Thursday, 31 March 2016

DESKTOP 975 - FLOWERING CHERRY

A double variety of ornamental flowering cherry. A homage to the Northern Hemisphere Spring!

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Thursday, 24 March 2016

DESKTOP 968 - AFRICAN VIOLETS

Saintpaulia, commonly known as African violet, is a genus of 6–20 species of herbaceous perennial flowering plants in the family Gesneriaceae, native to Tanzania and adjacent southeastern Kenya in eastern tropical Africa. Typically the African violet is a common household indoor plant but can also be an outdoor plant. Several of the species and subspecies are endangered, and many more are threatened, due to their native cloud forest habitats being cleared for agriculture. The conservation status of Saintpaulia ionantha has been classed as near-threatened.

Saintpaulias, which grow from 6–15 cm tall, can be anywhere from 6–30 cm wide. The leaves are rounded to oval, 2.5–8.5 cm long with a 2–10 cm petiole, finely hairy, and have a fleshy texture. The flowers are 2–3 cm in diameter, with a five-lobed velvety corolla ("petals"), and grow in clusters of 3–10 or more on slender stalks called peduncles. Wild species can have violet, purple, pale blue, or white flowers.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

DESKTOP 967 - KALE

Kale or leaf cabbage is a group of vegetable cultivars within the plant species Brassica oleracea. They have green or purple leaves, in which the central leaves do not form a head (as opposed to headed cabbages). Kales are considered to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms of Brassica oleracea.

In a 100 gram serving, raw kale provides 49 calories and is a rich source (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin K, vitamin B6, folate, and manganese. Kale is a good source of thiamin, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, vitamin E and several dietary minerals, including iron, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus. Boiling raw kale diminishes these nutrient contents, with the exception of vitamin K.

Kale is a source of the carotenoids, lutein and zeaxanthin. Kale, as with broccoli and other cruciferous vegetables, contains glucosinolate compounds which contribute to formation of sulforaphane. Boiling decreases the level of sulforaphane, whereas steaming, microwaving or stir frying does not result in significant loss.

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 Nature Footstep Digital Art Meme.

Saturday, 19 March 2016

DESKTOP 963 - WEATHER CHANGE

As we move into Autumn in the Southern Hemisphere, we are getting some variable weather in Melbourne. Sunny and hot one day with a top in the mid 30s and then in a few hours a change sweeps through with cloud and rain and the temperature plummets to the teens!

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

Wednesday, 16 March 2016

DESKTOP 960 - JACARANDA

Jacaranda mimosifolia is a sub-tropical tree native to South America that has been widely planted elsewhere because of its beautiful and long-lasting blue flowers. It is also known as Jacaranda, Blue Jacaranda, Black Poui, or as the fern tree. Older sources give it the systematic name Jacaranda acutifolia, but it is nowadays more usually classified as Jacaranda mimosifolia. In scientific usage, the name "Jacaranda" refers to the genus Jacaranda, which has many other members, but in horticultural and everyday usage, it nearly always means the Blue Jacaranda.

The tree grows to a height of 5 to 15 meters. Its bark is thin and grey-brown in colour, smooth when the tree is young though it eventually becomes finely scaly. The twigs are slender and slightly zigzag; they are a light reddish-brown in colour. The flowers are up to 5 cm long, and are grouped in 30 cm panicles. They appear in spring and early summer, and last for up to two months. They are followed by woody seed pods, about 5 cm in diameter, which contain numerous flat, winged seeds. The Blue Jacaranda is cultivated even in areas where it rarely blooms, for the sake of its large compound leaves. These are up to 45 cm long and bi-pinnately compound, with leaflets little more than 1 cm long.

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 Nature Footstep Digital Art Meme.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

DESKTOP 959 - HA LONG BAY, VIETNAM

Ha Long Bay, situated in the Gulf of Tonkin, includes some 1600 islands and islets forming a spectacular seascape of limestone pillars. Because of their precipitous nature, most of the islands are uninhabited and relatively unaffected by human influence. The bay is located 160 km away east of Hanoi and it takes about 3 – 3.5 hours to get there by car or minibus. 

