Thursday, 30 April 2015


Heliconia rostrata (also known as Hanging Lobster Claw or False Bird of Paradise) is a herbaceous perennial native to Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador, and naturalised in Puerto Rico. Other Heliconias grow in the upright position (e.g. Heliconia caribaea), their cup-shaped flower bracts storing water for birds and insects. This plant, however, has downward-facing flowers, the flowers thus providing a source of nectar to birds.

Heliconias are known to those who grow them as a host flower to many birds, especially the Hummingbird. Because of its unique characteristics, it is often used as a specimen for tropical gardens. Along with the Kantuta flower, Heliconia rostrata, known as patujú, is the national flower of Bolivia.

Heliconias are grown for the florist trade and as landscape plants. These plants do not grow well in cold, dry conditions. They are very drought intolerant, but can endure some soil flooding. Heliconias need an abundance of water, sunlight, and soils that are rich in humus in order to grow well. These flowers are grown in tropical regions all over the world as ornamental plants.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 29 April 2015


The Chinese Garden in Darling Harbour, Sydney, has undergone some changes with the help of Pixelmator (a Photoshop alternative program).

This post is part of the Wednesday Waters meme,
and also part of the Waterworld Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Nature Footstep Digital Art Meme.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015


Dry sclerophyll forests are characterised by their scenic landscapes and diverse flora and represent south-east Australia’s last remaining areas of wilderness. Sclerophyll forests are a typically Australian vegetation type having plants (typically eucalypts, wattles and banksias) with hard, short and often spiky leaves, which is a condition closely associated with low soil fertility (rather than rainfall/soil moisture).

Low fertility also makes soils undesirable for agriculture and native vegetation has, therefore, remained relatively intact. Plants grow slowly in nutrient-deficient conditions and some species have developed symbiotic relationships with nutrient-fixing bacteria and fungi to enhance nutrient availability. Others have root systems that increase the efficiency of nutrient uptake.

Bushfires play a vital role in regeneration of dry sclerophyll forests. Many species are able to resprout from buds protected beneath soils or within the trunk or branches. Other species have seeds that are protected by a hard seed-coat or woody fruit, which are stimulated to open or germinate by fire. The frequency, intensity, season of occurrence of fire (‘fire regime’) has an enormous effect on the composition and structure of these forests.

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

Monday, 27 April 2015

Sunday, 26 April 2015


St Mary's Cathedral, Perth, officially the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is the cathedral church of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Perth, and seat of its Archbishop, currently Timothy Costelloe. The cathedral is at the centre of Victoria Square, on the northern end of Victoria Avenue, Perth, Western Australia.

The cathedral as it now stands was constructed in three main phases, with the first phase completed in 1865. Plans were drawn up for the replacement of the cathedral in the 1920s with a larger Perpendicular Gothic edifice. However, construction was interrupted by the onset of the Great Depression, leaving a new transept and sanctuary, with the aisle of the original cathedral as its nave. After 70 years incomplete, and portions of the cathedral requiring extensive repair work, funds were eventually raised in the late 1990s and early 2000s for the completion of the expansion. A new curved design for the expansion was created, and featured a second spire and underground parish centre. The cathedral closed for construction in 2006, and reopened in December 2009.

The completed Cathedral was officially opened by the then Archbishop of Perth, Barry Hickey on 8 December 2009, in a ceremony attended by the Apostolic Nuncio, Cardinal George Pell,33 bishops and 300 priests. The new design won three architectural design awards from the Western Australian chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects: The Jeffrey Howlett Award, the George Temple Pool ward, and the Margaret Pitt Morrison Award for Heritage. The costs of the renovation had blown out to $32.9 million by March 2009. The photos here were taken in May 2011.

This post is part of the Spiritual Sundays meme,
and also part of the inSPIREd Sunday meme.

