Saturday, 24 September 2022

EASTERN ROSELLA

The eastern rosella (Platycercus eximius) is a rosella native to southeast of the Australian continent and to Tasmania. It has been introduced to New Zealand where feral populations are found in the North Island (notably in the northern half of the island and in the Hutt Valley) and in the hills around Dunedin in the South Island.

The eastern rosella is 30 cm long. It has a red head and white cheeks. The beak is white and the irises are brown. The upper breast is red and the lower breast is yellow fading to pale green over the abdomen. The feathers of the back and shoulders are black, and have yellowish or greenish margins giving rise to a scalloped appearance that varies slightly between the subspecies and the sexes. The wings and lateral tail feathers are bluish while the tail is dark green. The legs are grey. The female is similar to the male though duller in colouration and has an underwing stripe, which is not present in the adult male. Juveniles are duller than females and have an underwing stripe.

The diet of eastern rosellas mainly consists of fruit, seeds, flowers and insects. The eastern rosella is sometimes kept as a pet. These birds are desired for their beautifully coloured plumage. They are intelligent creatures, which can be trained to whistle a wide repertoire of tunes and may even learn to speak a few words or phrases. Rosellas can make good companion parrots; however, they require a great deal of attention and many toys to satisfy their need for social interaction and mental stimulation.

These birds sometimes won't adapt to life as a family pet. Hand-raised birds can be fully domesticated, but usually they turn out still wild. Usually, this species doesn't like getting “petted” or “cuddled” and can bite in response to this type of handling. Many people believe that rosellas are best housed in large aviaries that enable them to fly freely with minimal human socialization. Despite these difficulties, many people enjoy the eastern rosella as a beautiful but sometimes feisty pet bird.

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


Thursday, 22 September 2022

SPEEDWELL

Veronica peduncularis (creeping speedwell) is a plant in the plantain family, Plantaginaceae. The ‘Georgia Blue’ Speedwell (USDA Zone: 4-9) was introduced a few years ago from Russia. This creeping speedwell has proven to be an outstanding selection for a bright display in the Spring garden. Plants form a low creeping mat of deep green leaves, evergreen but turning bronze in the colder months.

Small sapphire-blue flowers are studded all over during the spring, and sometimes again in late summer. Perfect for underplanting with spring flowering bulbs of all kinds, particularly miniature Narcissus. Plants may be easily divided in early Autumn. Clip back hard immediately after flowering, to maintain a tight, thick habit.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Tuesday, 20 September 2022

LONDON, UK

London is the capital and most populous city of England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south east of the island of Great Britain, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. It was founded by the Romans, who named it Londinium. London's ancient core, the City of London, largely retains its 1.12-square-mile (2.9 km2) medieval boundaries. Since at least the 19th century, "London" has also referred to the metropolis around this core, historically split between Middlesex, Essex, Surrey, Kent, and Hertfordshire, which today largely makes up Greater London, governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

London contains four World Heritage Sites: the Tower of London; Kew Gardens; the site comprising the Palace of Westminster (image below), Westminster Abbey, and St Margaret's Church; and the historic settlement of Greenwich (in which the Royal Observatory, Greenwich marks the Prime Meridian, 0° longitude, and GMT). Other famous landmarks include Buckingham Palace, the London Eye, Piccadilly Circus, St Paul's Cathedral, Tower Bridge, Trafalgar Square, and The Shard. London is home to numerous museums, galleries, libraries, sporting events, and other cultural institutions, including the British Museum, National Gallery, Natural History Museum, Tate Modern, British Library, and West End theatres. The London Underground is the oldest underground railway network in the world. 

This post is part of the Travel Tuesday meme.



Thursday, 8 September 2022

ISOPOGON

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme

Isopogon formosus or Rose Cone Flower is a shrub in the Proteaceae family that is endemic to areas near Albany and Esperance in Western Australia. In occurs naturally in heathland and woodland areas. It has an erect or bushy form and is usually between 1.5 and 2 metres high. The pink flowers appear from mid winter to early summer. Rounded "drumsticks" containing the seeds appear later, formed from the old flower parts. The plant's leaves are divided, narrow, terete and about 5 cm long.


