Wednesday, 30 November 2016

UZBEKISTAN

bucket list: noun informal - a number of experiences or achievements that a person hopes to have or accomplish during their lifetime: Making this trip is the first thing on my bucket list. ORIGIN: Early 21st century: From the phrase "kick the bucket" = ‘die’, popularised by the 2007 film "The Bucket List".

Well, on my bucket list is to visit Uzbekistan! Uzbekistan, officially the Republic of Uzbekistan (Uzbek: Oʻzbekiston Respublikasi, Ўзбекистон Республикаси), is a doubly landlocked country in Central Asia. It is a unitary, constitutional, presidential republic, comprising twelve provinces, one autonomous republic and a capital city. Uzbekistan is bordered by five countries, Kazakhstan to the north; Tajikistan to the southeast; Kyrgyzstan to the northeast; Afghanistan to the south; and Turkmenistan to the southwest.

Once part of the Turkic Khaganate and later Timurid Empires, the region that today includes the Republic of Uzbekistan was conquered in the early 16th century by Eastern Turkic-speaking nomads. The area was gradually incorporated into the Russian Empire during the 19th century, and in 1924 what is now Uzbekistan became a bordered constituent republic of the Soviet Union, known as the Uzbek Soviet Socialist Republic (Uzbek SSR).

Following the breakup of the Soviet Union, it declared independence as the Republic of Uzbekistan on 31 August 1991 (officially celebrated the following day). Uzbekistan is officially a democratic, secular, unitary, constitutional republic with a diverse cultural heritage. The country's official language is Uzbek, a Turkic language written in the Latin alphabet and spoken natively by approximately 85% of the population; however, Russian remains in widespread use. Uzbeks constitute 81% of the population, followed by Russians (5.4%), Tajiks (4.0%), Kazakhs (3.0%), and others (6.5%). A majority of Uzbeks are non-denominational Muslims.

Uzbekistan's economy relies mainly on commodity production, including cotton, gold, uranium, and natural gas. Despite the declared objective of transition to a market economy, its government continues to maintain economic controls which imports in favour of domestic "import substitution".

Illustrated is Bukhara, which is a city-museum, with about 140 architectural monuments. The nation's fifth-largest city, it had a population as of 31 August 2016 of approximately 247,644. Humans have inhabited the region around Bukhara for at least five millennia, and the city has existed for half that time. Located on the Silk Road, the city has long served as a centre of trade, scholarship, culture, and religion. UNESCO has listed the historic centre of Bukhara (which contains numerous mosques and madrassas) as a World Heritage Site.

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, 29 November 2016

BRANDENBURG GATE, BERLIN

Berlin is the capital and the largest city of Germany as well as one of its 16 states. With a population of approximately 3.6 million people, Berlin is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union. Located in northeastern Germany on the banks of Rivers Spree and Havel, it is the centre of the Berlin-Brandenburg Metropolitan Region, which has about 6 million residents from more than 180 nations.

Due to its location in the European Plain, Berlin is influenced by a temperate seasonal climate. Around one-third of the city's area is composed of forests, parks, gardens, rivers and lakes. First documented in the 13th century and situated at the crossing of two important historic trade routes, Berlin became the capital of the Margraviate of Brandenburg (1417–1701), the Kingdom of Prussia (1701–1918), the German Empire (1871–1918), the Weimar Republic (1919–1933) and the Third Reich (1933–1945). Berlin in the 1920s was the third largest municipality in the world. After World War II, the city was divided; East Berlin became the capital of East Germany while West Berlin became a de facto West German exclave, surrounded by the Berlin Wall (1961–1989) and East Germany territory.

Following German reunification in 1990, Berlin once again became the capital of a unified Germany. Berlin is a world city of culture, politics, media and science. Its economy is based on high-tech firms and the service sector, encompassing a diverse range of creative industries, research facilities, media corporations and convention venues. Berlin serves as a continental hub for air and rail traffic and has a highly complex public transportation network. 

The metropolis is a popular tourist destination. Significant industries also include IT, pharmaceuticals, biomedical engineering, clean tech, biotechnology, construction and electronics. Modern Berlin is home to world renowned universities, orchestras, museums, entertainment venues and is host to many sporting events. Its urban setting has made it a sought-after location for international film productions. The city is well known for its festivals, diverse architecture, nightlife, contemporary arts and a high quality of living. Over the last decade Berlin has seen the emergence of a cosmopolitan entrepreneurial scene.

