Sunday, 17 December 2017

FIRST SNOW

First snow dusts the spent landscape and masks the ravages of Winter under a blanket of white...
The bare trees resist as the snowflakes fall and are blown by the wind, but soon their branches too will wear a white overcoat.

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, 16 December 2017

GINGER TOM

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.


Thursday, 14 December 2017

HYDRANGEA 'FOREVER'

Hydrangea macrophylla 'Forever' (Youme) has lovely double lacecap flowers in colours of either delicate pale pink or blue (depending on soil). Grows very well in a pot or tub – this enables you to control the ph of the soil and maintain the beautiful colours.

This compact hydrangea has a strong rooting system and sturdy stems. Because of this, the abundantly blooming flower heads stand up straight.It is a Winter hardy hydrangea down to -22° Celsius. Plant in moist, well-drained soil in (full) sun or partial shade. Prune in spring and you’ll see its wonderful flowers appear once again. The plants grow to 120 cm high and 80 cm wide. A perfect size for planting in a container on your terrace or balcony. This hydrangea is also very suitable for shrub borders, mass planting or combined with other plants.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 13 December 2017

WINDSOR CASTLE, UK

Windsor Castle is a royal residence at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. It is notable for its long association with the English and later British royal family and for its architecture. The original castle was built in the 11th century after the Norman invasion of England by William the Conqueror. Since the time of Henry I, it has been used by the reigning monarch and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. The castle's lavish early 19th-century State Apartments were described by the art historian Hugh Roberts as "a superb and unrivalled sequence of rooms widely regarded as the finest and most complete expression of later Georgian taste".

Inside the castle walls is the 15th-century St George's Chapel, considered by the historian John Martin Robinson to be "one of the supreme achievements of English Perpendicular Gothic" design. Originally designed to protect Norman dominance around the outskirts of London and oversee a strategically important part of the River Thames, Windsor Castle was built as a motte-and-bailey, with three wards surrounding a central mound. Gradually replaced with stone fortifications, the castle withstood a prolonged siege during the First Barons' War at the start of the 13th century.

Henry III built a luxurious royal palace within the castle during the middle of the century, and Edward III went further, rebuilding the palace to make an even grander set of buildings in what would become "the most expensive secular building project of the entire Middle Ages in England". Edward's core design lasted through the Tudor period, during which Henry VIII and Elizabeth I made increasing use of the castle as a royal court and centre for diplomatic entertainment.Windsor Castle survived the tumultuous period of the English Civil War, when it was used as a military headquarters by Parliamentary forces and a prison for Charles I. At the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660, Charles II rebuilt much of Windsor Castle with the help of the architect Hugh May, creating a set of extravagant Baroque interiors that are still admired.

After a period of neglect during the 18th century, George III and George IV renovated and rebuilt Charles II's palace at colossal expense, producing the current design of the State Apartments, full of Rococo, Gothic and Baroque furnishings. Queen Victoria made a few minor changes to the castle, which became the centre for royal entertainment for much of her reign. Windsor Castle was used as a refuge by the royal family during the Luftwaffe bombing campaigns of the Second World War and survived a fire in 1992. It is a popular tourist attraction, a venue for hosting state visits, and the preferred weekend home of Elizabeth II.

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

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

PERTH, WESTERN AUSTRALIA

Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia (WA). It is the fourth most populous city in Australia, with an estimated population of 1.97 million (on 30 June 2013) living in Greater Perth. Part of the South West Land Division of Western Australia, the majority of the metropolitan area of Perth is located on the Swan Coastal Plain, a narrow strip between the Indian Ocean and the Darling Scarp, a low coastal escarpment.

The first areas settled were on the Swan River, with the city's central business district and port (Fremantle) both located on its shores. Perth is formally divided into a number of local government areas, which themselves consist of a large number of suburbs, extending from Two Rocks in the north to Rockingham in the south, and east inland to The Lakes.

Perth was originally founded by Captain James Stirling in 1829 as the administrative centre of the Swan River Colony, and gained city status in 1856 (currently vested in the smaller City of Perth). The city is named for Perth, Scotland, by influence of Sir George Murray, then British Secretary of State for War and the Colonies. The city's population increased substantially as a result of the Western Australian gold rushes in the late 19th century, largely as a result of emigration from the eastern colonies of Australia.