Thursday, 25 August 2022

CAPE DAISY

Osteospermum is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the Calenduleae, one of the smaller tribes of the sunflower/daisy family Asteraceae. The common name is African daisy or Cape daisy. Osteospermum used to belong to the genus Dimorphotheca, but only the annual species remain in that genus now; the perennials have been placed in the genus Osteospermum. Osteospermum is also closely related to the small genus Chrysanthemoides, and the resemblance is seen in species such as C. incana and C. monilifera.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Thursday, 28 July 2022

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.


Thursday, 21 July 2022

ORCHID

Cymbidium, or boat orchids, is a genus of 52 evergreen species in the orchid family Orchidaceae. One of its first descriptions come from Olof Swartz in 1799. The name is derived from the Greek word kumbos, meaning 'hole, cavity'. It refers to the form of the base of the lip. The genus is abbreviated Cym in horticultural trade.

This genus is distributed in tropical and subtropical Asia (such as northern India, China, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Borneo) and northern Australia. The larger flowered species from which the large flowered hybrids are derived, grow at high altitudes. Cymbidiums became popular in Europe during the Victorian era. One feature that makes the plant so popular is the fact that it can survive during cold temperatures (as low as 7˚C).

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Thursday, 23 June 2022

JONQUIL

Narcissus jonquilla (jonquil, rush daffodil) is a bulbous flowering plant, a species of Narcissus (daffodil) that is native to Spain and Portugal, but has now become naturalised in many other regions: France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, the former Yugoslavia, Madeira, British Columbia, Utah, Illinois, Ohio, and the southeastern United States from Texas to Maryland.

Narcissus jonquilla bears long, narrow, rush-like leaves (hence the name "jonquil", Spanish junquillo, from the Latin juncus = "rush"). In spring it bears heads of up to five scented yellow or white flowers. It is a parent of numerous varieties within Division 7 of the horticultural classification. Division 7 in the Royal Horticultural Society classification of Narcissus includes N. jonquilla and N. apodanthus hybrids and cultivars that show clear characteristics of those two species.

N. jonquilla has been cultivated since the 18th century in France as the strongest of the Narcissus species used in Narcissus Oil, a component of many modern perfumes. 

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme


Thursday, 16 June 2022

JAPONICA

Chaenomeles japonica is a species of Japanese Quince in the Rosaceae family. It is a thorny deciduous shrub that is commonly cultivated. It is shorter than another commonly cultivated species C. speciosa, growing to only about 1 m in height. The fruit is called Kusa-boke (草木瓜) in Japanese. Chaenomeles japonica is also popularly grown in bonsai. 

It is best known for its colourful spring flowers of red, white or pink. It produces apple-shaped fruit that are a golden-yellow colour containing red-brown seeds. The fruit is edible, but hard and astringent-tasting, unless bletted. The fruit is occasionally used in jelly and pie making as an inferior substitute for its cousin, the true quince, Cydonia oblonga.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Thursday, 9 June 2022

AZURE SAGE

Salvia azurea, the azure blue sage, azure sage, blue sage or prairie sage, is a herbaceous perennial in the genus Salvia, family Lamiaceae, that is native to Central and Eastern North America. Its thin, upright stems can grow to 1.8 m tall, with narrow, pointed, smooth-edged to serrated, furry to smooth green leaves, connected to their stems by petioles to 1.0 cm long. There are no basal leaves.

