES

The days keep getting shorter and the rose bushes are full of rose hips and a few late blooming roses, saying a belated goodbye to Summer.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Thursday, 1 April 2021

IRIS

Iris is a genus of about 300 species of flowering plants with showy flowers. It takes its name from the ancient Greek goddess of the rainbow, Iris, referring to the wide variety of flower colours found among the many species. As well as being the scientific name, iris is also very widely used as a common name for all Iris species, though some plants called thus belong to other closely related genera. A common name for some species is 'flags', while the plants of the subgenus Scorpiris are widely known as 'junos', particularly in horticulture. It is a popular garden flower and its blossoms provide wonderful splashes of colour in the Spring garden.

The genus is widely distributed throughout the north temperate zone. Their habitats are varied, ranging from cold and montane regions to the grassy slopes, meadowlands and riverbanks of Europe, the Middle East and northern Africa, Asia and across North America.  Irises are perennial herbs, growing from creeping rhizomes (rhizomatous irises) or, in drier climates, from bulbs (bulbous irises). They have long, erect flowering stems which may be simple or branched, solid or hollow, and flattened or have a circular cross-section. The rhizomatous species usually have 3–10 basal sword-shaped leaves growing in dense clumps. The bulbous species have cylindrical, basal leaves.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Monday, 29 March 2021

FRUITING SEASON

It's fruiting time for many decorative plants in the gardens, and as if to compensate for the relatively fewer flowers, this season brings us a wealth of fruits, nuts and seeds. From left to right: Victorian box (Pittosporum undulatum); Broad-leaf Privet (Ligustrum lucidum); Stinking Iris (Iris foetidissima); Indian hawthorn (Rhaphiolepsis indica), and Hawthorn haws (Crataegus monogyna).

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


Friday, 26 March 2021

AEGEAN SUNSET

Sunset on a Greek island with the Aegean Sea beckoning in the distance... 

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.


Tuesday, 23 March 2021

LOOE, CORNWALL, UK

Cornwall (Cornish: Kernow) is a ceremonial county and unitary authority area of England within the United Kingdom. It is bordered to the north and west by the Celtic Sea, to the south by the English Channel, and to the east by the county of Devon, over the River Tamar. Cornwall has a population of 536,000 and covers an area of 3,563 km2. The administrative centre, and only city in Cornwall, is Truro, although the town of Falmouth has the largest population for a civil parish and the conurbation of Camborne, Pool and Redruth has the highest total population. Cornwall is the homeland of the Cornish people and is recognised as one of the Celtic nations, retaining a distinct cultural identity that reflects its history.

Looe (Cornish: Logh, meaning deep water inlet) is a small coastal town, fishing port and civil parish in the former Caradon district of south-east Cornwall, UK, with a population of 5,280 at recent census (2001 & 2011 census). The two electoral wards mentioning Looe but also including Polperro had a total population of 7,117 at the 2011 census.

The town of Looe is approximately 32 km west of the city of Plymouth and 11 km south of Liskeard. and is divided in two by the River Looe, East Looe and West Looe (Cornish: Porthbyhan, meaning Little Cove) being connected by a bridge. The town centres around a small harbour and along the steep-sided valley of the River Looe which flows between East and West Looe to the sea beside a sandy beach. Off shore to the west, opposite the stonier Hannafore Beach, lies the idyllic St George’s Island, otherwise known as Looe Island.

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.



Thursday, 18 March 2021

SNOW-ON-THE-MOUNTAIN

Euphorbia marginata (commonly known as snow-on-the-mountain, smoke-on-the-prairie, variegated spurge, or whitemargined spurge) is a small annual in the spurge family, Euphorbiaceae. It is native to parts of temperate North America, from Eastern Canada to the Southwestern United States. It is naturalized throughout much of China. The type specimen was collected in Rosebud County, Montana from the area of the Yellowstone River by William Clark during the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Snow-on-the-mountain has grey-green leaves along branches and smaller leaves (bracts or cyathophylls) in terminal whorls with edges trimmed with wide white bands, creating, together with the white flowers, the appearance that gives the plant its common names.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.




Tuesday, 16 March 2021

METHONI, GREECE

Methoni (Greek: Μεθώνη, Italian: Modone) is a village and a former municipality in Messenia, Peloponnese, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform it is part of the municipality Pylos-Nestoras, of which it is a municipal unit. Its name may be derived from Mothona, a mythical rock. It is located 11 km south of Pylos and 11 km west of Foinikounta. The town is also known by the Italian name Modone, as it was called by the Venetians. Its economy is dominated by tourism, attracted by its beaches (including Tapia, Kokkinia and Kritika) and its historical castle.

Methoni has been identified as the city Pedasus, that Homer mentions under the name “ampeloessa” (of vine leaves), as the last of the seven “evnaiomena ptoliethra”, that Agamemnon offers Achilles in order to subdue his rage. Pausanias knew the city as Mothone, named after either the daughter of Oeneus or after the rock Mothon, which protects the harbour, and mentioned a temple to Athena Anemotis there. It was an important city in Ancient Greek, Roman and Byzantine times.

The Venetians had their eye on Methoni since the 12th century, due to its location on the route from Venice to the Eastern markets. In 1125, they launched an attack against pirates, who had captured some Venetian traders on their way home from the east, and who were inhabiting Methoni at that time. The Venetians took over the town in the aftermath of the Fourth Crusade, and secured recognition from the neighbouring Principality of Achaea through the Treaty of Sapienza (1209). A Roman Catholic bishop was installed in the local see.

The Venetians fortified Methoni, which developed into an important trade centre with great prosperity. Methoni became the important middle station between Venice and the Holy Lands, where every traveler stopped on their way to the East. A pilgrim who went by in 1484 admired its strong walls, the deep moats and the fortified towers. Nowadays the walls of the fortress, even though in ruins, continue to be impressive. The castle of Methoni occupies the whole area of the cape and the southwestern coast to the small islet that has also been fortified with an octagonal tower and is protected by the sea on its three sides. Its north part, the one that looks to land, is covered by a heavily fortified acropolis. A deep moat separates the castle from the land and communication was achieved by a wooden bridge. The Venetians built on the ancient battlements and added on and repaired it during both periods that they occupied the castle.

The castle of Methoni rises deserted and isolated today. When the winter winds hit its walls the locals say that you can hear the screams of the prisoners and the unjustly killed in the dungeons.

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, 11 March 2021

CALADENIA

Caladenia maritima, commonly known as coastal fingers or Angahook pink fingers, is a species of orchid (family Orchidaceae) endemic to Victoria, Australia. It has a single, almost hairless leaf and one or white flowers with greenish backs and only occurs in the coastal district of Anglesea, Victoria, Australia.

Caladenia maritima is a terrestrial, perennial, deciduous, herb with an underground tuber and a single, almost glabrous, linear leaf, 60–150 mm long and 1–3 mm wide. One or two white flowers 20–25 mm long and wide are borne on a stalk 100–200 mm tall. The backs of the sepals and petals are greenish with a dark line along the centre. The dorsal sepal is erect, sometimes curving backwards and is 10–15 mm long and 2–3 mm wide. The lateral sepals are 13–17 mm long, 4–5 mm wide and spreading. The petals are 13–15 mm  long and 4–5 mm wide and arranged like the lateral sepals. The labellum is 7–9 mm long, 5–8 mm wide and white with purple lines and blotches. The tip of the labellum is orange and curled under. The sides of the labellum have a few narrow teeth near the tip and there are two short rows of yellow or white calli in the centre of the labellum.

Flowering occurs from September to October. This orchid was first described in 1999 by David Jones from a specimen collected near Anglesea and the description was published in The Orchadian. The specific epithet (maritima) is a Latin word meaning "of the sea". Coastal fingers occurs near Anglesea in a single population, growing in woodland with a heathy understorey. 

Caladenia maritima is not classified under the Victorian Government Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act 1988 or under the Australian Government Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 but has been listed as "endangered" in Victoria according to the Advisory List of Rare or Threatened Vascular Plants in Victoria – 2004.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Monday, 8 March 2021

WOMEN'S DAY

HAPPY WOMEN'S DAY 2021

A day to:
  • celebrate women's achievements
  • raise awareness about women's equality
  • lobby for accelerated gender parity
  • fundraise for female-focused charities

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


Thursday, 4 March 2021

BLACK NIGHTSHADE

Solanum nigrum, the European black nightshade or simply black nightshade or blackberry nightshade, is a species of flowering plant in the genus Solanum, native to Eurasia and introduced in the Americas, Australasia, and South Africa. Ripe berries and cooked leaves of edible strains are used as food in some locales, and plant parts are used as a traditional medicine. A tendency exists in literature to incorrectly refer to many of the other "black nightshade" species as "Solanum nigrum".

