Thursday, 23 November 2017

GERANIUM CALLIOPE

The "Geranium Calliope" hybrids have topped the US Geranium sales charts for three years running and are fast becoming iconic in Australia. There are both "Big Red" and Big Pink" varieties. The name mirrors the blooms, as they are large and robust. The colour is saturated and has a big impact, and they can flower year round. The deep, glossy green leaves are semi trailing and prolific with a nice mounding habit. Grown in pots, hanging baskets, or garden beds they are a wonder.

These new type of Calliope Geraniums were developed by crossing the upright Zonal Geraniums with the trailing Ivy Geraniums giving you the best of both worlds. Almost 15 years in development they are well worth it. Spent flowers should be dead-headed to promote more blooms. After planting, water them in, but they become dry-tolerant as they establish. Put ‘Big’ Geraniums in a sunny spot, with at least four hours light a day. Here is the "Big Pink" form.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 21 November 2017

CHANIA, CRETE, GREECE

Chania is a city on the northwest coast of the Greek island of Crete. It is the second largest city of Crete and the capital of the Chania regional unit. It lies along the north coast of the island, about 70 km west of Rethymno and 145 km west of Heraklion. The official population of the municipal unit (the former municipality) is 53,910, while the municipality has 108,642 inhabitants (2011). This consists of the city of Chania and several other towns and villages.

It’s known for its 14th-century Venetian harbour, narrow streets and waterfront restaurants. At the harbour entrance is a 16th-century lighthouse with Venetian, Egyptian and Ottoman influences. Opposite, the Nautical Museum has model ships, naval objects and photographs. The former monastery of St. Francis houses the Archaeological Museum of Chania.

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, 20 November 2017

GIVE THANKS

Living in Australia where we celebrate no Thanksgiving holiday, I have had to educate myself regarding this North American tradition. My lessons in history had certainly made me aware of the reasons why this holiday was celebrated and its special significance to the US, especially.

We have forgotten to be grateful in our everyday lives and we don’t say “thank you” and really mean it, often enough. A family sitting around a table and enjoying a meal together, enjoying each other’s company and thanking God, providence, each other, and life, for all the benefits they enjoy on a daily basis is a wonderful thing.

I think more countries around the world should adopt such a day: A day that celebrates the harvest and other blessings of the past year in a family environment, where there is time to stop, reflect and be truly thankful for all the good things that we enjoy in our life often without a second thought. Thanksgiving is a great opportunity to exercise some gratitude and be truly thankful for what we have…

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

Sunday, 19 November 2017

UP TO THE MOON!

We often have balloons flying above our garden quite early on some mornings. A bonus when photographing the balloons aloft is a view of the crescent moon in the same frame... One of these days we'll take the plunge (or rather the rise?) and go on one of these contraptions! The views of the city below are quite stunning I'm told.

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.

Saturday, 18 November 2017

RELIC

After we are long gone, green will prevail...

This post is part of the Weekend Green meme

Thursday, 16 November 2017

FEIJOA FLOWERS

Acca sellowiana, a species of flowering plant in the myrtle family, Myrtaceae, is native to the highlands of southern Brazil, eastern Paraguay, Uruguay, and northern Argentina, and Colombia. It is widely cultivated as a garden plant and fruiting tree in New Zealand, and can be found as a garden plant elsewhere such as in Australia, Azerbaijan, West part of Georgia, South part of Russia and South Africa. Common names include feijoa, pineapple guava and guavasteen.

It is an evergreen, perennial shrub or small tree, 1–7 metres in height, widely cultivated as a garden plant and fruiting tree. The German botanist Otto Karl Berg named feijoa after João da Silva Feijó, a Portuguese botanist born in the colony of Brazil. The flower petals are edible, with a flavour that is slightly sweet with hints of cinnamon. The most common use is as an addition to salads. They regularly are consumed by birds.

The fruit, maturing in autumn, is green, ellipsoid, and about the size of a chicken egg. It has a sweet, aromatic flavour. The flesh is juicy and is divided into a clear gelatinous seed pulp and a firmer, slightly granular, opaque flesh nearer the skin. The fruit falls to the ground when ripe and at its fullest flavour, but it may be picked from the tree prior to falling to prevent bruising.The fruit pulp resembles the closely related guava, having a gritty texture. The feijoa pulp is used in some natural cosmetic products as an exfoliant. Feijoa fruit has a distinctive, potent smell that resembles oil of wintergreen. The aroma is due to the ester methyl benzoate and related compounds that exist in the fruit.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.