The blue (rarely white), flowers  nearly 6.4 to 12.7 mm long, appear summer to autumn near the ends of their branched or unbranched spikes; their calyxes are tubular or bell-shaped and furry. Two varieties are Salvia azurea var. azurea (azure sage) and Salvia azurea var. grandiflora (pitcher sage). It is found on the wild on roadsides, glades, fields and pastures.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Thursday, 2 June 2022

PETREA

Petrea is a genus of evergreen flowering vines native to Mexico and Central America. They have rough-textured leaves, hence the common name "sandpaper vine". It looks somewhat similar to a tropical Wisteria.

Shown here is Petrea volubilis. Carolus Linnaeus named Petrea in honour of Robert James Petre, 8th Baron Petre of Ingatestone Hall in Essex. Petre was a patron of botany.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Thursday, 12 May 2022

PATTERSON'S CURSE

Paterson's Curse (Echium plantagineum) is an invasive plant species in Australia. The name "Salvation Jane" originated from, and is mostly used in South Australia, due to its use as a source of food for grazing animals when the less drought tolerant grazing pastures die off. Other names are Blueweed, Lady Campbell Weed, Riverina Bluebell, and Purple Viper's Bugloss. Three other Echium species have been introduced and are of concern; Viper's Bugloss (Echium vulgare) is the most common of them. Viper's Bugloss is biennial, with a single unbranched flowering stem and smaller, more blue flowers, but is otherwise similar. This species is also useful for honey production.

Paterson's Curse has positive uses — it is the source for a particularly fine grade of honey. As a fodder plant, with proper handling, it can be valuable fodder over summer for cattle and sheep, but not livestock without ruminant digestive systems. In the 1880s it was introduced to Australia, probably both as an accidental contaminant of pasture seed and as an ornamental plant. It is said that both names for the plant derive from Jane Paterson or Patterson, an early settler of the country near Albury. She brought the first seeds from Europe to beautify a garden, and then could only watch helplessly as the weed infested previously productive pastures for many miles around.

Paterson's Curse is now a dominant broadleaf pasture weed through much of New South Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania and also infests native grasslands, heathlands and woodlands.

Echium plantagineum contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids and is poisonous. When eaten in large quantities, it causes reduced livestock weight or even (in severe cases) death. Paterson's Curse can kill horses and irritate the udders of dairy cows and the skin of humans. After the 2003 Canberra bushfires, there were over 40 recorded cases of horses being put down after eating the weed.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.





Thursday, 28 April 2022

CLEMATIS

Clematis is a genus of about 300 species within the buttercup family Ranunculaceae. Their garden hybrids have been popular among gardeners, beginning with Clematis × jackmanii, a garden standby since 1862; more hybrid cultivars are being produced constantly.

They are mainly of Chinese and Japanese origin. Most species are known as clematis in English, while some are also known as traveller's joy, a name invented for the sole British native, C. vitalba, by the herbalist John Gerard; virgin's bower for C. viticella; old man's beard, applied to several with prominent seedheads; and leather flower or vase vine for the North American Clematis viorna.

Illustrated here is the splendid hybrid Clematis 'Daniel Deronda'. Introduced in 1882, 'Daniel Deronda' still holds its own among modern varieties and has given the Royal Horticultural Society's prestigious Award of Garden Merit (AGM) in recognition of its outstanding excellence. It produces purple-blue flowers throughout the summer. These are semi-double early in the season and then single later on. The blooms are followed by eye-catching seed-heads which have a twist at the top.

To prune, remove any dead or weak stems in late winter or early spring and cut remaining stems back to the highest pair of strong-growing buds. To encourage blooms to cover the whole plant, train the stems so that they are evenly spaced on their support. As new growth appears in mid-spring, train this to fill any gaps. Plant in a sheltered position that is not north-facing.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme


Thursday, 7 April 2022

CHINESE LANTERN

Abutilon or 'Chinese lanterns' are closely related to hibiscus, and most of the hundred or so species have pendulous, hibiscus-like flowers. Cultivars produced by hybridising some of the South American abutilons have all been placed in one group known as Abutilon x hybridum, and these are the ones most commonly grown in Australian gardens.