During Australia's involvement in World War II, Fremantle served as a base for submarines operating in the Pacific Theatre, and a US Navy Catalina flying boat fleet was based at Matilda Bay. An influx of immigrants after the war, predominantly from Britain, Greece, Italy and Yugoslavia, led to rapid population growth. This was followed by a surge in economic activity flowing from several mining booms in the late 20th and early 21st centuries that saw Perth become the regional headquarters for a number of large mining operations located around the state.

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, 10 December 2017

THE PRICE OF BETRAYAL

"14 Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went unto the chief priests, 15 And said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you? And they covenanted with him for thirty pieces of silver. 16 And from that time he sought opportunity to betray him."
Matthew 26:14-16 KJV
This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

SUMMER DAISIES

Our weather continues to be fickle and changeable, with quite a bit of rain. Whenever the sun beams down, one must take the opportunity of getting out and enjoying it.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

VIPER

Vipera berus, the common European viper or common European adder, is a venomous snake that is extremely widespread and can be found throughout most of Western Europe and as far as East Asia. Known by a host of common names including common adder and common viper, adders have been the subject of much folklore in Britain and other European countries. They are not regarded as especially dangerous; the snake is not aggressive and usually bites only when alarmed or disturbed. Bites can be very painful, but are seldom fatal.

The specific name, berus, is New Latin and was at one time used to refer to a snake, possibly the grass snake, Natrix natrix. The common adder is found in different terrains, habitat complexity being essential for different aspects of its behaviour. It feeds on small mammals, birds, lizards, and amphibians, and in some cases on spiders, worms, and insects.

The common viper, like most other vipers, is ovoviviparous. Females breed once every two or three years, with litters usually being born in late summer to early autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. Litters range in size from three to 20 with young staying with their mothers for a few days. Adults grow to a total length (including tail) of 60 to 90 cm and a mass of 50 to 180 g. Three subspecies are recognised, and the snake is not considered to be threatened, though it is protected in some countries.

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

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

ATHENS, 1st CEMETERY

The First Cemetery of Athens (Greek: Πρώτο Νεκροταφείο Αθηνών) is the official cemetery of the City of Athens and the first to be built. It opened in 1837 and soon became a luxurious cemetery for famous Greek people and foreigners. The cemetery is located behind the Temple of Olympian Zeus and the Panathinaiko Stadium in central Athens. It can be found at the top end of Anapafseos Street (Eternal Rest Street).

It comprises a large green, park-like space and is planted with pines and cypresses, traditional cemetery trees. In the cemetery there are three churches. The main is the Church of Saint Theodore and there is also a smaller one of Saint Lazarus. The third church is a Catholic church. There are separate burial areas for Protestants and for Jews. The cemetery includes the tomb of Heinrich Schliemann (archaeologist), designed by Ernst Ziller, the tomb of Ioannis Pesmazoglou (banker, economist and politician), that of Georgios Averoff, and the tomb of Sophia Afendaki, named I Kimomeni (the Sleeping Girl), with a famous sculpture by the sculptor Yannoulis Chalepas. The cemetery is under the jurisdiction of the Municipality of Athens and is declared a historical monument.

Other famous people's graves in the cemetery include: Theodoros Kolokotronis, general, politician; Richard Church, general; Kostis Palamas, poet; Angelos Sikelianos, poet; Odysseas Elytis, poet; Giorgos Seferis, poet; Andreas Papandreou, Prime Minister of Greece; Dimitris Mitropoulos, conductor, pianist, composer; Ernst Ziller, architect; Melina Mercouri, actress and politician. Walking through the cemetery is like turning the pages of a history book of the recent (19-20th century) history of Greece.

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, 4 December 2017

Thursday, 30 November 2017

ROCK ISOTOME

Isotoma axillaris, commonly known as rock isotome or showy isotome, is a small herbaceous perennial in the family Campanulaceae. It grows to 50 cm high and has divided leaves. The blue to mauve star-shaped flowers appear between September and May in the species native range. It occurs in Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria, often on rocky outcrops. The species was first formally described by botanist John Lindley in 1826 in Edward's Botanical Register

Isotoma axillaris can be easily propagated from seed. Seed can be scattered directly in late winter, when there is no more danger of frost, or planted into pots and then transplanting in spring. Plants will require regular watering until established, and then only need watering about once a week, perhaps more in the heat.

Propagation from firm cuttings is also possible, but it is recommended that gloves be worn to avoid reactions to the sap. These warnings about the sap should not deter gardeners from planting these species as long as appropriate precautions are taken, as they give lasting flower displays in return for very little work. Also, the sap seems to be equally distasteful to potential herbivores. The plantings in the Australian National Botanic Gardens show no evidence of herbivory by either marsupials or insects.

This species can flower as early as September, right through to May and the flowers have a slight fragrance. The foliage will then die off and should be cut back to encourage fresh new growth. They are somewhat frost sensitive, but can be treated as annuals in cold climates. Although not essential, liquid fertiliser can be applied to encourage more abundant flowering.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.



Wednesday, 29 November 2017

UMBEL

umbel |ˈʌmb(ə)l| noun (Botany)
A flower cluster in which stalks of nearly equal length spring from a common centre and form a flat or curved surface, characteristic of the parsley family (Apiaceae).

Here is an umbel flower cluster of poison hemlock (Conium maculatum), a highly poisonous biennial herbaceous flowering plant in the carrot family Apiaceae, native to Europe and North Africa. A hardy plant capable of living in a variety of environments, hemlock is widely naturalised in locations outside its native range. Here it is growing in parklands in Melbourne, Australia.

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


Tuesday, 28 November 2017

AEGINA, GREECE

Aegina is one of the Saronic Islands of Greece in the Saronic Gulf, 27 km from Athens. Tradition derives the name from Aegina, the mother of Aeacus, who was born on and ruled the island. During ancient times, Aegina was a rival to Athens, the great sea power of the era. The capital is the town of Aegina (population ≈8,000), situated at the northwestern end of the island. Due to its proximity to Athens, it is a popular quick getaway during the summer months, with quite a few Athenians owning second houses on the island.

An extinct volcano constitutes two thirds of the roughly triangular island of Aegina. The northern and western side consist of stony but fertile plains, which are well cultivated and produce luxuriant crops of grain, with some cotton, vines, almonds, olives and figs, but the most characteristic crop of Aegina today (2000s) is the pistachio nut. Economically, the sponge fisheries are of notable importance.

The southern volcanic part of the island is rugged and mountainous, and largely barren. The beaches are also a popular tourist attraction. Hydrofoil ferries from Piraeus take only forty minutes to reach Aegina; the regular ferry takes about an hour, with ticket prices for adults within the 4-15 euro range. There are regular bus services from Aegina town to destinations throughout the island such as Agia Marina. Portes is a fishing village on the east coast.

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, 27 November 2017

SEEING RED

Late Spring brings a rash of reds in our gardens. The beauty of Melbourne gardens is that while all the traditional garden flowers of the "old country" are grown, there is also a wealth of native blossoms too.

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, 26 November 2017

JIMSONWEED

Datura stramonium, known by the English names jimsonweed or Devil's snare, is a plant in the nightshade family. It is believed to have originated in Mexico, but has now become naturalised in many other regions. Other common names for D. stramonium include thornapple and moon flower, and it has the Spanish name toloache. Other names for the plant include hell's bells, devil’s trumpet, devil’s weed, tolguacha, Jamestown weed, stinkweed, locoweed, pricklyburr, and devil’s cucumber.

Datura has been used in traditional medicine to relieve asthma symptoms and as an analgesic during surgery or bonesetting. It is also a powerful hallucinogen and deliriant, which is used entheogenically for the intense visions it produces. However, the tropane alkaloids responsible for both the medicinal and hallucinogenic properties are fatally toxic in only slightly higher amounts than the medicinal dosage, and careless use often results in hospitalisations and deaths.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,
and also 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, 25 November 2017

PIGEONS AT SUNSET

A neighbour likes to feed pigeons in her yard everyday. Needless to say whenever one wants to photograph some, there will be plenty of opportunity around her house. Coupled with a sunset they are very photogenic.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also 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, 24 November 2017

SUNNY LEAF

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

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.