Tuesday, 14 November 2017

SANTORINI SUNSET

Santorini (Greek: Σαντορίνη), classically Thera (Greek: Θήρα); is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km southeast of Greece's mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera. It forms the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands, with an area of approximately 73 km2 and a 2011 census population of 15,550. The municipality of Santorini comprises the inhabited islands of Santorini and Therasia and the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi, and Christiana. The total land area is 90.623 km2. Santorini is part of the Thira regional unit.

Santorini is essentially what remained after an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island, and created the current geological caldera. A giant central, rectangular lagoon, which measures about 12 by 7 km, is surrounded by 300 m high, steep cliffs on three sides. The main island slopes downward to the Aegean Sea. On the fourth side, the lagoon is separated from the sea by another much smaller island called Therasia; the lagoon is connected to the sea in two places, in the northwest and southwest. The depth of the caldera, at 400m, makes it possible for all but the largest ships to anchor anywhere in the protected bay; there is also a newly built marina at Vlychada, on the southwestern coast. The island's principal port is Athinias.

The capital, Fira, clings to the top of the cliff looking down on the lagoon. The expansion of tourism has resulted in the growth of the economy and population. The major settlements include Fira (Phira), Oia, Emporio, Kamari, Perissa, Imerovigli, Pyrgos, and Therasia. Akrotiri is a major archaeological site, with ruins from the Minoan era. Santorini's primary industry is tourism, particularly in the summer months. Santorini was ranked world's top island for many other magazines and travel sites, including the Travel+Leisure Magazine, the BBC, as well as the US News.

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.
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.

Monday, 13 November 2017

SEAFARERS BRIDGE, MELBOURNE

South Wharf’s striking pedestrian "Seafarers' Bridge" is fittingly named to reflect Melbourne’s rich maritime history. Officially named in late-2009, the bridge is popular with walkers and bike riders accessing Melbourne’s world-class Convention Centre and travelling to and from Docklands.The name was selected following a call for submissions from the community. More than 500 submissions were received.

The name draws on the rich maritime history of the area and is a fitting connection to the nearby "Mission to Seafarers" centre located at the bridge’s northern landing.The Mission to Seafarers is an international organisation which cares for the practical and spiritual welfare of seafarers of all nationalities and faiths.The Melbourne Mission, created in 1905, is a volunteer-managed facility providing a home away from home for approximately 12,000 seafarers visiting the Port of Melbourne annually.This bridge forms a vital connection between the city’s waterfront and the river-front.

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

Sunday, 12 November 2017

Saturday, 11 November 2017

CRESTED PIGEONS

The crested pigeon (Ocyphaps lophotes) is a bird found widely throughout mainland Australia except for the far northern tropical areas. It is the only member of the genus Ocyphaps. Only two Australian pigeon species possess an erect crest, the crested pigeon and the spinifex pigeon. The crested pigeon is the larger of the two species. The crested pigeon is sometimes incorrectly referred to as a topknot pigeon, but the topknot pigeon, Lopholaimus antarcticus has a red-brown crest that does not stand erect.

The length of the crested pigeon varies from 30 to 34 cm. Colouration is grey with tinges of brown and green. It has a feathered but slender, black spike on top of the head. It runs with the crest erect. The periorbital skin is bright orange. Wings have black stripes and are bronzed, while the primary feathers have colourful areas of brown, purple, blue, and green. Immature birds have duller colours with no bronzing on the wings. If startled, the crested pigeon takes to the air with a distinctive whistling 'call', the source of the noise can be attributed to the way the air rushes over a modified primary feather found on the wings

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the I'd Rather Be Birdin' meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.




Friday, 10 November 2017

SOUTHERN CROSS

Crux is a constellation located in the southern sky in a bright portion of the Milky Way. It is among the most easily distinguished constellations, as all of its four main stars have an apparent visual magnitude above +2.8, even though it is the smallest of all 88 modern constellations.

Its name is Latin for 'cross', and it is dominated by a cross-shaped or kite-like asterism that is sometimes known as the Southern Cross. Predominating is the first-magnitude blue-white star of Alpha Crucis or Acrux, being the constellation's brightest and most southerly member. Crux is followed by four dominate stars, descending in clockwise order by magnitude: Beta, Gamma (one of the closest red giants to Earth), Delta and Epsilon Crucis.

Many of these brighter stars are members of the Scorpius–Centaurus Association, a large but loose group of hot blue-white stars that appear to share common origins and motion across the southern Milky Way. The constellation contains four Cepheid variables that are each visible to the naked eye under optimum conditions. Crux also contains the bright and colourful open cluster known as the Jewel Box (NGC 4755) and, to the southwest, partly includes the extensive dark nebula, known as the Coalsack Nebula.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Friday Photo Journal meme.