They have a wispy, delicate form and colourful, lantern-shaped flowers. For gardeners who prefer plants with a more dense habit, new compact varieties are also available. Another popular abutilon is Abutilon megapotamicum, which is a prostrate or ground covering species with small orange flowers. Abutilon are evergreen shrubs with attractive maple-like leaves and an open, pendulous habit. They grow to about 2-3 metres tall.

Flowers in the Southern Hemisphere are produced in September to December, but they spot flower at other times. Flower colours include white, pink, red, yellow, orange and salmon. These plants grow well in most parts of Australia, except for the very cold mountain zones. In inland areas be sure to water well and keep protected with mulch. In hot inland climates abutilons appreciate some light shade.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Thursday, 31 March 2022

CHOCOLATE COSMOS

Cosmos atrosanguineus, the chocolate cosmos, is a species of Cosmos, native to Mexico, where it is extinct in the wild. The species was introduced into cultivation in 1902, where it survives as a single clone reproduced by vegetative propagation.

Cosmos atrosanguineus is a herbaceous perennial plant growing to 40–60 cm tall, with a fleshy tuberous root. The leaves are 7–15 cm long, pinnate, with leaflets 2–5 cm long. The flowers are produced in a capitulum 3-4.5 cm diameter, dark red to maroon-dark brown, with a ring of six to ten (usually eight) broad ray florets and a centre of disc florets typical of the Asteraceae family.

The flowers have a light vanillin fragrance (like many chocolates), which becomes more noticeable as the summer day wears on. The single surviving clone is a popular ornamental plant, grown for its rich dark red-brown flowers. It is not self-fertile, so no viable seeds are produced, and the plant has to be propagated by division of the tubers, or by tissue culture.

It requires partial sun or full sun, and flowers from mid- to late summer. It is frost-sensitive (Zones 6-11); in temperate zones, the tuber has to be dug up and stored in a frost-free store over the winter.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme



Thursday, 17 March 2022

EVERGREEN AZALEA

Rhododendron is a genus of 500 to 900 species in the Ericaceae family and includes both of what we commonly call rhododendrons and azaleas. Most are evergreen but some are deciduous. Genus name comes from the Greek words rhodon meaning rose and dendron meaning tree. Transferred from the Greek name for Nerium oleander.

They originate mostly from the Northern Hemisphere with high concentrations in western China, the Himalayas and Myanmar (Burma). They are grown for their showy spring flowers and in the case of evergreen types for their attractive winter foliage. True rhododendrons have 10 stamens in a flower and azaleas have only 5. Much hybridisation has resulted in a great number of hybrid cultivars. Of note to gardeners in cool temperate areas are the large and small leaved evergreen rhododendrons and the evergreen and deciduous azaleas.

Evergreen azaleas develop as multi-stemmed plants from the ground and usually grow 3-5 feet tall. They retain their leaves throughout the year and are not as winter hardy as the deciduous azaleas. In cold winters flower buds may be frozen resulting in reduced or no flowering and foliage may winter burn (turn brown and be killed). Colour range is mostly from white to pink, red, lavender and purple.

'Conlec', commonly sold under the trade name of AUTUMN ROYALTY, is an evergreen azalea (Encore Series) that features large single purplish-pink flowers. It typically matures over time in an upright, dense, rounded form to 1.5 m tall and to 1.2 m wide. Large, open funnel-shaped flowers (to 10 cm diameter) bloom singly in early midseason (late April-May). A lesser repeat bloom may occur in late summer to fall. Matte green leaves (to 16 cm long) are evergreen. Parents are R. 'Georgia Giant' x R. oldhamii 'Fourth of July.' U. S. Plant Patent PP10,580 was issued on September 1, 1998.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme



Thursday, 10 March 2022

SUNRING

SUNRING

When you walk on grassy field
Ope’ your eyes and keep them peeled,
For Sunring golden may you find.
Angels came from Heaven high
To walk on fields with joy, so spry,
Bringing joy and love, mankind!

O, Sunring gold; O, Sunring round
Mine is good luck, fortune, found!

NJV

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme


Thursday, 24 February 2022

WALLFLOWERS

Erysimum cheiri syn. Cheiranthus cheiri (common name "wallflower") is a species of flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae (Cruciferae), native to Europe but widespread as an introduced species elsewhere. It is also widely cultivated as a garden plant. This is a herbaceous perennial, often grown as a biennial, with one or more highly branching stems reaching heights of 15–80 cm. The leaves are generally narrow and pointed and may be up to 20 cm long.

The top of the stem is occupied by a club-shaped inflorescence of strongly scented flowers. Each flower has purplish-green sepals and rounded petals which are two to three cm long and in shades of bright yellows to reds and purples. The flowers fall away to leave long fruits which are narrow, hairy siliques several cm in length. This is a popular ornamental plant, widely cultivated for its abundant, fragrant flowers in spring.

Many cultivars have been developed, in shades of yellow, orange, red, maroon, purple, brown, white and cream. It associates well in bedding schemes with other spring flowers such as tulips and forget-me-nots. It is usually grown as a biennial, sown one year to flower the next, and then discarded. This is partly because of its tendency to grow spindly and leggy during its second year, but more importantly its susceptibility to infections such as clubroot.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.




Thursday, 10 February 2022

SUNFLOWERS

Helianthus or sunflowers (from the Greek: ήλιος, Hēlios, "sun" and ανθός, anthos, "flower") is a genus of plants comprising about 70 species in the family Asteraceae. The genus is one of many in the Asteraceae that are known as sunflowers. Except for three species in South America, all Helianthus species are native to North America. The common name, "sunflower", typically refers to the popular annual species 

Helianthus annuus, the common sunflower (shown here), whose round flower heads in combination with the ligules look like the sun. This and other species, notably Jerusalem artichoke (H. tuberosus), are cultivated in temperate regions as food crops and ornamental plants. The largest sunflower field is located in Tuscany, Italy. The domesticated sunflower, H. annuus, is the most familiar species.

Perennial sunflower species are not as popular for gardens due to their tendency to spread rapidly and become invasive. Whorled sunflowers, H. verticillatus, were listed as an endangered species in 2014 when the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service issued a final rule protecting it under the Endangered Species Act. The primary threats are industrial forestry and pine plantations in Alabama, Georgia, and Tennessee. They grow to 1.8 m and are primarily found in woodlands, adjacent to creeks and moist, prairie-like areas.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Thursday, 27 January 2022

XERANTHEMUM

Xeranthemum annuum (immortelle; everlasting) is an annual herb with an erect and branched stem, 20–50 cm high. The leaves are alternate, sessile, linear, densely white downy, the flower-heads are solitary, petal-like involucral bracts are spreading, pink, lilac, rarely white, tubular florets are purple. The fruit is an achene.

It is a native of Central, Southeastern and Eastern Europe, Caucasus and Western Asia (Iran, Lebanon, Syria). It grows on sunny slopes, in vineyards, on river and lake banks, from lowlands to foothills. Flowers from May to August. A very popular garden plant, may be used as a cut or dried flower.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme


Thursday, 20 January 2022

VERVAIN

Verbena rigida, known as slender vervain or tuberous vervain, is a flowering herbaceous perennial plant in the family Verbenaceae. It is native to Brazil and Argentina, and is not fully hardy in temperate climates, where consequently it is grown from seed as an annual. Growing to 60 centimetres, it has a spreading habit, with stalkless toothed leaves and bright purple or magenta, scented flowers in summer. Numerous cultivars have been selected for garden use. The species has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Thursday, 13 January 2022

HIBISCUS

A double, pink hibiscus hybrid in a neighbour's yard. I am not overly fond of the double forms, but this one was looking at its best and the day was a perfect Summer's day, so I relented and took the photo.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme