Friday, 29 November 2019

PRICKLY PEAR

Opuntia, commonly called prickly pear, is a genus in the cactus family, Cactaceae. Prickly pears are also known as tuna (fruit), sabra, nopal (paddle, plural nopales) from the Nahuatl word nōpalli for the pads, or nostle, from the Nahuatl word nōchtli for the fruit; or paddle cactus. The genus is named for the Ancient Greek city of Opus, where, according to Theophrastus, an edible plant grew and could be propagated by rooting its leaves. The most common culinary species is the Indian fig opuntia (O. ficus-indica).

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday, 28 November 2019

POMPOM TREE

Dais cotinifolia, known as the Pompom Tree, is a small Southern African tree belonging to the Thymelaeaceae family. It occurs along the east coast northwards from the Eastern Cape, inland along the Drakensberg escarpment through KwaZulu-Natal and the Transvaal, with an isolated population in the Eastern Highlands of Zimbabwe.

It flowers profusely during the summer months and produces a multitude of pink, sweet-scented, globular flowerheads about 10 cm across. Depending on the circumstances it can reach a height of up to 12m, although it rarely exceeds 6m in cultivation. This is a beautiful ornamental tree and the delicious scent of the flowers can make the whole area around the tree replete with fragrance.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.
and also part of the My Corner of the World meme.

Wednesday, 27 November 2019

UMBRELLAS

Our weather continues to be extremely variable, vacillating between cold-wetness and hot-dryness. As an example, yesterday we had a maximum of 16˚C and periods of rain and wind, while today we enjoyed a lovely Spring day with a maximum of 27˚C. Umbrellas are an essential item in our city, so bring a few when you visit!

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

Tuesday, 26 November 2019

KIEV, UKRAINE

Kiev (Ukrainian: Київ) is the capital and largest city of Ukraine, located in the north central part of the country on the Dnieper River. The population in July 2015 was 2,887,974 (though higher estimated numbers have been cited in the press), making Kiev the 7th most populous city in Europe. Kiev is an important industrial, scientific, educational, and cultural centre of Eastern Europe. It is home to many high-tech industries, higher education institutions, and world-famous historical landmarks. The city has an extensive infrastructure and highly developed system of public transport, including the Kiev Metro.

The city’s name is said to derive from the name of Kyi, one of its four legendary founders. During its history, Kiev, one of the oldest cities in Eastern Europe, passed through several stages of great prominence and relative obscurity. The city probably existed as a commercial centre as early as the 5th century. A Slavic settlement on the great trade route between Scandinavia and Constantinople, Kiev was a tributary of the Khazars, until seized by the Varangians (Vikings) in the mid-9th century. Under Varangian rule, the city became a capital of the Kievan Rus', the first East Slavic state.

Completely destroyed during the Mongol invasion in 1240, the city lost most of its influence for the centuries to come. It was a provincial capital of marginal importance in the outskirts of the territories controlled by its powerful neighbours; first the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, followed by Poland and Russia. The city prospered again during the Russian Empire’s Industrial Revolution in the late 19th century. In 1917, after the Ukrainian National Republic declared independence from the Russian Empire, Kiev became its capital.

From 1921 onwards Kiev was a city of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic, which was proclaimed by the Red Army, and, from 1934, Kiev was its capital. During World War II, the city again suffered significant damage, but quickly recovered in the post-war years, remaining the third largest city of the Soviet Union. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union and Ukrainian independence in 1991, Kiev remained the capital of Ukraine and experienced a steady migration influx of ethnic Ukrainians from other regions of the country.

During the country’s transformation to a market economy and electoral democracy, Kiev has continued to be Ukraine’s largest and richest city. Kiev’s armament-dependent industrial output fell after the Soviet collapse, adversely affecting science and technology. But new sectors of the economy such as services and finance facilitated Kiev’s growth in salaries and investment, as well as providing continuous funding for the development of housing and urban infrastructure. Kiev emerged as the most pro-Western region of Ukraine where parties advocating tighter integration with the European Union dominate during elections.