The Brandenburg Gate (German: Brandenburger Tor) is an 18th-century neoclassical monument in Berlin, and one of the best-known landmarks of Germany. It is built on the site of a former city gate that marked the start of the road from Berlin to the town of Brandenburg an der Havel. It is located in the western part of the city centre of Berlin within Mitte, at the junction of Unter den Linden and Ebertstraße, immediately west of the Pariser Platz. One block to the north stands the Reichstag building, which houses the German parliament (Bundestag).

The gate is the monumental entry to Unter den Linden, the renowned boulevard of linden trees, which led directly to the royal City Palace of the Prussian monarchs. It was commissioned by King Frederick William II of Prussia as a sign of peace and built by architect Carl Gotthard Langhans from 1788 to 1791. Having suffered considerable damage in World War II, the Brandenburg Gate was restored from 2000 to 2002 by the Stiftung Denkmalschutz Berlin (Berlin Monument Conservation Foundation).

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, 28 November 2016

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Saturday, 26 November 2016

SATURDAY SILHOUETTES #75

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.
Walking the dog at sunset in Werribee, a Melbourne suburb.

This post is also part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Orange you Glad It's Friday meme.

Please add your contribution below, using the Linky tool. As this is a small but select meme, please visit other contributors and add a comment - they like comments about their work as much as you do!

Friday, 25 November 2016

HONEY BUSH

Melianthus major (giant honey flower or Kruidjie-roer-my-nie) is a species of flowering plant in the family Melianthaceae. It is an evergreen suckering shrub, endemic to South Africa and naturalised in India, Australia and New Zealand.

It grows to 2–3 m tall by 1–3 m wide, with pinnate blue-green leaves 30–50 cm long, which have a distinctive, unpleasant odour. Dark red, nectar-laden flower spikes, 30–80 cm in length, appear in spring, followed by green pods.

All parts of the plants are poisonous. The Latin binomial Melianthus major literally means "large honey flower". In cultivation this plant requires a sheltered location and may also need a protective winter mulch in temperate regions. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

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






Thursday, 24 November 2016

RED POPPY

Papaver rhoeas (common names include common poppy, corn poppy, corn rose, field poppy, Flanders poppy or red poppy) is an annual herbaceous species of flowering plant in the poppy family, Papaveraceae. This poppy is notable as an agricultural weed (hence the common names including "corn" and "field") and after World War I as a symbol of dead soldiers. Before the advent of herbicides, P. rhoeas sometimes was so abundant in agricultural fields that it could be mistaken for a crop. However, the only species of Papaveraceae grown as a field crop on a large scale is Papaver somniferum, the opium poppy.

Papaver rhoeas is a variable, erect annual, forming a long-lived soil seed bank that can germinate when the soil is disturbed. In the northern hemisphere it generally flowers in late spring, but if the weather is warm enough other flowers frequently appear at the beginning of autumn. It grows up to about 70 cm in height. The flowers are large and showy, 50 to 100mm across, with four petals that are vivid red, most commonly with a black spot at their base. The flower stem is usually covered with coarse hairs that are held at right angles to the surface, helping to distinguish it from Papaver dubium in which the hairs are more usually appressed (i.e. held close to the stem). The capsules are hairless, obovoid (egg-shaped), less than twice as tall as they are wide, with a stigma at least as wide as the capsule. Like many other species of Papaver, the plant exudes white to yellowish latex when the tissues are broken

Its origin is not known for certain. As with many such plants, the area of origin is often ascribed by Americans to Europe, and by northern Europeans to southern Europe. Its native range includes West Asia, North Africa and Europe. It is known to have been associated with agriculture in the Old World since early times and has had an old symbolism and association with agricultural fertility. It has most of the characteristics of a successful weed of agriculture. These include an annual lifecycle that fits into that of most cereals, a tolerance of simple weed control methods, the ability to flower and seed itself before the crop is harvested, and the ability to form a long-lived seed bank. The leaves and latex have an acrid taste and are mildly poisonous to grazing animals. A sterile hybrid with Papaver dubium is known, P. x hungaricum, that is intermediate in all characters with P. rhoeas.