Thursday, 9 November 2017

PERSIAN LILAC TREE

Meliaceae, the mahogany family of flowering plants, of the order Sapindales, comprises 51 genera and about 575 species of trees and (rarely) shrubs, native to tropical and subtropical regions. Most members of the family have large compound leaves, with the leaflets arranged in the form of a feather, and branched flower clusters. The fruit is fleshy and coloured or a leathery capsule.

The China tree (Melia azedarach), also called chinaberry, bead tree, and Persian lilac, is an ornamental deciduous Asian tree with round yellow fruits, often cultivated in many tropical and warm temperate areas. The adult tree has a rounded crown, and commonly measures attains a height of 7-12 metres, however in exceptional circumstances M. azedarach can attain a height of 45 metres.

The flowers are small and highly fragrant, with five pale purple or lilac petals, growing in clusters. The fruit is a drupe, marble-sized, light yellow at maturity, hanging on the tree all winter, and gradually becoming wrinkled and almost white. The leaves are up to 50 cm long, alternate, long-petioled, 2 or 3 times compound (odd-pinnate); the leaflets are dark green above and lighter green below, with serrate margins.

It is a common ornamental street tree in Melbourne, but it must noted that fruits are poisonous to humans if eaten in quantity. However, like those of the Yew tree, these toxins are not harmful to birds, who gorge themselves on the fruit, eventually reaching a "drunken" state. Leaves have been used as a natural insecticide to keep with stored food, but must not be eaten as they are highly poisonous to humans. Today it is considered an invasive species as its seeds sprout easily and are transported by birds far and wide.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.




Wednesday, 8 November 2017

RAVENNA, ITALY

Ravenna is the capital city of the Province of Ravenna, in the Emilia-Romagna region of Northern Italy. It was the capital city of the Western Roman Empire from 402 until that empire collapsed in 476. It then served as the capital of the Ostrogothic Kingdom until it was re-conquered in 540 by the Eastern Roman (Byzantine) Empire. Afterwards, the city formed the centre of the Byzantine Exarchate of Ravenna until the invasion of the Lombards in 751, after which it became the seat of the Kingdom of the Lombards. Although an inland city, Ravenna is connected to the Adriatic Sea by the Candiano Canal. It is known for its well-preserved late Roman and Byzantine architecture, and has eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

The Basilica of San Vitale is a church in Ravenna, Italy, and one of the most important examples of early Christian Byzantine art and architecture in Europe. The Roman Catholic Church has designated the building a "basilica", the honorific title bestowed on church buildings of exceptional historic and ecclesiastical importance, although of course it is not of architectural basilica form. It is one of eight Ravenna structures inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Its exquisite mosaics, including the portrait groups of Emperor Justinian and Empress Theodora with their retinues are world-renowned.

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,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme.








Tuesday, 7 November 2017

COPENHAGEN, DENMARK

Copenhagen (Danish: København; Latin: Hafnia) is the capital and most populous city of Denmark. The city has a population of 763,908 (as of December 2016), of whom 601,448 live in the Municipality of Copenhagen. The larger urban area has a population of approximately 1.3 million (as of 1 January 2016), while the Copenhagen metropolitan area has just over 2 million inhabitants.

Copenhagen is situated on the eastern coast of the island of Zealand; another small portion of the city is located on Amager, and is separated from Malmö, Sweden, by the strait of Øresund. The Øresund Bridge connects the two cities by rail and road. Originally a Viking fishing village founded in the 10th century, Copenhagen became the capital of Denmark in the early 15th century. Beginning in the 17th century it consolidated its position as a regional centre of power with its institutions, defences and armed forces.

After suffering from the effects of plague and fire in the 18th century, the city underwent a period of redevelopment. This included construction of the prestigious district of Frederiksstaden and founding of such cultural institutions as the Royal Theatre and the Royal Academy of Fine Arts. After further disasters in the early 19th century when Nelson attacked the Dano-Norwegian fleet and bombarded the city, rebuilding during the Danish Golden Age brought a Neoclassical look to Copenhagen's architecture.

Later, following the Second World War, the Finger Plan fostered the development of housing and businesses along the five urban railway routes stretching out from the city centre. Since the turn of the 21st century, Copenhagen has seen strong urban and cultural development, facilitated by investment in its institutions and infrastructure. The city is the cultural, economic and governmental centre of Denmark; it is one of the major financial centres of Northern Europe with the Copenhagen Stock Exchange. Copenhagen's economy has seen rapid developments in the service sector, especially through initiatives in information technology, pharmaceuticals and clean technology.

Since the completion of the Øresund Bridge, Copenhagen has become increasingly integrated with the Swedish province of Scania and its largest city, Malmö, forming the Øresund Region. With a number of bridges connecting the various districts, the cityscape is characterised by parks, promenades and waterfronts. Copenhagen's landmarks such as Tivoli Gardens, The Little Mermaid statue, the Amalienborg and Christiansborg palaces, Rosenborg Castle Gardens, Frederik's Church, and many museums, restaurants and nightclubs are significant tourist attractions.

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 November 2017

Sunday, 5 November 2017

RED, RED ROSE

A Red, Red Rose

My love is like a red, red rose
   That’s newly sprung in June :
My love is like the melody
   That’s sweetly played in tune.
 
As fair art thou, my bonnie lass,
   So deep in love am I :
And I will love thee still, my dear,
   Till a’ the seas gang dry.
 
Till a’ the seas gang dry, my dear,
   And the rocks melt wi’ the sun :
And I will love thee still, my dear,
   While the sands o’ life shall run.
 
And fare thee well, my only love,
   And fare thee well a while !
And I will come again, my love,
   Thou’ it were ten thousand mile.

Robert Burns

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.

Saturday, 4 November 2017

KOOKABURRAS

Kookaburras are terrestrial tree kingfishers of the genus Dacelo native to Australia and New Guinea, which grow to between 28–42 cm in length. The name is a loanword from Wiradjuri guuguubarra, onomatopoeic of its call. The loud distinctive call of the Laughing Kookaburra is widely used as a stock sound effect in situations that involve a jungle setting. They are found in habitats ranging from humid forest to arid savanna, as well as in suburban areas with tall trees or near running water.

Even though they belong to the larger group known as "kingfishers", kookaburras are not closely associated with water. This laughing kookaburra (Dacelo novaeguineae) is a large robust bird occupying dry eucalypt forest, woodland, city parks and gardens.

This post is part of the and also part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme,
and also part of the I'd Rather Be Birdin' meme.




Thursday, 2 November 2017

OSTEOSPERMUM 'WHIRLIGIG"

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.

An amazing variety of cultivars have been developed, in a stunning variety of colours. The "Whirligig" hybrids shown above have added more diversity in this versatile and prolific garden bloomer.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 31 October 2017

HAMPTON COURT PALACE

Hampton Court Palace is a royal palace in the borough of Richmond upon Thames, London, England, 11.7 miles (18.8 kilometres) south west and upstream of central London on the River Thames. Building of the palace began in 1515 for Cardinal Thomas Wolsey, a favourite of King Henry VIII. In 1529, as Wolsey fell from favour, the King seized the palace for himself and later enlarged it. Along with St James's Palace, it is one of only two surviving palaces out of the many owned by King Henry VIII.

In the following century, King William III's massive rebuilding and expansion project, which destroyed much of the Tudor palace, was intended to rival Versailles. Work ceased in 1694, leaving the palace in two distinct contrasting architectural styles, domestic Tudor and Baroque. While the palace's styles are an accident of fate, a unity exists due to the use of pink bricks and a symmetrical, if vague, balancing of successive low wings. King George II was the last monarch to reside in the palace.

Today, the palace is open to the public and is a major tourist attraction, easily reached by train from Waterloo station in central London and served by Hampton Court railway station in East Molesey, in Transport for London's Zone 6. In addition, London Buses routes 111, 216, 411 and R68 stop outside the palace gates. The structure and grounds are cared for by an independent charity, Historic Royal Palaces, which receives no funding from the Government or the Crown.

In addition the palace continues to display a large number of works of art from the Royal Collection. Apart from the Palace itself and its gardens, other points of interest for visitors include the celebrated maze, the historic real tennis court (see below), and the huge grape vine, the largest in the world as of 2005. The palace's Home Park is the site of the annual Hampton Court Palace Festival and Hampton Court Palace Flower Show.

It’s said that when Catherine Howard (c. 1523 – 13 February 1542 and Queen of England from 1540 until 1541, as the fifth wife of Henry VIII) was arrested at Hampton Court Palace, she broke free from the guards and ran to the doors of the Chapel Royal, where she believed Henry was at prayer. She screamed to the King for mercy, to no avail. Today the story goes that her famous ghost can still be seen running along what is now known as the 'Haunted Gallery' at the palace. Some visitors have reported feeling a chill, or 'strange sensations' when passing along the corridor!

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


Friday, 27 October 2017

DUSK

Evening falls in Melbourne and there is a slight chill in the air, Spring is still holding its ground and Summer a good month away...

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Friday Photo Journal meme.