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, 25 November 2019

Sunday, 24 November 2019

MY SUNDAY BEST MEME #145 - LEMONS

Welcome to the meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging. Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in. 

The rules are simple:
1) Create your image and post it up on your blog;
2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here;
3) Leave a comment here once you have posted;
4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity! 

Please do not use this meme to advertise your goods or services. This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments shall be removed immediately!

The theme is of your own choosing, so post on any subject you desire.
When life gives you lemons, take lots of photos!

Last week Jesh from thee USA shared some of her snaps and I especially liked this photo, which is my favourite for the week. Please visit her blog for more of her images.

Thursday, 21 November 2019

INDIAN HAWTHORN

Rhaphiolepis is a genus of about fifteen species of evergreen shrubs and small trees in the family Rosaceae, native to warm temperate and subtropical eastern and southeastern Asia, from southern Japan, southern Korea and southern China south to Thailand and Vietnam. In searching literature it is well to remember that the name commonly is misspelt "Raphiolepsis". The genus is closely related to Eriobotrya (loquats), so closely in fact, that members of the two genera have hybridised with each other; for example the "Coppertone loquat" is a hybrid of Eriobotrya deflexa X Rhaphiolepis indica.

The best known species is Rhaphiolepis indica (Indian hawthorn) from southern China, grown for its decorative pink flowers, and popular in bonsai culture. Rhaphiolepis umbellata (Yeddo hawthorn) from Japan and Korea has blunter leaves and white flowers. It is the hardiest species, tolerating temperatures down to about −15 °C. Its fruit is edible when cooked, and can be used to make jam.

Indian hawthorn is a mainstay horticultural specimen in temperate climates. It is often found in commercial as well as in private landscapes. Often it is trimmed into small compact hedges or balls for foundation plants. It has been successfully pruned into a standard form as well as small dwarf-like trees up to 3 metres in height. It is apt to develop leaf spot.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 20 November 2019

TREES

As we are in Australia, Summer brings with it not only the hot weather and fun at the beach, but also the real threat and danger of bushfires. For the past few weeks, devastating bushfires have been burning thousands of hectares of bushland in NSW and Queensland. As the hot and windy weather is now with us in Victoria, bushfires are expected here also.

Not only do we see devastating losses of homes and property, but also loss of life as people struggle to save their homes and livelihoods. There is a profound environmental loss also, with trees, wildlife and natural resources burnt and reduced to ash.

Climate change has been quoted as a major cause of our increased incidence of extensive bushfires, but also there are other causes - and for many of these humans are directly responsible:
  Poor preparation for the fire season with lack of back-burning and land clearing in forests;
  Building of homes too close to bushland; 
  Electric power lines in direct contact with trees; 
  Careless behaviour involving fire - cigarettes, campfires, power tools, etc;
  And the most reprehensible of all, arson!

Trees are a valuable resource and we depend on them for not only wood and other products, but also more importantly perhaps, as the conditioners of our atmosphere, our oxygen producers and removers of carbon dioxide. Without trees, our planet is doomed. It is up to us to save our trees, our planet, our lives and the lives of our children.

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




Tuesday, 19 November 2019

NEW ORLEANS, USA

New Orleans (French: La Nouvelle-Orléans) is a major United States port and the largest city and metropolitan area in the state of Louisiana. The population of the city was 343,829 as of the 2010 U.S. Census. The New Orleans metropolitan area (New Orleans–Metairie–Kenner Metropolitan Statistical Area) had a population of 1,167,764 in 2010 and was the 46th largest in the United States. The New Orleans–Metairie–Bogalusa Combined Statistical Area, a larger trading area, had a 2010 population of 1,452,502. Before Hurricane Katrina, Orleans Parish was the most populous parish in Louisiana. As of 2015, it ranked third, trailing neighbouring Jefferson Parish and East Baton Rouge Parish.

The city of New Orleans is geographically coextensive with Orleans Parish. The city is known for its distinct French and Spanish Creole architecture, as well as its cross-cultural and multilingual heritage. New Orleans is famous for its cuisine, music (particularly as the birthplace of jazz) and its annual celebrations and festivals, most notably Mardi Gras. The city is often referred to as the “most unique” in the United States.

New Orleans is located in southeastern Louisiana, and occupies both sides of the Mississippi River. The heart of the city and its French Quarter is on the river’s north side. The city and Orleans Parish (French: Paroisse d’Orléans) are coterminous. The city and parish are bounded by the parishes of St. Tammany to the north, St. Bernard to the east, Plaquemines to the south, and Jefferson to the south and west. Lake Pontchartrain, part of which lies within the city limits, lies to the north and Lake Borgne lies to the east.

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, 17 November 2019

MY SUNDAY BEST MEME #144 - AQUARIUM

Welcome to the meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging. Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in.

The rules are simple:
1) Create your image and post it up on your blog;
2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here;
3) Leave a comment here once you have posted;
4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity!

Please do not use this meme to advertise your goods or services. This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments shall be removed immediately!

The theme is of your own choosing, so post on any subject you desire.


Last week Lydia from Sydney, Australia shared some of her snaps from her recent trip to China and I liked this photo, which is my favourite for the week. Please visit her blog for more of her images.

Thursday, 14 November 2019

SWEET PEA

The sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus) is a flowering plant in the genus Lathyrus in the family Fabaceae (legumes), native to Sicily, Cyprus, southern Italy and the Aegean Islands. It is an annual climbing plant, growing to a height of 1–2 metres, where suitable support is available.

The leaves are pinnate with two leaflets and a terminal tendril, which twines around supporting plants and structures, helping the sweet pea to climb. In the wild plant the flowers are purple, 2–3.5 centimetres broad; they are larger and very variable in colour in the many cultivars. The annual species, L. odoratus, may be confused with the everlasting pea, L. latifolius, a perennial.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

SYROS, GREECE

Ermoupoli (Greek: Ερμούπολη), also known by the formal older name Ermoupolis or Hermoupolis (Greek: Ἑρμούπολις < Ἑρμοῦ πόλις “City of Hermes”), is a town and former municipality on the island of Syros, in the Cyclades, Greece. Since the 2011 local government reform, it is part of the municipality Syros-Ermoupoli, of which it is the seat and a municipal unit. It is also the capital of the South Aegean region. The municipal unit has an area of 11.181 km2.

Ermoupoli was founded during the Greek Revolution in the 1820s, as an extension to the existing Ano Syros township, by war refugees from other Greek islands. It soon became the leading commercial and industrial centre of Greece, as well as its main port. The renowned Greek Steamship Company was founded in the city in 1856. Thousands of ships were built in the various Syros shipyards. Eventually Ermoupoli was eclipsed by Piraeus in the late 19th century. In the following decades the city declined. Recently, its economy has greatly improved, based on the service industry.

Ermoupoli is sited on a naturally amphitheatrical site, with neo-classical buildings, old mansions and traditional island houses cascading down to the harbour. The City Hall, on Miaoulis Square is ringed by cafes and seating areas under palm trees. The “City of Hermes” has numerous churches, including Metamorphosis, Koimisis, St. Demetrius, Three Hierarchs, Anastasis, Evangelistria and St. Nicholas. The Archaeological Museum has many significant exhibits and the Municipal Library contains numerous books, including some rare editions. The quarter of the town known as Vaporia is where the sea captains lived. Along its narrow streets, stand many neo-classical mansions of rich and significant architecture.