Due to the extent of ground disturbance in warfare during World War I, corn poppies bloomed in between the trench lines and no man's lands on the Western front. Poppies are a prominent feature of "In Flanders Fields" by Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae, one of the most frequently quoted English-language poems composed during the First World War. During the 20th century, the wearing of a poppy at and before Remembrance Day each year became an established custom in English-speaking western countries. It is also used at some other dates in some countries, such as at appeals for Anzac Day in Australia and New Zealand.

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



Wednesday, 23 November 2016

TINOS ISLAND, GREECE

Tinos (Greek: Τήνος) is a Greek island situated in the Aegean Sea. It is located in the Cyclades archipelago. In antiquity, Tinos was also known as Ophiussa (from ophis, Greek for snake) and Hydroessa (from hydor, Greek for water). The closest islands are Andros, Delos, and Mykonos. It has a land area of approximately 194 square kilometres and a 2011 census population of 8,636 inhabitants.

Tinos is famous amongst Greeks for the Church of Panagia Evangelistria (The Annunciation of the Virgin), its 80 or so windmills, about 1000 artistic dovecotes, 50 active villages and its Venetian fortifications at the mountain, Exomvourgo. On Tinos, both Greek Orthodox and Roman Catholic populations co-exist, and the island is also well known for its famous sculptors and painters, such as Nikolaos Gysis, Yannoulis Chalepas and Nikiforos Lytras.


The island is located near the geographical centre of the Cyclades island complex, and because of the Panagia Evangelistria church, with its reputedly miraculous icon of Virgin Mary that it holds, Tinos is also the centre of a yearly pilgrimage that takes place on the date of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary (15 August, "Dekapentavgoustos" in Greek). This is perhaps the most notable and still active yearly pilgrimage in the region of the eastern Mediterranean. Many pilgrims make their way the 800 metres from the ferry wharf to the church on their hands and knees as sign of devotion


This post is part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wednesday Waters 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 November 2016

LUXEMBOURG

Luxembourg (Luxembourgish: Lëtzebuerg; German: Luxemburg), officially the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, is a landlocked country in western Europe. It is bordered by Belgium to the west and north, Germany to the east, and France to the south. Its capital, Luxembourg City, is, together with Brussels and Strasbourg, one of the three official capitals of the European Union and the seat of the European Court of Justice, the highest juridical instance in the EU. Its culture, people and languages are highly intertwined with its neighbours, making it essentially a mixture of French and Germanic cultures. The repeated invasions by its neighbour countries, especially in World War II, resulted in the country's strong will for mediation between France and Germany and led to the foundation of the European Union.

It comprises two principal regions: the Oesling in the north as part of the Ardennes massif, and the Gutland ("Good Land") in the south. With an area of 2,586 square kilometres, it is one of the smallest sovereign states in Europe (about the same size as the state of Rhode Island or the English county of Northamptonshire). Luxembourg had a population of 524,853 in October 2012, ranking it the 8th least-populous country in Europe.

As a representative democracy with a constitutional monarch, it is headed by a grand duke, Henri, Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and is the world's only remaining grand duchy. Luxembourg is a developed country, with an advanced economy and the world's highest GDP (PPP) per capita, according to the United Nations in 2014. Its central location has historically made it of great strategic importance to numerous powers, dating back to its founding as a Roman fortress, its hosting of a vital Frankish castle during the Early Middle Ages, and its role as a bastion for the Spanish Road between the 16th and 17th centuries.

The Luxembourgers live not only on tourism and souvenir production. Their city is the largest trans-European transport node. The main sectors of production here are metallurgy and heavy engineering. There are chemical, food, and clothing industries. The city has the School of Arts and Crafts, the National Library, and the National Museum. Luxembourg is the most important administrative and financial centre of the Common Market’s countries. The tallest building in the city is the building of the Euro-Parliament Secretariat.

The most important monuments of ancient architecture include the remains of the Roman fortifications, bastions of the 10th century, the Chapel of St. Kieran (6 and 15 centuries), the Gothic church, the Saint-Michel (16th century), the Renaissance Palace of Justice (16th century), and the Baroque Cathedral of Notre Dame (17th century). Many ancient stone bridges across the gorge remain preserved. Image of the city is complemented by steel Grand Duchess Charlotte Bridge, which connects Luxembourg with its most modern suburb of Kirchberg.

