Thursday 31 December 2015


Rudbeckia is a plant genus in the Asteraceae family.The species are commonly called coneflowers and black-eyed-susans; all are native to North America and many species are cultivated in gardens for their showy yellow or gold flower heads. The species are herbaceous, mostly perennial plants (some annual or biennial) growing to 0.5–3 m tall, with simple or branched stems.

The leaves are spirally arranged, entire to deeply lobed, 5–25 cm long. The flowers are produced in daisy-like inflorescences, with yellow or orange florets arranged in a prominent, cone-shaped head; "cone-shaped" because the ray florets tend to point out and down (are decumbent) as the flower head opens.

A large number of species have been proposed within Rudbeckia, but most are now regarded as synonyms of a limited group. Some currently accepted species have several accepted varieties. Some of them (for example the Black-eyed Susan, R. hirta), are popular garden flowers distinguished for their long flowering times. There are many cultivars of these species.

Rudbeckia species are eaten by the caterpillars of some Lepidoptera species including Cabbage Moth and Dot Moth. The name of the genus was given by Carolus Linnaeus in honour of his teacher at Uppsala University, Professor Olof Rudbeck the Younger (1660-1740), and his father Professor Olof Rudbeck the Elder (1630-1702), both of whom were botanists. Rudbeckia is one of at least four coneflower genera within the flowering plant family Asteraceae; the others are Echinacea, Dracopis and Ratibida.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 30 December 2015


Dromana is a suburb south of Melbourne, the capital city of Victoria, Australia, and is located on the Mornington Peninsula. Its local government area is the Shire of Mornington Peninsula. It is a bayside centre, nestled between Safety Beach and McCrae, and situated at the foot of the towering peak of Arthurs Seat.

Dromana's commercial centre is concentrated along the coastal boulevard of Point Nepean Road, with Arthurs Seat and its surrounding bushland providing a scenic backdrop to the shops and cafes along this route. Dromana's foreshore reserve lines the coast and consists of grassy picnic areas, shelters, walking tracks and designated camping areas. The calm, sandy beaches provide safe swimming and boating opportunities. Points of interest along the coast include the Dromana Pier and the rocky cutting at Anthony's Nose where a boat ramp is situated.

We are having some very hot weather in Melbourne at the moment and a beach down the Peninsula is the ideal place to cool down...

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 Travel Tuesday meme.

Tuesday 29 December 2015


Sofia (Bulgarian: София, Sofiya) is the capital and largest city of Bulgaria. Sofia is the 15th largest city in the European Union with population of more than 1.2 million people. The city is located at the foot of Vitosha Mountain in the western part of the country, within less than 50 kilometres drive from the Serbian border.

Its location in the centre of the Balkan peninsula means that it is the midway between the Black Sea and the Adriatic Sea, whereas the Aegean Sea is the closest to it. Sofia has been an area of human habitation since at least 7000 BCE. Many of the major universities, cultural institutions and commercial companies of Bulgaria are concentrated in Sofia. Sofia is one of the top 10 best places for start-up business in the world, especially in IT technologies. Sofia is Europe's most affordable capital to visit as of 2013.

Bulgaria (officially the Republic of Bulgaria - Bulgarian: Република България, tr. Republika Bǎlgarija), is a country in southeastern Europe. It is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and Macedonia to the west, Greece and Turkey to the south, and the Black Sea to the east. With a territory of 110,994 square kilometres, Bulgaria is Europe's 16th-largest country.

Organised prehistoric cultures began developing on Bulgarian lands during the Neolithic period. Its ancient history saw the presence of the Thracians and later the Persians, Greeks and Romans. The emergence of a unified Bulgarian state dates back to the establishment of the First Bulgarian Empire in 681 AD, which dominated most of the Balkans and functioned as a cultural hub for Slavs during the Middle Ages. With the downfall of the Second Bulgarian Empire in 1396, its territories came under Ottoman rule for nearly five centuries. The Russo-Turkish War (1877–78) led to the formation of the Third Bulgarian State.

The following years saw several conflicts with its neighbours, which prompted Bulgaria to align with Germany in both world wars. In 1946 it became a single-party socialist state as part of the Soviet-led Eastern Bloc. In December 1989 the ruling Communist Party allowed multi-party elections, which subsequently led to Bulgaria's transition into a democracy and a market-based economy.

Bulgaria's population of 7.4 million people is predominantly urbanised and mainly concentrated in the administrative centres of its 28 provinces. Most commercial and cultural activities are centred on the capital and largest city, Sofia. The strongest sectors of the economy are heavy industry, power engineering, and agriculture, all of which rely on local natural resources.

The country's current political structure dates to the adoption of a democratic constitution in 1991. Bulgaria is a unitary parliamentary republic with a high degree of political, administrative, and economic centralisation. It is a member of the European Union, NATO, and the Council of Europe; a founding state of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE); and has taken a seat at the UN Security Council three times.

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

Monday 28 December 2015


There is a little of the village fair atmosphere in Melbourne's Sunday markets. This is is the Kingsbury Drive Sunday Market in Bundoora, which is always a pleasure to visit.

This post is part of the Blue Monday meme,
and also part of the Monday Mellow Yellows meme,
and also part of the Macro Monday meme,
and also part of the Through my Lens meme.

Saturday 26 December 2015


Welcome to the Saturday Silhouettes meme!  This is a weekly meme that looks at SILHOUETTES in photography.