Saturday, 25 April 2015


Cappadocia (from Ancient Greek: Καππαδοκία) is a historical region in Central Anatolia, largely in the Nevşehir, Kayseri, Aksaray, and Niğde Provinces in Turkey. In the time of Herodotus, the Cappadocians were reported as occupying the whole region from Mount Taurus to the vicinity of the Euxine (Black Sea). Cappadocia, in this sense, was bounded in the south by the chain of the Taurus Mountains that separate it from Cilicia, to the east by the upper Euphrates and the Armenian Highland, to the north by Pontus, and to the west by Lycaonia and eastern Galatia.

The name, traditionally used in Christian sources throughout history, continues in use as an international tourism concept to define a region of exceptional natural wonders, in particular characterised by geological structures known as 'fairy chimneys' and a unique historical and cultural heritage.

A hoodoo (also called a tent rock, fairy chimney, and earth pyramid) is a tall, thin spire of rock that protrudes from the bottom of an arid drainage basin or badland. Hoodoos, which may range from 1.5–45 metres, typically consist of relatively soft rock topped by harder, less easily eroded stone that protects each column from the elements. They generally form within sedimentary rock and volcanic rock formations. Hoodoo shapes are affected by the erosional patterns of alternating hard and softer rock layers. Minerals deposited within different rock types cause hoodoos to have different colours throughout their height.

This post is part of the Scenic Weekends meme.

Friday, 24 April 2015


Federation Square in Melbourne, Australia, is a mixed-use development in the inner city, covering an area of 3.2 hectares and centred on two major public spaces: Open squares (St. Paul's Court and The Square) and one covered (The Atrium), built on top of a concrete deck above busy railway lines. It is located at intersection between Flinders Street and Swanston Street/St Kilda Road in Melbourne's Central Business District, adjacent to Melbourne's busiest railway station.

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

Thursday, 23 April 2015


Chrysanthemums, sometimes called mums or chrysanths, are flowering plants of the genus Chrysanthemum in the family Asteraceae. They are native to Asia and northeastern Europe. Most species originate from East Asia and the centre of diversity is in China. There are countless horticultural varieties and cultivars.

Modern cultivated chrysanthemums are showier than their wild relatives. The flower heads occur in various forms, and can be daisy-like or decorative, like pompons or buttons. This genus contains many hybrids and thousands of cultivars developed for horticultural purposes. In addition to the traditional yellow, other colours are available, such as white, purple, and red.

The most important hybrid is Chrysanthemum × morifolium (syn. C. × grandiflorum), derived primarily from C. indicum, but also involving other species. Over 140 varieties of chrysanthemum have gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

Chrysanthemums are divided into two basic groups, garden hardy and exhibition. Garden hardy mums are new perennials capable of wintering in most northern latitudes. Exhibition varieties are not usually as sturdy. Garden hardies are defined by their ability to produce an abundance of small blooms with little if any mechanical assistance, such as staking, and withstanding wind and rain. Exhibition varieties, though, require staking, overwintering in a relatively dry, cool environment, and sometimes the addition of night lights. The exhibition varieties can be used to create many amazing plant forms, such as large disbudded blooms, spray forms, and many artistically trained forms, such as thousand-bloom, standard (trees), fans, hanging baskets, topiary, bonsai, and cascades.

These are the first mums opening up in our garden. They make a fine Autumn display and provide wonderful colour as the roses succumb to the coolness of the season.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 21 April 2015


The ashes in our street are wearing their yellow leaves now that Autumn is well and truly here...

Fraxinus excelsior (known as the ash, or European ash or common ash to distinguish it from other types of ash) is a species of Fraxinus native to most of Europe from Portugal to Russia, with the exception of northern Scandinavia and southern Iberia. It is also considered native in southwestern Asia from northern Turkey east to the Caucasus and Alborz mountains. The northernmost location is in the Trondheimsfjord region of Norway. The species is widely cultivated and reportedly naturalised in New Zealand and in scattered locales in the United States, Canada and Australia.

This post is part of the Monday Mellow Yellows meme,
and also part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Trees & Bushes meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Monday, 20 April 2015


Autumn is well and truly here in Melbourne and the chrysanthemums have started to bloom in the garden...

This post is part of the Monday Mellow Yellows meme,
and also part of the Macro Monday meme.