Ha Long literally means “descending dragon” and according to local myth, long ago when their forefathers were fighting foreign invaders from the north, the gods from heaven sent a family of dragons to help defend their land. This family of dragons descended upon what is now Ha Long Bay and began spitting out jewels and jade. Upon hitting the sea, these jewels turned into the various islands and islets dotting the seascape and formed a formidable fortress against the invaders. The locals were able to keep their land safe and formed what is now the country of Vietnam. The Dragon family fell so much in love with this area for its calm water and for the reverence of the people of Vietnam that they decided to remain on earth. This is a perfect day trip out from Hanoi.

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.

Friday, 11 March 2016

DESKTOP 955 - LORIKEET

The rainbow lorikeet (Trichoglossus moluccanus) is a species of parrot found in Australia. It is common along the eastern seaboard, from northern Queensland to South Australia and Tasmania. Its habitat is rainforest, coastal bush and woodland areas. Several taxa traditionally listed as subspecies of the rainbow lorikeet are now treated as separate species (see Taxonomy). Rainbow lorikeets have been introduced to Perth, Western Australia;[2] Auckland, New Zealand; and Hong Kong.

This post is part of the Friday Greens meme.

Thursday, 10 March 2016

DESKTOP 954 - PINK DAISIES

Argyranthemum frutescens, known as Paris daisy, marguerite or marguerite daisy, is a perennial plant known for its flowers. It is native to the Canary Islands (part of Spain). It is also widely cultivated as an ornamental planted private gardens and public parks in many countries, and naturalised in Italy and southern California. It is in the Asteraceae family. This particular cultivar is called "Red Baron" and has an abundance of dark pink flowers.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

DESKTOP 953 - ISOLA BELLA, TAORMINA

The Isola Bella ("Beautiful Island") in Sicily, Italy, is without doubt Taormina’s most beautiful beach. It is a pebble beach, set at the foot of the town, fronting the islet of the same name clothed in lush vegetation. The islet is linked to the mainland by a narrow strip of beach which is covered by water at high tide.

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 ABC Wednesday meme.

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

DESKTOP 952 - FICUS TREE

The Rubber fig (Ficus elastica), also called the rubber bush, rubber tree, rubber plant, or Indian rubber bush, is a species of plant in the fig genus, native to northeast India, Nepal, Bhutan, Burma, China (Yunnan), Malaysia, and Indonesia.

It is a large tree in the banyan group of figs, growing to 30–40 metres (rarely up to 60 metres) tall, with a stout trunk up to 2 metres in diameter. The trunk develops aerial and buttressing roots to anchor it in the soil and help support heavy branches. It has broad shiny oval leaves 10–35 centimetres long and 5–15 centimetres broad; leaf size is largest on young plants (occasionally to 45 centimetres), much smaller on old trees (typically 10 centimetres). The leaves develop inside a sheath at the apical meristem, which grows larger as the new leaf develops. When it is mature, it unfurls and the sheath drops off the plant. Inside the new leaf, another immature leaf is waiting to develop.

Here it is seen growing in the extensive Parklands surrounding the city of Adelaide in Australia.

This post is part of the Our World 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, 7 March 2016

DESKTOP 951 - MUTATED WATTLE

I played a little with this image of wattle buds and made it a little more alien that it actually looked in real life...

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

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

DESKTOP 946 - YARRA RIVER

The Yarra River (or historically, the Yarra Yarra River) is a perennial river in east-central Victoria, Australia. The lower stretches of the river are where the city of Melbourne was established in 1835 and today Greater Melbourne dominates and influences the landscape of its lower reaches. From its source in the Yarra Ranges, it flows 242 kilometres west through the Yarra Valley which opens out into plains as it winds its way through Greater Melbourne before emptying into Hobsons Bay in northernmost Port Phillip. Here it is seen in metropolitan Melbourne at Dights Falls.

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 Seasons meme,
and also part of the Nature Footstep Digital Art Meme.

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

DESKTOP 945 - NEUSCHWANSTEIN CASTLE

Neuschwanstein Castle (German: Schloss Neuschwanstein, English: "New Swanstone Castle") is a nineteenth-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near F├╝ssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and as an homage to Richard Wagner. Ludwig paid for the palace out of his personal fortune and by means of extensive borrowing, rather than Bavarian public funds.

The palace was intended as a personal refuge for the reclusive king, but it was opened to the paying public immediately after his death in 1886. Since then more than 61 million people have visited Neuschwanstein Castle. More than 1.3 million people visit annually, with as many as 6,000 per day in the summer. The palace has appeared prominently in several movies and was the inspiration for Disneyland's Sleeping Beauty Castle and later, similar structures elsewhere.

This post is part of the Our World 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.