SILHOUETTE |ˌsɪlʊˈɛt| noun: The dark shape and outline of someone or something visible in restricted light against a brighter background.
ORIGIN - late 18th century: Named (although the reason remains uncertain) after Étienne de Silhouette (1709–67), French author and politician.
Electricity poles at twilight, also a part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Please add your silhouette shot below, using the Linky tool:

Thursday 24 December 2015


Gardenia is a genus of flowering plants in the coffee family, Rubiaceae, native to the tropical and subtropical regions of Africa, southern Asia, Australasia and Oceania. The genus was named by Carl Linnaeus and John Ellis after Dr. Alexander Garden (1730-1791), a Scottish-born American naturalist.

They are evergreen shrubs and small trees growing to 1–15 metres tall. The leaves are opposite or in whorls of three or four, 5–50 centimetres long and 3–25 centimetres broad, dark green and glossy with a leathery texture. The flowers are solitary or in small clusters, white, or pale yellow, with a tubular-based corolla with 5-12 lobes (petals) from 5–12 centimetres diameter. Flowering is from about mid-spring to mid-summer, and many species are strongly scented.

Gardenia jasminoides, shown below, originated in Asia and is most commonly found growing wild in Vietnam, Southern China, Taiwan, Japan, Myanmar, and India. With its shiny green leaves and heavily fragrant white summer flowers, it is widely used in gardens in warm temperate and subtropical climates, and as a houseplant in temperate regions. It has been in cultivation in China for at least a thousand years, and was introduced to English gardens in the mid 18th century. Many varieties have been bred for horticulture, with low growing, and large-and long-flowering forms.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 23 December 2015


Xanthi (Greek: Ξάνθη); is a city in Thrace, northeastern Greece. It is the capital of the Xanthi regional unit of the region of East Macedonia and Thrace. Amphitheatrically built on the foot of Rhodope mountain chain, the city is divided by the Kosynthos River, into the west part, where the old and the modern town are located, and the east part that boasts a rich natural environment.

The Old Town of Xanthi is known throughout Greece for its distinctive architecture, combining many Byzantine Greek churches with neoclassical mansions of Greek merchants from the 18th and 19th centuries and Ottoman-era mosques. Other landmarks in Xanthi include the Archaeological Museum of Abdera and the Greek Folk Art Museum.

Xanthi is famous throughout Greece (especially Northern Greece) for its annual spring carnival (Greek: καρναβάλι) which has a significant role in the city's economy. Over 40 cultural associations from around Greece participate in the carnival program. The festivities which take place during the period include concerts, theatre plays, music and dance nights, exhibitions, a cycling event, games on the streets, and re-enactments of old customs.

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.

Monday 21 December 2015

Saturday 19 December 2015


Welcome to the Saturday Silhouettes meme! This is a weekly meme that looks at SILHOUETTES in photography.

SILHOUETTE |ˌsɪlʊˈɛt| noun: The dark shape and outline of someone or something visible in restricted light against a brighter background.
ORIGIN - late 18th century: Named (although the reason remains uncertain) after Étienne de Silhouette (1709–67), French author and politician.
Electricity poles at twilight, also a part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Please add your silhouette shot below, using the Linky tool:

Friday 18 December 2015


The firebug, Pyrrhocoris apterus, is a common insect of the family Pyrrhocoridae. Easily recognisable due to its striking red and black coloration, but may be confused with the similarly coloured but unrelated Corizus hyoscyami (cinnamon bug, squash bug - see comparison).

Pyrrhocoris apterus is distributed throughout the Palaearctic from the Atlantic coast of Europe to northwest China. It has also been reported from the USA, Central America and India. It has been reported as recently expanding its distribution northwards into mainland UK. They are frequently observed to form aggregations, especially as immature forms, with from tens to perhaps a hundred individuals.

This post is part of the Friday Greens meme.

Thursday 17 December 2015


Aristolochia grandiflora (Pelican Flower) is a deciduous vine in the Aristolochiaceae family, with one of the world's largest flowers that emits an odour resembling rotting meat, attracting flies.

The large, solitary flowers are produced from cordiate leaf axils. Leaves can be up to 25 cm wide. Flowers are heart shaped: 10–20 cm wide and have tails that are up to 60 cm (24 in). The flower is green/white with purple/brown veins. The centre of the flower is darker coloured, which attracts pollinators along with a distinctive odour to its reproductive elements. The flower has three sections, utricle, tube and limb, characteristic to all Aristolochiaceae.

The plant is native to the Caribbean and Central America, and has been introduced to Florida in the United States as an attractor of butterflies. It is found in tropical forests near streams and gullies. A. grandiflora is pollinated by breeding flies attracted by the odour of the flower. Flies travel down the tubular part of the flower to the utricle where the reproductive organs are found. The tube is lined with trichomes that direct the fly down to the utricle and prevent the fly from moving out.

Reproduction occurs in three main phases. In the first phase, the fly carrying pollen from other flowers pollinates the carpel. During the second phase, the stamen matures releasing pollen on the fly. This phase lasts one day. While trapped inside the flower, the fly eats nectar produced along the walls of the utricle. The trichomes then are signalled to wither, allowing the fly to escape. The entire reproductive process lasts two days before flower senescences and abscises in the third phase.

A. grandiflora has been used for ornamental purposes, as a food source, and in traditional medicine. It is a food source for swallowtail butterfly larvae. These butterflies become unpalatable to predators when they consume the terpenes in this plant. The use of this plant poses a risk as it contains the toxin aristolochic acid which is carcinogenic. The USDA has banned all products containing this compound.  A. grandiflora contains many different alkaloids (bisbenzylisoquinolinic and 8-benzylberberinic), which aid in chemical defences against insects and plant microbes.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.