Wednesday, 21 February 2018

GERANIUM

We know them as simply 'geraniums'. They are one of the most popular container plants, yet they are not really geraniums at all. Botanically they are Pelargonium. There are true geraniums, the perennial cranesbills, but they look little like the annual plants we commonly call 'geraniums'.

The confusion with the names can be traced back to disagreements between botanists over classification and is of little importance to most gardeners, except for the distinction that perennial cranesbill geraniums will come back each year and zonal geraniums, those now classified as Pelargonium, are topical perennials usually grown as annuals in colder climates. They got the prefix "zonal" because of the markings on their leaves.

Zonal geraniums were discovered in South Africa and if you have a similar, subtropical climate, you can grow them as perennials. This coral pink zonal geranium is Pelargonium x hortorum. Zonal geraniums are bushy plants, mainly used for containers and bedding. There has been considerable breeding done, particularly for size and abundance and colours of flowers, so there is a good deal of variety. Zonal geraniums start blooming in mid-spring and will repeat bloom until frost. Deadheading the entire flower stalk after the flower fades will encourage more blooms.

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


Tuesday, 20 February 2018

SALAMANCA, SPAIN

Salamanca is a city in northwestern Spain that is the capital of the Province of Salamanca in the community of Castile and León. The city lies on several hills by the Tormes River. Its Old City was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1988. With a metropolitan population of 228,881 in 2012 according to the National Institute of Statistics (INE), Salamanca is the second most populated urban area in Castile and León, after Valladolid (414,000), and ahead of León (187,000) and Burgos (176,000).

It is one of the most important university cities in Spain and supplies 16% of Spain's market for the teaching of the Spanish language. Salamanca attracts thousands of international students. It is situated approximately 200 kilometres west of the Spanish capital Madrid and 80 km east of the Portuguese border.

The University of Salamanca, which was founded in 1218, is the oldest university in Spain and the fourth oldest western university, but the first to be given its status by the Pope Alexander IV who gave universal validity to its degrees. With its 30,000 students, the university is, together with tourism, a primary source of income in Salamanca. It is on the Via de la Plata path of the Camino de Santiago.

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 February 2018

MELBOURNE CEMETERY

The Melbourne General Cemetery is a large necropolis located 2 km north of the city of Melbourne in the suburb of Carlton North. The cemetery was opened on 1 June 1853, and the Old Melbourne Cemetery (on the site of what is now the Queen Victoria Market) was closed the next year. The Melbourne Cemetery has much history and home to more than half a million stories. This cemetery is full of fiery preachers, con men, courageous women, scandals, disasters and joyous occasions. Musicians, actors, scientists and ordinary people who have helped make Melbourne the metropolis it is now.

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, 17 February 2018

WILLIE WAGTAIL

The willie wagtail (Rhipidura leucophrys) is a passerine bird native to Australia, New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, the Bismarck Archipelago, and Eastern Indonesia. It is a common and familiar bird throughout much of its range, living in most habitats apart from thick forest. Measuring 19–21.5 cm in length, the willie wagtail is contrastingly coloured with almost entirely black upperparts and white underparts; the male and female have similar plumage.

Three subspecies are recognised; Rhipidura leucophrys leucophrys from central and southern Australia, the smaller R. l. picata from northern Australia, and the larger R. l. melaleuca from New Guinea and islands in its vicinity. It is unrelated to the true wagtails of the genus Motacilla; it is a member of the fantail genus Rhipidura and is a part of a "core corvine" group that includes true crows and ravens, drongos and birds of paradise. Within this group, fantails are placed in the family Dicruridae, although some authorities consider them distinct enough to warrant their own small family, Rhipiduridae.

The willie wagtail is insectivorous and spends much time chasing prey in open habitat. Its common name is derived from its habit of wagging its tail horizontally when foraging on the ground. Aggressive and territorial, the willie wagtail will often harass much larger birds such as the laughing kookaburra and wedge-tailed eagle. It has responded well to human alteration of the landscape and is a common sight in urban lawns, parks, and gardens. It was widely featured in Aboriginal folklore around the country as either a bringer of bad news or a stealer of secrets.

This post is 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, 15 February 2018

URN PLANT

Aechmea fasciata (silver vase, urn plant) is a species of flowering plant in the bromeliad family, native to Brazil. This plant is probably the best known species in this genus, and it is often grown as a houseplant in temperate areas. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

The plant grows slowly, reaching 30–90 cm in height, with a spread of up to 60 cm. It has elliptic–oval-shaped leaves 45–90 cm long and arranged in a basal rosette pattern. A. fasciata requires partial shade and a well-drained, but moisture-retentive soil. It can also be grown epiphytically, as, for example, with moss around its roots and wired to rough bark. Root rot can be a problem if the soil is too moist. Scale insects and mosquitos will sometimes breed in the pools of water that are trapped between the leaves.

A. fasciata is listed in the FDA Poisonous Plant Database under the section for "Skin irritating substances in plants" and is known to cause contact dermatitis, phytophotodermatitis, and contact allergy.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 14 February 2018

FUCHSIA

Fuchsia is a genus of flowering plants that consists mostly of shrubs or small trees. The first, Fuchsia triphylla, was discovered on the Caribbean island of Hispaniola (present day Dominican Republic and Haiti) in about 1696–1697 by the French Minim monk and botanist, Charles Plumier during his third expedition to the Greater Antilles. He named the new genus after the renowned German botanist Leonhart Fuchs (1501–1566).

There are currently almost 110 recognised species of Fuchsia. The vast majority are native to South America, but with a few occurring north through Central America to Mexico, and also several from New Zealand to Tahiti. One species, F. magellanica, extends as far as the southern tip of South America, occurring on Tierra del Fuego in the cool temperate zone, but the majority are tropical or subtropical. Most fuchsias are shrubs from 0.2–4 m tall, but one New Zealand species, the kōtukutuku (F. excorticata), is unusual in the genus in being a tree, growing up to 12–15 metres tall.

The cultivar shown here, 'Blue Eyes' was hybridised by Reedstorm and its year of registration was 1954.

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

Tuesday, 13 February 2018

PAU, FRANCE

Pau is a commune on the northern edge of the Pyrenees, and capital of the Pyrénées-Atlantiques Département in the region of Nouvelle-Aquitaine, France. The city is located in the heart of the former sovereign Principality of Béarn, of which it was the capital from 1464. Bordered by the Gave de Pau, the city is located 100 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean and 50 kilometres from Spain. This position gives it an exceptional panorama across the mountain range of the Pyrenees as well as on the hillsides of Jurançon.

Archaeology has asserted that the site has been occupied at least since the Gallo-Roman era. Nevertheless, it wasn't until the first half of the 12th century that the first mentions of Pau as a settlement are found. The town originated from the construction of its castle, likely from the 11th century by the Viscounts of Béarn, to protect the ford which was a strategic point for access to the Bearn valleys and then to Spain. The city thus took its name from the stockade (pau in Bearnese) which set the boundaries of the primitive castle. The village which was built around the castle took advantage of its strategic position as well as the protection of the Viscounts of Béarn to widely develop over the following centuries. Pau became the capital of Béarn in 1464, thus becoming the political, cultural and economic centre of this small State which continued to defend its independence from the neighbouring French, English and Spanish peoples.

The town and its castle took on a new dimension by becoming the seat of the Kings of Navarre, at the capture of Pamplona, by the Kingdom of Castile in 1512. Pau became a leading political and intellectual centre under the reign of Henry d'Albret and his wife Marguerite. The history of Pau is marked by the birth of Henry of Bourbon 13 December 1553 in the castle of his grandparents. He gained access to the throne of France in 1589 under the title of Henry IV. The image of the city is since widely associated with that of this monarch made famous for his willingness to put an end to the seemingly endless Wars of Religion. With the end of Béarnaise independence in 1620, Pau lost its influence but remained the same at the head of a largely autonomous province. It was home to the Parliament of Navarre and Béarn which wrote its texts in Occitan until the Revolution and its dismantling to create the Department of Basses-Pyrénées (becoming Pyrénées-Atlantiques in 1969).

The Belle Époque marked a resurgence for the Béarnaise capital with a massive influx of wealthy foreign tourists (including English but also Russian, Spanish and American), they came to spend the winter to take advantage of the benefits of Pau's climate described by the Scottish physician Alexander Taylor. Pau turned widely with the construction of many villas and mansions to accommodate these wintering rich people, the city also developed all elements of modernity for their comfort: Baths, funicular and railway station. It was at this time that Pau became one of the world capitals of the nascent aerospace industry under the influence of the Wright brothers, crowned heads then pressed there to observe the flight of the first flying school in the world.

With the decline of tourism during the 20th century, the Pau economy (and its suburbs) gradually shifted towards the aviation industry and then to that of petrochemicals with the major discovery of the Lacq gas field in 1951. Pau today is a city of about 80,000 inhabitants, the main urban area of Pau and of the Communauté d'agglomération Pau Béarn Pyrénées with 30 neighbouring communes which carry out local tasks together. The Université de Pau et des Pays de l'Adour, founded in 1972, accounts for a large student population. The city plays a leading role for Béarn but also for a wide segment of the Adour area. An administrative capital, it boasts a dense economic fabric including service activities.[note 4] Pau also plays the role of cultural capital with many events, including sports. Pau's heritage extends over several centuries, its diversity and its quality allowed it to obtain the label of City of Art and History in 2011.

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

Monday, 12 February 2018

CITY LIFE

Melbourne's population is presently estimated to be 4.88 million people. The population density of Melbourne is 440 people per square kilometre. Melbourne is booming as far as population is concerned. The population is totally expanding at a quick speed. It has been said that the city grew by 1800 individuals for every 7 days. Melbourne is hustling at a quicker rate to rival Sydney as the nation’s biggest city. The city had the biggest population growth contrasted with all the capital urban cities in the nation.

The population of Victoria is expected to hit 10 million people by the 2050s and Melbourne's population will double by 2031, new figures indicate. Population growth will continue to be strong, according to new figures from the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, and the capital will need another 2 million homes to accommodate the growth. The rising trends in births, life expectancy and migration are said to account for the strong population growth.

As the building boom continues and infrastructure lags behind the unchecked growth, our city is becoming overcrowded, noisier, more polluted, more congested and more unsafe (the number of criminal offences recorded in Victoria went up by more than 50,000 last year — an 8 per cent rise in the per-capita crime rate)...

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.