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, 21 November 2016

ABUTILON

Abutilon or Chinese lantern is closely related to Hibiscus, and most of the hundred or so species have pendulous, hibiscus-like flowers. Cultivars produced by hybridising some of the South American abutilons have all been placed in one group known as Abutilon x hybridum, and these are the ones most commonly grown in Australian gardens. They have a wispy, delicate form and colourful, lantern-shaped flowers. For gardeners who prefer plants with a more dense habit, new compact varieties are also available.

They are evergreen shrubs with attractive maple-like leaves and an open, pendulous habit. They grow to about 2-3 metres tall (or 50-100 cm if a compact variety). Flowers are produced in September to December, but they spot flower at other times. Flower colours include white, pink, red, yellow, orange and salmon. Abutilons grow well in most parts of Australia, except for the very cold mountain zones. In inland areas be sure to water well and keep protected with mulch. In hot inland climates abutilons appreciate some light shade.

A full sun position is best, but abutilons will also flower in part shade. They like a rich, well drained soil and a cool root run. Water well and mulch. Avoid heavy feeding as abutilons are inclined to produce foliage at the expense of flowers. Light prune to shape toward the end of winter in frost free gardens. Leave until early spring in frost-prone areas. They can become untidy and leggy like hibiscus. As abutilons are members of the Malvaceae family, they are also subject to attack by hibiscus beetle and metallic flea beetle. These pests make holes in leaves and flowers and are difficult to control with pesticides.

We have had a very hot day in Melbourne today with maximum temperatures in the high 30s˚C. Fortunately, a cool change and rain came in the afternoon and the garden recovered a little...

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


Sunday, 20 November 2016

NANDINA BERRIES

Nandina domestica, commonly known as nandina, heavenly bamboo or sacred bamboo, is a species of flowering plant in the family Berberidaceae, native to eastern Asia from the Himalayas to Japan. It is the only member of the monotypic genus Nandina.

This post is part of the Photo Sunday meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme,


Saturday, 19 November 2016

SATURDAY SILHOUETTES #74

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.
A noisy miner (Manorina melanocephala), a bird in the honeyeater family, Meliphagidae, enjoying the sunrise in Melbourne.

This post is also part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Orange you Glad It's Friday meme,
and also part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.

Please add your contribution below, using the Linky tool.
As this is a small but select meme, please visit other contributors and add a comment - they like comments about their work as much as you do!

Thursday, 17 November 2016

BLUE LITHODORA

Lithodora diffusa ‘Grace Ward’ (also called blue lithospermum, USDA Zone: 5-9) in the Boraginaceae family is a choice groundcover or rock garden plant, making an unforgettable display when grown well. Plants form a low, creeping mat of hairy dark-green leaves, studded with sapphire-blue star flowers from late spring through summer. Plants must have a well-drained, acidic soil in order to thrive. Heavy clay soils are sure death. In colder regions this plant will benefit from a light covering of evergreen boughs as soon as the soil is frozen in late Autumn. Combines well with heaths and heathers, since plants have similar requirements. Evergreen where hardy. Not especially vigorous.

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


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN

Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the most populous city in the Nordic countries; 932,917 people live in the municipality, approximately 1.5 million in the urban area, and 2.3 million in the metropolitan area. The city is spread across 14 islands on the coast in the southeast of Sweden at the mouth of Lake Mälaren, by the Stockholm archipelago and the Baltic Sea. The area has been settled since the Stone Age, in the 6th millennium BC, and was founded as a city in 1252 by a Swedish statesman Birger Jarl. It is also the capital of Stockholm County.

Stockholm is the cultural, media, political, and economic centre of Sweden. The Stockholm region alone accounts for over a third of the country's GDP, and is among the top 10 regions in Europe by GDP per capita. It is an important global city, and the main centre for corporate headquarters in the Nordic region. The city is home to some of Europe's top ranking universities, such as the Stockholm School of Economics, Karolinska Institute and Royal Institute of Technology (KTH). It hosts the annual Nobel Prize ceremonies and banquet at the Stockholm Concert Hall and Stockholm City Hall. One of the city's most prized museums, the Vasa Museum, is the most visited non-art museum in Scandinavia.

The Stock Exchange Building (Swedish: Börshuset) is a building originally erected for the Stockholm Stock Exchange between 1773 and 1778 from construction drawings by Erik Palmstedt. The stock exchange moved out of the building completely in 1998. It is located on the north side of the square Stortorget in Gamla stan, the old town in central Stockholm, Sweden, and owned by the city council. Since 1914 it has been the home of the Swedish Academy, which uses the building for its meetings, such as those at which it selects and announces the name of the recipient of the Nobel Prize for Literature. The building also houses the Nobel Museum and the Nobel Library.

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, 15 November 2016

ELOUNDA, CRETE

Elounda (Greek: Ελούντα), is a small fishing town on the northern coast of the island of Crete, Greece. It is part of the municipality of Agios Nikolaos, until recently (2010) belonging to the prefecture of Lasithi and as of the passage of new legislation, the periphery of Crete. Elounda comprises seven villages and an uninhabited island area. The village of Schisma is by far the most populated one and is often understood as 'Elounda Centre'. The community of Elounda has a total of 2,193 inhabitants according to the 2011 census.

The road into Elounda from Agios Nikolaos is approximately 12 km in length and follows the shore as it climbs to the top of a small mountain. On a clear day it is possible to see the whole of Mirabello Bay and all the way to the eastern tip of Crete. The small fishing village of Plaka (Lasithi), which overlooks the island of Spinalonga and the Kolikithia Peninsula, can be reached a mere 5 km from the main square of Elounda heading north away from Agios Nikolaos.

It is also the closest major town to the former leper colony of Spinalonga (Greek: Σπιναλόγκα), located on an island officially named Kalydon (Greek: Καλυδών). Elounda is a famous tourist attraction, heavily visited by VIPs for its seaside luxury resorts. Prime Minister Andreas Papandreou used to spend his summers in Elounda; today, it is visited almost every year by the royal family of Saudi Arabia.

Elounda was used for the filming of the popular BBC television series "Who Pays the Ferryman?" in the late 1970s. It is the setting for the Belinda Jones novel "Out of the Blue." It features in Victoria Hislop's novel "The Island", the novel is also being adapted for Greek television, set to air as a mini series starting in October 2010 and the brilliant "Yannis" by Beryl Darby, fiction laced with many facts researched by the author.

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, 14 November 2016

THE MOON

The Moon is Earth's only permanent natural satellite. It is the fifth-largest natural satellite in the Solar System, and the largest among planetary satellites relative to the size of the planet that it orbits (its primary). It is the second-densest satellite among those whose densities are known (after Jupiter's satellite Io). The average distance of the Moon from the Earth is 384,400 km or 1.28 light-seconds.

The Moon is thought to have formed about 4.5 billion years ago, not long after Earth. There are several hypotheses for its origin; the most widely accepted explanation is that the Moon formed from the debris left over after a giant impact between Earth and a Mars-sized body called Theia.

The Moon is in synchronous rotation with Earth, always showing the same face, with its near side marked by dark volcanic maria that fill the spaces between the bright ancient crustal highlands and the prominent impact craters. It is the second-brightest regularly visible celestial object in Earth's sky, after the Sun, as measured by illuminance on Earth's surface. Its surface is actually dark, although compared to the night sky it appears very bright, with a reflectance just slightly higher than that of worn asphalt.

Its prominence in the sky and its regular cycle of phases have made the Moon an important cultural influence since ancient times on language, calendars, art, mythology, and apparently, the menstrual cycles of the female of the human species. The Moon's gravitational influence produces the ocean tides, body tides, and the slight lengthening of the day.

The Moon's current orbital distance is about thirty times the diameter of Earth, with its apparent size in the sky almost the same as that of the Sun, resulting in the Moon covering the Sun nearly precisely in total solar eclipse. This matching of apparent visual size will not continue in the far future. The Moon's linear distance from Earth is currently increasing at a rate of 3.82 ± 0.07 centimetres per year, but this rate is not constant.

This post is part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

STRANGE FRUIT

Cucumis metuliferus, horned melon or kiwano, is an annual vine in the cucumber and melon family, Cucurbitaceae. Its fruit has horn-like spines, hence the name "horned melon". Ripe fruit has yellow-orange skin and lime green, jelly-like flesh with a tart taste, and texture similar to a cucumber.

C. metuliferus is native to Africa, and is now grown in California, Mississippi, Chile, Australia, and New Zealand. C. metuliferus is a traditional food plant in Africa, and has potential to improve nutrition and food security, foster rural development and support sustainable land use. Along with the Gemsbok cucumber (Acanthosicyos naudinianus) and Tsamma (Citrillus lanatus) it is one of the few sources of water during the dry season in the Kalahari Desert.


In Zimbabwe it is called gaka or gakachika, and is primarily used as a snack or salad, and rarely for decoration. It can be eaten at any stage of ripening, but when overripened, will burst forcefully to release seeds. The fruit's taste has been compared to a combination of cucumber and zucchini or a combination of banana, cucumber and lemon. It is also said to taste like an unripe, watered-down banana. A small amount of salt or sugar can increase the flavour. Some also eat the peel, which is very rich in vitamin C and dietary fibre. The fruit can be used in cooking, but when eaten raw, most suck out the pulp and spit out the seeds.


This post is part of the My Sunday Photo meme,

and also part of the Our Beautiful World meme.



Saturday, 12 November 2016

SATURDAY SILHOUETTES #73

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.
Sunrise on the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia

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

Please add your contribution below, using the Linky tool. As this is a small but select meme, please visit other contributors and add a comment - they like comments about their work as much as you do!

Friday, 11 November 2016

RED ROSE

"My love is like a red, red rose
That’s newly sprung in June:
My love is like the melody
That’s sweetly played in tune..."

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

Thursday, 10 November 2016

ROSE CONE FLOWER

Isopogon formosus or Rose Cone Flower is a shrub that is endemic to areas near Albany and Esperance in Western Australia. It occurs naturally in heathland and woodland areas. It has an erect or bushy form and is usually between 1.5 and 2 metres high. The pink flowers appear from mid winter to early summer. Rounded "drumsticks" containing the seeds appear later, formed from the old flower parts.The plants leaves are divided, narrow, terete and about 5 cm long.

It was first described by Robert Brown in 1810. In 1891, German botanist Otto Kuntze published Revisio generum plantarum, his response to what he perceived as a lack of method in existing nomenclatural practice. Because Isopogon was based on Isopogon anemonifolius, and that species had already been placed by Richard Salisbury in the segregate genus Atylus in 1807, Kuntze revived the latter genus on the grounds of priority, and made the new combination Atylus formosus for this species. However, Kuntze's revisionary program was not accepted by the majority of botanists. Ultimately, the genus Isopogon was nomenclaturally conserved over Atylus by the International Botanical Congress of 1905.

Isopogon formosus requires excellent drainage and full sun. It will not tolerate long periods of dryness or heavy frost. It is usually propagated from seed which germinates readily without pretreatment. Cuttings are also successful using firm, current season's growth. Some limited work has been carried out by enthusiasts on the grafting of western species of Isopogon, onto eastern rootstocks to extend the range where the plants can be grown. This offers the best chance for successful cultivation in humid areas.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.



Wednesday, 9 November 2016

POSTCARD FROM RIMINI, ITALY

Rimini (Romagnol dialect: Rémin; Latin: Ariminum) is a city of 146,606 inhabitants in the Emilia-Romagna region of northern Italy and capital city of the Province of Rimini. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, on the coast between the rivers Marecchia (the ancient Ariminus) and Ausa (ancient Aprusa). It is one of the most famous seaside resorts in Europe, thanks to its 15-kilometre-long sandy beach, over 1,000 hotels, and thousands of bars, restaurants and discos. The first bathing establishment opened in 1843.

An art city with ancient Roman and Renaissance monuments, Rimini is the hometown of the famous film director Federico Fellini as well. Founded by the Romans in 268 BC, throughout their period of rule Rimini was a key communications link between the north and south of the peninsula, and on its soil Roman emperors erected monuments like the Arch of Augustus and the Tiberius Bridge, while during the Renaissance, the city benefited from the court of the House of Malatesta, which hosted artists like Leonardo and produced works such as the Malatesta Temple.

In the 19th century, Rimini was one of the most active cities in the revolutionary front, hosting many of the movements aimed at the unification of Italy. In the course of World War II, the city was the scene of clashes and bombings, but also of a fierce partisan resistance that earned it the honour of a gold medal for civic valour. Finally, in recent years it has become one of the most important sites for trade fairs and conferences in Italy.

This post is part of the Wednesday Waters 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,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

HONG KONG

Hong Kong (Chinese: 香港; literally: "Fragrant Harbour" or "Incense Harbour"), officially the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region of the People's Republic of China, is an autonomous territory on the Pearl River Delta in East Asia. Macau lies across the delta to the west, and the Chinese province of Guangdong borders the territory to the north. With a total land area of 1,106 square kilometres and a population of over 7.3 million of various nationalities, it ranks as the world's fourth most densely populated sovereign state or territory.

After the First Opium War (1839–42), Hong Kong became a British colony with the perpetual cession of Hong Kong Island, followed by the Kowloon Peninsula in 1860 and a 99-year lease of the New Territories from 1898. Hong Kong was later occupied by Japan during the Second World War until British control resumed in 1945.

In the early 1980s, negotiations between the United Kingdom and China resulted in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, which paved way for the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong in 1997, when it became a special administrative region (SAR) with a high degree of autonomy. Under the principle of "one country, two systems", Hong Kong maintains a separate political and economic system from China. Except in military defence and foreign affairs, Hong Kong maintains its independent executive, legislative and judiciary powers. In addition, Hong Kong develops relations directly with foreign states and international organisations in a broad range of "appropriate fields".

Hong Kong is one of the world's most significant financial centres, with the highest Financial Development Index score and consistently ranks as the world's most competitive and most laissez-faire economic entity in the World Competitiveness Yearbook. Its legal tender, the Hong Kong dollar, is the world's 13th most traded currency. Hong Kong's tertiary sector dominated economy is characterised by simple taxation with a competitive level of corporate tax and supported by international confidence in its independent judiciary system where the rule of law, not rule by law, applies to legal, contractual proceedings.

However, while Hong Kong has one of the highest per capita incomes in the world, it suffers from the most severe income inequality among developed economies. Hong Kong is renowned for its deep natural harbour, which enables ready access by international cargo ships, and its skyline, with a very high density of skyscrapers; the territory boasts the second largest number of high rises of any city in the world.

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, 7 November 2016

CAPE DAISY

Arctotheca calendula of the Asteraceae family, also called Cape daisy, Cape dandelion, Cape marigold, Cape weed, is native to southern Africa. This species was widely grown as a garden ornamental in the past and has now become naturalised throughout the southern, central and eastern regions of Australia. It is widespread and common in New South Wales, the ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and the southern and western parts of Western Australia. Less common or scattered in Queensland and the southern parts of the Northern Territory. It is is regarded as an environmental weed in Australia.

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

Sunday, 6 November 2016

CACTUS- Spira

Aloe polyphylla (spiral aloe, kroonaalwyn, lekhala kharetsa) is a species in the genus Aloe and family Xanthorrhoeaceae that is endemic to the Kingdom of Lesotho in the Drakensberg mountains. It is well known for its strikingly symmetrical, five-pointed spiral growth habit.

Aloe polyphylla is a stemless aloe and grows its leaves in a very distinctive spiral shape. The plants do not seem to sucker or produce off-shoots, but from the germination of their seeds they can form small, dense clumps. The fat, wide, serrated, gray-green leaves have sharp, dark leaf-tips. This aloe flowers at the beginning of summer, producing red-to-pink flowers at the head of robust, branched inflorescences.

The species is highly sought after as an ornamental but is difficult to cultivate and usually soon dies if removed from its natural habitat. In South Africa, buying or collecting the plant is a criminal offence.

This post is part of the Friday Greens meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme,

Saturday, 5 November 2016

SATURDAY SILHOUETTES #72

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

Please add your contribution below, using the Linky tool. As this is a small but select meme, please visit other contributors and add a comment - they like comments about their work as much as you do!

Friday, 4 November 2016

MIRROR BUSH - TAUPATA

Coprosma repens is a species of flowering shrub or small tree of the genus Coprosma, in the family Rubiaceae, native to New Zealand. Common names include tree bedstraw, taupata, mirror bush, looking-glass bush, New Zealand laurel and shiny leaf.

The habit of this species varies markedly with its situation. In exposed situations, such as cliffs, it assumes a prostrate habit, while in more sheltered areas it can grow as a small tree up to 8 metres in height. It has thick and very glossy leaves which vary considerably in size, depending on exposure to the elements. The leaf margins are recurved, occasionally to the extent that the leaf may be cylindrical in cross-section. The shiny leaves aids its survival near coastal locations. Flowers are produced in spring and summer, the male flowers appearing in dense, compound clusters, the female flowers in smaller clusters. Female plants produce orange-red ovoid drupes which are around 8 mm in diameter and 10 mm in length.

The species is native to the North Island, South Island, Kermadec Islands and Three Kings Islands in New Zealand. In Australia it has become naturalised in coastal areas of Victoria, New South Wales, South Australia and Tasmania, to the extent that it is now classified as an environmental weed. It is the bane of our garden as the neighbours have  a hedge and I am constantly uprooting seedlings from our garden beds...

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme,
and also part of the Friday Greens meme.
Glossy "mirror" leaves

Male flowers

Female flowers

Thursday, 3 November 2016

OLIVE FLOWERS

The olive (Olea europaea, meaning "olive from/of Europe") is a species of small tree in the family Oleaceae, found in much of Africa, the Mediterranean Basin from Portugal to the Levant, the Arabian Peninsula, and southern Asia as far east as China, as well as the Canary Islands, Mauritius and Réunion.

The species is cultivated in many places and considered naturalised in France, Corsica, Crimea, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Palestine, Syria, Lebanon, Java, Norfolk Island, California and Bermuda. Its fruit, also called the olive, is of major agricultural importance in the Mediterranean region as the source of olive oil.

The tree and its fruit give its name to the plant family, which also includes species such as lilacs, jasmine, Forsythia and the true ash trees (Fraxinus). The word "olive" derives from Latin ŏlīva ("olive fruit", "olive tree"; "olive oil" is ŏlĕum) which is cognate with the Greek ἐλαία (elaía, "olive fruit", "olive tree") and ἔλαιον (élaion, "olive oil"). The oldest attested forms of the latter two words in Greek are respectively the Mycenaean e-ra-wa, and e-ra-wo or e-rai-wo, written in the Linear B syllabic script.

The word "oil" in multiple languages ultimately derives from the name of this tree and its fruit. Melbourne has an excellent climate for raising olives and olive trees are commonly seen in streets and gardens of Melbourne. Numerous olive groves have now been established in close proximity to the City. At the moment, olive trees are in full bloom in Melbourne and it looks as though it will be a bumper season this year!

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Wednesday, 2 November 2016

QUOKKA

The quokka (Setonix brachyurus), the only member of the genus Setonix, is a small macropod about the size of a domestic cat. Like other marsupials in the macropod family (such as kangaroos and wallabies), the quokka is herbivorous and mainly nocturnal.

Quokkas can be found on some smaller islands off the coast of Western Australia, in particular on Rottnest Island just off Perth and Bald Island near Albany. A small mainland colony exists in the protected area of Two Peoples Bay Nature Reserve, where they co-exist with the critically endangered Gilbert's potoroo.

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, 1 November 2016

GRANADA, SPAIN

Granada is the capital city of the province of Granada, in the autonomous community of Andalusia, Spain. Granada is located at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, at the confluence of four rivers, the Beiro, the Darro, the Genil and the Monachil. It sits at an average elevation of 738 metres above sea level, yet is only one hour by car from the Mediterranean coast, the Costa Tropical. Nearby is the Sierra Nevada Ski Station, where the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships 1996 were held.

In the 2005 national census, the population of the city of Granada proper was 236,982, and the population of the entire urban area was estimated to be 472,638, ranking as the 13th-largest urban area of Spain. About 3.3% of the population did not hold Spanish citizenship, the largest number of these people (31%; or 1% of the total population) coming from South America. Its nearest airport is Federico García Lorca Granada-Jaén Airport.

The Alhambra, a Moorish citadel and palace, is in Granada. It is the most renowned building of the Andalusian Islamic historical legacy with its many cultural attractions that make Granada a popular destination among the touristic cities of Spain. The Almohad influence on architecture is also preserved in the Granada neighborhood called the Albaicín with its fine examples of Moorish and Morisco construction. Granada is also well-known within Spain for the University of Granada which has about 80,000 students spread over five different campuses in the city. The pomegranate (in Spanish, granada) is the heraldic device of Granada.

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.