Ano Syros is the second town of Syros and was built by the Venetians at the beginning of the 13th century on the hill of San Giorgio, north-west of Ermoupoli. Ano Syros maintains a medieval atmosphere. Innumerable steps between narrow streets and houses with brightly coloured doors lead to the top of the town. The medieval settlement of Ano Syros is accessible by car, although the town is served mostly by marble steps. The distance from the harbour up to the main entry point of the town is approximately 1000 metres. The Catholic cathedral of Saint George dominates Ano Syros. The cathedral church was constructed during the 13th century. From the cathedral visitors have a panoramic view of the neighbouring islands of Tinos, Delos, Mykonos, Paros, Andros and Naxos.

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, 11 November 2019

TETRAPTYCH

And now for something slightly different... The last couple of weeks I was busy completing a series of four paintings that were inspired by photographs. The photographs are given in the four upper panels, and they merge with the paintings in the panels below. A mosaic of images and ideas, colours and emotional responses. Tell me what you think!

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

MY SUNDAY BEST MEME #143 - QUIET POND

Welcome to the meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging. Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in.

The rules are simple:
1) Create your image and post it up on your blog;
2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here;
3) Leave a comment here once you have posted;
4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity!

Please do not use this meme to advertise your goods or services. This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments shall be removed immediately!

The theme is of your own choosing, so post on any subject you desire.

Last week, Jesh from the USA contributed some fine photos, the one below being my fave this week. Go to her blog for more wonderful photography!

Saturday, 9 November 2019

FEAST

Caterpillars enjoying a meal of a fallen gum leaf. I don't know what type these are and would appreciate an ID, if you know it!

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme.


Thursday, 7 November 2019

SPIDERWORT

Tradescantia virginiana is found in eastern North America, west to Missouri, south to northern South Carolina and Alabama, and north to Ontario, Vermont, and Michigan. Much of the northern range, however, may represent garden escapes rather than indigenous wild populations. It is an attractive garden plant and many showy hybrids  bear striking, large blue flowers, such as this one illustrated, T. virginiana 'Zwanenburg Blue'.

Look closely at a bloom and you'll notice tiny hairs covering the stamens. Under normal circumstances, they're the same blue colour as the flower. However, as Steve Bender and Felder Rushing revealed in their classic, best-selling book, "Passalong Plants", in the presence of radiation the hairs turn pink. Thus, spiderwort is an essential part of any garden near nuclear plants! Your very own natural Geiger counter in your garden...

Spiderwort had many uses in First Nation’s culture as food and medicine. The seeds are edible when roasted and are ground into a powder (although they are somewhat bitter to taste). Leaves can be made into a tea or tossed into salads, soups, etc. The root can be collected all year round. The flowers can be tossed on top of a salad and eaten.

Dried, powdered flowers were once used as a snuff for nosebleeds. Externally, this plant can be used as a poultice to help heal wounds and haemorrhoids. Internally the leaves and roots are a valuable alternative medicine used by medical herbalists for their patients as an antidiarrhoeal, analgesic, anthelminthic, antiperiodic, astringent, diaphoretic, emetic, emmenagogue, expectorant, sedative, tonic, vermifuge, and vulnerary. Also, drinking spiderwort tea is supposed to be a good for increasing breast milk (galactagogue).

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Sunday, 3 November 2019

MY SUNDAY BEST MEME #142 - MOORHEN

Welcome to the meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging. Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in.

The rules are simple:
1) Create your image and post it up on your blog;
2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here;
3) Leave a comment here once you have posted; 4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity!

Please do not use this meme to advertise your goods or services. This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments shall be removed immediately!

The theme is of your own choosing, so post on any subject you desire.
The dusky moorhen is a waterbird native to Australasia.

Last week Taken for Granted posted a whimsical photo featuring a giant red teapot, which was my favourite. Go to his blog for many more great shots.

Saturday, 2 November 2019

DOG WALKERS

The Darebin Parklands in suburban Melbourne is a conservation area, a green nature reserve and an important leisure area. Many dog walkers find it a suitable place to take their animals for a walk, keeping them on a leash in areas where free-ranging dogs may chase the wildlife. There are also a couple of large grassy areas where the dogs can be let off their leashes to exercise.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme.