Wednesday, 30 August 2017

HYACINTH

Hyacinthus orientalis (common hyacinth, garden hyacinth or Dutch hyacinth), is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant, native to southwestern Asia, southern and central Turkey, northwestern Syria, Lebanon and northern Israel. It was introduced to Europe in the 16th century. It is widely cultivated everywhere in the temperate world for its strongly fragrant flowers which appear exceptionally early in the season, and frequently forced to flower at Christmas time.

It is a bulbous plant, with a 3–7 cm diameter bulb. The leaves are strap-shaped, 15–35 cm long and 1–3 cm broad, with a soft, succulent texture, and produced in a basal whorl. The flowering stem is a spike, which grows to 20–35 cm (rarely to 45 cm) tall, bearing 2–50 fragrant flowers 2–3.5 cm long with a tubular, six-lobed perianth. H. orientalis has a long history of cultivation as an ornamental plant, grown across the Mediterranean region, and later France (where it is used in perfumery), the Netherlands (a major centre of cultivation) and elsewhere.

It flowers in the early spring, growing best in full sun to part shade in well-drained, but not dry, soil. It requires a winter dormancy period, and will only persist in cold-weather regions. It is grown for the clusters of strongly fragrant, brightly coloured flowers. Over 2,000 cultivars have been selected and named, with flower colour varying from blue, white, pale yellow, pink, red or purple; most cultivars have also been selected for denser flower spikes than the wild type, bearing 40–100 or more flowers on each spike.

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, 29 August 2017

IRONBRIDGE, UK

Ironbridge is a village on the River Severn, at the heart of the Ironbridge Gorge, in Shropshire, England. It lies in the civil parish of The Gorge, in the borough of Telford and Wrekin. Ironbridge developed beside, and takes its name from, the famous Iron Bridge, a 30-metre cast iron bridge that was built across the river in 1779.

The area around Ironbridge is described by those promoting it as a tourist destination as the "Birthplace of the Industrial Revolution". This description is based on the idea that Abraham Darby perfected the technique of smelting iron with coke, in Coalbrookdale, allowing much cheaper production of iron. However, the industrial revolution did not "begin" in one place, but in many.

Darby's iron smelting was but one small part of this generalised revolution and was soon superseded by the great iron-smelting areas. However, the bridge – being the first of its kind fabricated from cast iron, and one of the few which have survived to the present day – remains an important symbol representative of the dawn of the industrial age.

The grandson of the first Abraham Darby, Abraham Darby III, built the famous bridge – originally designed by Thomas Farnolls Pritchard – to link the two areas. Construction began in 1779 and the bridge opened on New Year's Day 1781. Soon afterwards the ancient Madeley market was relocated to the new purpose-built square and Georgian Butter Cross and the former dispersed settlement of Madeley Wood gained a planned urban focus as Ironbridge, the commercial and administrative centre of the Coalbrookdale coalfield.

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, 27 August 2017

CINERARIA

Cineraria is now generally treated as a genus of about 50 species of flowering plants in the family Asteraceae, native to southern Africa. The genus includes herbaceous plants and small sub-shrubs. In the past, the genus was commonly viewed in a broader sense including a number of species from the Canary Islands and Madeira which are now transferred to the genus Pericallis, including the Florist's Cineraria (Pericallis x hybrida). The uses for Cineraria include topical application for the treatment of cataracts.

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,
and also part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Friday, 25 August 2017

MOONRISE

View from our window towards the East one fine night.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Friday Photo Journal meme,
and also part of the Orange you Glad It's Friday meme,
and also part of the My Town Shootout meme.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

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 Buddlejas are essentially 20th-century plants, 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. Other common garden species include the aforementioned B. globosa, grown for its strongly honey-scented orange globular inflorescences, and the weeping Buddleja alternifolia. Several interspecific hybrids have been made. Some species commonly escape from the garden. B. davidii in particular is a great coloniser of dry open ground; in urban areas in the United Kingdom, it often self-sows on waste ground or old masonry, where it grows into a dense thicket, and is listed as an invasive species in many areas.

Popular garden cultivars include 'Royal Red' (reddish-purple flowers), 'Black Knight' (very dark purple), 'Sungold' (golden yellow), and 'Pink Delight' (pure pink). In recent years, much breeding work has been undertaken to create small, more compact buddlejas, such as 'Blue Chip' which reach no more than 0.6–0.9 m tall, and which are also seed sterile, an important consideration in the USA where B. davidii and its cultivars are banned from many states owing to their invasiveness.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.



Wednesday, 23 August 2017

THE GRAMPIANS

The Grampians National Park (also Gariwerd), commonly referred to as The Grampians, is a national park located in the Grampians region of Victoria, Australia. The 167,219-hectare (413,210-acre) national park is situated between Stawell and Horsham on the Western Highway and Dunkeld on the Glenelg Highway, 260 kilometres west of Melbourne and 460 kilometres east of Adelaide. Proclaimed as a national park on 1 July 1984, the park was listed on the Australian National Heritage List on 15 December 2006 for its outstanding natural beauty and being one of the richest indigenous rock art sites in south-eastern Australia. The Grampians feature a striking series of sandstone mountain ranges.

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

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

OXFORD, UK

Oxford is a city in the South East region of England and the county town of Oxfordshire. With an estimated 2015 population of 168,270, it is the 52nd largest city in the United Kingdom,and one of the fastest growing and most ethnically diverse. The city is situated 92 km from London,111 km from Bristol, 105 km from both Southampton and Birmingham and 40 km from Reading.

The city is known worldwide as the home of the University of Oxford, the oldest university in the English-speaking world. Buildings in Oxford demonstrate notable examples of every English architectural period since the late Saxon period. Oxford is known as the "city of dreaming spires", a term coined by poet Matthew Arnold. Oxford has a broad economic base. Its industries include motor manufacturing, education, publishing and a large number of information technology and science-based businesses, some being academic offshoots.

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, 20 August 2017

Friday, 18 August 2017

STORM ENDING

As the rain lessens and the storm clouds recede, there are patches of blue sky and more cheerful cotton wool clouds revealed...

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

Thursday, 17 August 2017

VIBURNUM TINUS

Viburnum tinus (Laurustinus, laurustinus viburnum, or laurestine) is a species of flowering plant in the family Adoxaceae, native to the Mediterranean area of Europe and North Africa. Laurus signifies the leaves' similarities to bay laurel.

It is a shrub (rarely a small tree) reaching 2–7 m tall and 3 m broad, with a dense, rounded crown. The leaves are evergreen, persisting 2–3 years, ovate to elliptic, borne in opposite pairs, 4–10 cm long and 2–4 cm broad, with an entire margin. The flowers are small, white or light pink, produced from reddish-pink buds in dense cymes 5–10 cm diameter in the winter. The fragrant flowers are bisexual and pentamerous. The flowering period is from October to June (Northern Hemisphere). Pollination is by insects. The fruit is a dark blue-black drupe 5–7 mm long.

V. tinus has medicinal properties. The active ingredients are viburnin (a substance or more probably a mixture of compounds) and tannins. Tannins can cause stomach upset. The leaves when infused have antipyretic properties. The fruits have been used as purgatives against constipation. The tincture has been used lately in herbal medicine as a remedy for depression. The plant also contains iridoid glucosides.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

LANCASTER, UK

Lancaster is a city and the county town of Lancashire, England. It is situated on the River Lune and has a population of 45,952. Lancaster is a constituent settlement of the wider City of Lancaster, a local government district which has a population of 138,375 and encompasses several outlying settlements, including neighbouring Morecambe.

Long existing as a commercial, cultural and educational centre, Lancaster is the settlement that gives Lancashire its name. Lancaster has several unique ties to the British monarchy; the House of Lancaster was a branch of the English royal family, whilst the Duchy of Lancaster holds large estates on behalf of Elizabeth II, who herself is also the Duke of Lancaster in her capacity as monarch.

Lancaster was granted city status in 1937 for its "long association with the crown" and because it was "the county town of the King's Duchy of Lancaster". With its history based on its port and canal, Lancaster is an ancient settlement, dominated by Lancaster Castle, Lancaster Priory Church and the Ashton Memorial. It is also home to the campus-based Lancaster University and a campus of the University of Cumbria.

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, 13 August 2017

SURFING THE WAVES

Surfing is a surface water sport in which the wave rider, referred to as a surfer, rides on the forward or deep face of a moving wave, which is usually carrying the surfer towards the shore. Waves suitable for surfing are primarily found in the ocean, but can also be found in lakes or in rivers in the form of a standing wave or tidal bore. However, surfers can also utilise artificial waves such as those from boat wakes and the waves created in artificial wave pools.

This intrepid surfer is riding a wave in the waters of the Bass Strait, on the coast of Phillip Island, about 140 km south-southeast of Melbourne, Victoria. Keen surfers, like this man, are undeterred by wintry weather or other hazards (like sharks!) and will practice their sport at every opportunity.

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, 12 August 2017

DUCK

Two little ducks, went out one day,
Over the hills, and far away.
Mother duck said: “Quack, quack, quack."
But only one little duck came back, back, back.

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

Friday, 11 August 2017

SUNBURST

"The sun does not shine for a few trees and flowers, but for the wide world's joy." - Henry Ward Beecher

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

Thursday, 10 August 2017

WATTLES IN BLOOM

Wattles, also called acacias, are amazing native plants. More than 850 species of wattle grow in Australia, ranging from ground covers and charming shrubs to giant trees that provide fine timber and screening. With this number of species and many cultivars there is a wattle for just about any garden in Australia.

Most wattles are quick growing, short-lived plants that will usually last for about seven to 12 years. Some species, however, are longer lived. If planted in a thicket, they will self-sow, which will mean that short lived plants are quickly replaced. Wattles are tolerant of a broad range of conditions.

While there are wattle species which flower throughout the year, the winter-flowering species are particularly attractive in the landscape, where their bright yellow or cream flowers bring colour to the garden at a time when many of the more traditionally grown plants are bare or not flowering. Currently, in the Melbourne Winter, the gold of the wattle flowering is beautiful in the green, wet landscape.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.




Wednesday, 9 August 2017

EXETER, ENGLAND

Exeter is a cathedral city in Devon, England with a population of 129,800 (mid-2016 est.). It lies within the county of Devon, of which it is the county town as well as the home of Devon County Council. The administrative area has the status of a non-metropolitan district under the administration of the County Council; a plan to grant the city unitary authority status was scrapped under the 2010 coalition government.

The city is on the River Exe about 60 km northeast of Plymouth and 110 km southwest of Bristol. Exeter was the most south-westerly Roman fortified settlement in Britain, although there is evidence a Cornish tribe existed in Exeter before the Roman invasion. Exeter became a religious centre during the Middle Ages and into the Tudor times: Exeter Cathedral, founded in the mid 11th century, became Anglican during the 16th-century English Reformation.

During the late 19th century, Exeter became an affluent centre for the wool trade, although by the First World War the city was in decline. After the Second World War, much of the city centre was rebuilt and is now considered to be a centre for modern business and tourism in Devon and Cornwall.

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


The following two images are interesting as they are more than 100 years apart, although viewed from the same vantage point (High Street, with the Guild Hall on the left) The first is from a 19th century illustration of 1895, while the second one is from the 21st century!


Sunday, 6 August 2017

HANKERING FOR SUMMER

It's been grey, windy, cold, rainy and wintry in Melbourne these past few days and I was hankering for some summery weather. All of the sudden far Northern Queensland seemed very attractive. 300 days a year of sunshine, year round swimming in warm seas and tropical hot days!

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

Friday, 4 August 2017

WINTER GREENS

By the Darebin Creek in Melbourne in Winter.

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

Thursday, 3 August 2017

VIOLETS

Viola is a genus of flowering plants in the violet family Violaceae. It is the largest genus in the family, containing between 525 and 600 species. Most species are found in the temperate Northern Hemisphere, however some are also found in widely divergent areas such as Hawaii, Australasia, and the Andes. Some Viola species are perennial plants, some are annual plants, and a few are small shrubs. A large number of species, varieties and cultivars are grown in gardens for their ornamental flowers.

In horticulture the term "pansy" is normally used for those multi-coloured, large-flowered cultivars which are raised annually or biennially from seed and used extensively in bedding. The terms "viola" and "violet" are normally reserved for small-flowered annuals or perennials, including the type species.

Viola odorata is a species of the genus Viola native to Europe and Asia, but has also been introduced to North America and Australia. It is commonly known as wood violet, sweet violet, English violet, common violet, florist's violet, or garden violet. The sweet scent of this flower has proved popular throughout the generations particularly in the late Victorian period, and has consequently been used in the production of many cosmetic fragrances and perfumes.

The scent of violet flowers is distinctive with only a few other flowers having a remotely similar odour. References to violets and the desirable nature of the fragrance go back to classical sources such as Pliny and Horace when the name ‘Ion’ was in use to describe this flower from which the name of the distinctive chemical constituents of the flower, the ionones – is derived. The leaves are edible and contain mucilage.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 2 August 2017

DUNKIRK

Dunkirk (French: Dunkerque, Dutch: Duinkerke) is a town in the region of Nord-Pas de Calais in France. The name Dunkirk derives from West Flemish "dun" (Dune) and "Kerke" (Church), i.e. "The Church on the Dunes". Dunkirk is a small town in the northernmost tip of France. It is very close to the border with Belgium and is actually located on the shores of the North Sea.

Dunkirk has a wide variety of tourist attractions including beaches, architectural and historical sites, festivals, cafes with live music, a theatre, a conference centre, museums, cinemas and its Carnival. Seven hundred hectares of dunes, 15 kilometres of beaches, and a recognised sailing resort make the Flanders coast an increasingly popular seaside resort for tourists who can find quality activities and entertainment all year round.

A history enthusiast after having visited the Dunkirk War Museum and the Town Cemetery's War Memorial might want to head South-East to the In Flanders Fields Museum in Ieper, Belgium. The Museum which looks at the history of the First World War in the Western Flanders Front region. Both France and Belgium have abolished passport control under the Schengen Agreement, so moving between these countries is easy. Other locations worth visiting which are connected to the First World war is the The Museum of the Great War in Péronne, France and the Sommme 1916 Museum in Albert, also in France.

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

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

SINGAPORE

Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, sometimes referred to as the Lion City, the Garden City or the Little Red Dot, is a sovereign city-state in Southeast Asia. It lies one degree (137 km) north of the equator, at the southern tip of peninsular Malaysia, with Indonesia's Riau Islands to the south. Singapore's territory consists of one main island along with 62 other islets. Since independence, extensive land reclamation has increased its total size by 23% (130 km2), and its greening policy has covered the densely populated island with tropical flora, parks and gardens.

Stamford Raffles founded colonial Singapore in 1819 as a trading post of the East India Company; after its collapse and the eventual establishment of the British Raj, the islands were ceded to Britain and became part of its Straits Settlements in 1826. During the Second World War, Singapore was occupied by Japan. It gained independence from the UK in 1963 by federating with other former British territories to form Malaysia, but separated two years later over ideological differences, becoming a sovereign nation in 1965.

After early years of turbulence, and despite lacking natural resources and a hinterland, the nation developed rapidly as an Asian Tiger economy, based on external trade and its workforce. Singapore is a global commerce, finance and transport hub. Its standings include: The most "technology-ready" nation (WEF), top International-meetings city (UIA), city with "best investment potential" (BERI), second-most competitive country, third-largest foreign exchange market, third-largest financial centre, third-largest oil refining and trading centre, and the second-busiest container port. The country has also been identified as a tax haven.

Singapore ranks 5th on the UN Human Development Index and the 3rd highest GDP per capita. It is ranked highly in education, healthcare, life expectancy, quality of life, personal safety, and housing. Although income inequality is high, 90% of homes are owner-occupied. 38% of Singapore's 5.6 million residents are permanent residents and other foreign nationals. There are four official languages: English (common and first language), Malay, Mandarin, Tamil; almost all Singaporeans are bilingual.

Singapore is a unitary multiparty parliamentary republic, with a Westminster system of unicameral parliamentary government. The People's Action Party has won every election since self-government in 1959. The dominance of the PAP, coupled with a low level of press freedom and restrictions on civil liberties and political rights, has led to Singapore being classified by some as a semi-authoritarian regime. One of the five founding members of the ASEAN, Singapore is also the host of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat, and a member of the East Asia Summit, Non-Aligned Movement, and the Commonwealth of Nations.

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.