Solanum nigrum has been recorded from deposits of the Palaeolithic and Mesolithic era of ancient Britain and it is suggested by the botanist and ecologist Edward Salisbury that it was part of the native flora there before Neolithic agriculture emerged. The species was mentioned by Pliny the Elder in the first century AD and by the great herbalists, including Dioscorides. In 1753, Carl Linnaeus described six varieties of Solanum nigrum in Species Plantarum.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Thursday, 25 February 2021

GEUM

Geum commonly called avens, is a genus of about 50 species of rhizomatous perennial herbaceous plants in the Rosaceae family, widespread across Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa, and New Zealand. They are closely related to Potentilla and Fragaria.

From a basal rosette of leaves, they produce flowers on wiry stalks, in shades of white, red, yellow, and orange, in midsummer. Geum species are evergreen except where winter temperatures drop below −18 °C. Geum species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the grizzled skipper.

The cultivars 'Lady Stratheden' (shown here), and 'Mrs J. Bradshaw' have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.



Monday, 22 February 2021

FOUR SEASONS

The changing moods of the big pond at the Darebin Parklands in suburban Melbourne. Different seasons change the atmosphere, but it's all beautiful!

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


Thursday, 11 February 2021

OREGANO

Oregano (Origanum vulgare) is a common species of Origanum, a genus of the Lamiaceae (mint) family. It is native to temperate western and southwestern Eurasia and the Mediterranean region. Oregano is a perennial herb, growing from 20–80 cm tall, with opposite leaves 1–4 cm long. Oregano will grow in a pH range between 6.0 (mildly acidic) and 9.0 (strongly alkaline), with a preferred range between 6.0 and 8.0. It is sometimes called wild marjoram, and its close relative Origanum majorana is known as sweet marjoram.

The flowers are purple, 3–4 mm long, produced in erect spikes.  It has spade-shaped, olive-green leaves. It is a perennial, although it is grown as an annual in colder climates, as it often does not survive the winter. Oregano is planted in early spring, the plants being spaced 30 cm apart in fairly dry soil, with full sun. It prefers a hot, relatively dry climate, but does well in other environments.

Many subspecies and strains of oregano have been developed by humans over centuries for their unique flavours or other characteristics. Tastes range from spicy or astringent to more complicated and sweet. Simple oregano sold in garden stores as Origanum vulgare may have a bland taste and larger, less dense leaves, and is not considered the best for culinary uses, with a taste less remarkable and pungent. It can pollinate other more sophisticated strains, but the offspring are rarely better in quality. The related species, Origanum onites (Greece, Turkey) and O. syriacum (West Asia), have similar flavours. Some varieties show a flavour intermediate between oregano and marjoram.

The ‘Greek Kaliteri’ cultivar is a small, hardy, dark, compact plant with thick, silvery-haired leaves, usually with purple undersides. It has an excellent reputation for flavour and pungency, as well as medicinal uses, with a strong, archetypal oregano flavour (in Greek i kaliteri means ‘the best’).

Oregano is an important culinary herb, used for the flavour of its leaves, which can be more flavourful when dried than fresh. It has an aromatic, warm, and slightly bitter taste, which can vary in intensity. Good-quality oregano may be strong enough almost to numb the tongue, but cultivars adapted to colder climates often have a lesser flavour. Factors such as climate, season, and soil composition may affect the aromatic oils present, and this effect may be greater than the differences between the various species of plants.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme


Tuesday, 9 February 2021

KAYSERSBERG, FRANCE

Kaysersberg is a commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France. The inhabitants are called Kaysersbergeois. The name means "Emperor's Mountain" in German. The high fortress that dominates the city serves as a reminder of both its strategic importance and its warlike past.

Kaysersberg was the birthplace of Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965), theologian, musician, philosopher, and physician. Together with the rest of Alsace-Lorraine, Kaysersberg was part of Germany during the period between the Franco-Prussian War and the First World War. Kaysersberg is one of the finest wine growing areas in Alsace. The first vines were brought here in the 16th century from Hungary, and wine production is still an important aspect of the town’s economy today. Wine produced from the Pinot gris variety is a local specialty.

We visited Kaysersberg in 1999 during an extended holiday in the Alsace-Lorraine region and we enjoyed the trip immensely. The photographs are original digital ones, but they have been taken with an early model Olympus digital camera so excuse the poorer quality. They are a wonderful reminder of our holiday there.

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.