Tuesday, 31 May 2016

DESKTOP 1036 - ZAKYNTHOS, GREECE

Zakynthos or Zante, is a Greek island in the Ionian Sea, on the Western part of Greece. It is the third largest of the Ionian Islands. It covers an area of 410 km2 and its coastline is roughly 123 km in length. The island is named after Zakynthos, the son of a legendary Arcadian chief Dardanus. The name, like all similar names ending in "-nthos", is pre-Mycenaean or Pelasgian in origin. Zakynthos has a population of 41,000 people (2011) and a thriving tourism industry.

The capital, which has the same name as the prefecture, is the town of Zakynthos. It lies on the eastern part of the northern coast. Apart from the official name, it is also called Chora (i.e. "the Town"). The port of Zakynthos has a ferry connecting to the port of Kyllini on the mainland. Another ferry connects the village of Agios Nikolaos to Argostoli on Kefalonia. Bochali hill above the Zakynthos town contains a small venetian castle, and offers panoramic views onto the town. Strani's hill, located on the other side of Bochali, is the place where Dionysios Solomos, called "Our National Poet" by the Greeks, wrote Greece's national anthem.

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 Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme.


Thursday, 26 May 2016

DESKTOP 1031 - TUBEROUS BEGONIAS

Tuberous begonias (Begonia tuberhybrida) are among the most spectacular of all begonias but they are also the most difficult to grow. But, if you don’t mind a challenge (these plants are definitely hobbyist plants), the results can be very rewarding. Tuberous begonias are usually grown in pots, but there are also hanging basket varieties. These latter ones come from the original South American species but tend to be much easier to grow than other forms as they require less training (they are naturally pendulous) and are more tolerant of unsatisfactory conditions (including heat and humidity). These can be used as patio or fernery plants. Plants can be grown either from seed or from tubers but in Australia are mainly grown from tubers. Planting a tuber of a named variety will guarantee that you will grow the same variety.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Wednesday, 25 May 2016

DESKTOP 1030 - TAJ MAHAL

The Taj Mahal (Persian for 'Crown of Palaces') is an ivory-white marble mausoleum on the south bank of the Yamuna river in the Indian city of Agra. It was commissioned in 1632 by the Mughal emperor, Shah Jahan (reigned 1628–1658), to house the tomb of his favorite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. The tomb is the centrepiece of a 42-acre complex, which includes a mosque and a guest house, and is set in formal gardens bounded on three sides by a crenellated wall.

Construction of the mausoleum was essentially completed in 1643 but work continued on other phases of the project for another 10 years. The Taj Mahal complex is believed to have been completed in its entirety in 1653 at a cost estimated at the time to be around 32 million rupees, which in 2015 would be approximately 52.8 billion rupees (US$827 million). The construction project employed some 20,000 artisans under the guidance of a board of architects led by the court architect to the emperor, Ustad Ahmad Lahauri.

The Taj Mahal was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 for being "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage". Described by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore as "the tear-drop on the cheek of time", it is regarded by many as the best example of Mughal architecture and a symbol of India's rich history. The Taj Mahal attracts 7–8 million visitors a year. In 2007, it was declared a winner of the 'New 7 Wonders of the World' (2000–2007) initiative.

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, 24 May 2016

DESKTOP 1029 - EVENING FALLS

Driving through the countryside of Victoria Australia.

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.


Friday, 20 May 2016

DESKTOP 1025 - LAMB'S EAR

Stachys byzantina (syn. S. lanata; lamb's-ear or woolly hedgenettle) is a species of Stachys, native to Turkey, Armenia, and Iran. It is cultivated over much of the temperate world as an ornamental plant, and is naturalised in some locations as an escapee from gardens. Plants are very often found under the synonym Stachys lanata or Stachys olympica. Lamb's-ear flowers in late spring and early summer; plants produce tall spike-like stems with a few reduced leaves. The flowers are small and either white or purple. The plants tend to be evergreen but can "die" back during cold winters and regenerate new growth from the crowns.


This post is part of the Friday Greens meme.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

DESKTOP 1023 - SYDNEY HARBOUR

Sydney Harbour with the Opera House and the Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise ship sailing in.

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, 17 May 2016

DESKTOP 1022 - SANTORINI

Santorini (Greek: Σαντορίνη, pronounced) officially Thira (Greek: Θήρα [ˈθira]), is an island in the southern Aegean Sea, about 200 km southeast of Greece's mainland. It is the largest island of a small, circular archipelago which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera. It forms the southernmost member of the Cyclades group of islands, with an area of approximately 73 km2 and a 2011 census population of 15,550. The municipality of Santorini includes the inhabited islands of Santorini and Therasia and the uninhabited islands of Nea Kameni, Palaia Kameni, Aspronisi, and Christiana. The total land area is 90.623 km2.

Santorini is essentially what remains after an enormous volcanic eruption that destroyed the earliest settlements on a formerly single island, and created the current geological caldera. A giant central, rectangular lagoon, which measures about 12 by 7 km, is surrounded by 300 m high, steep cliffs on three sides. The main island slopes downward to the Aegean Sea. On the fourth side, the lagoon is separated from the sea by another much smaller island called Therasia; the lagoon is connected to the sea in two places, in the northwest and southwest.

The depth of the caldera, at 400m, makes it impossible for any but the largest ships to anchor anywhere in the protected bay; there is also a fisherman's harbour at Vlychada, on the southwestern coast. The island's principal port is Athinias. The capital, Fira, clings to the top of the cliff looking down on the lagoon.

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, 16 May 2016

DESKTOP 1021 - AUTUMN MANDALA

This is a photo of a few Autumn leaves, which I have processed in Photoshop to create the mandala you see here.

This post is part of the Monday Mellow Yellows meme,
and also part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme,
and also part of the Nature Footstep Creative Playroom Meme.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

DESKTOP 1020 - CHAPEL

A small chapel on the Greek Island of Lesbos.

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

Friday, 13 May 2016

DESKTOP 1018 - TECOMA

Tecoma capensis (common name Cape honeysuckle) is a species of flowering plant in the family Bignoniaceae, native to southern Africa. Despite its common name, it is not closely related to the true honeysuckle. Synonyms include Bignonia capensis, Tecomaria capensis and Tecoma petersii.

The flowers are tubular, narrow, about 7.5 cm long, and are produced at different times throughout the year. They are grouped in 10–15 cm long terminal clusters. The flower colour ranges from orange to orange-red to apricot.

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

Thursday, 12 May 2016

DESKTOP 1017 - HYACINTHS

Hyacinthus orientalis (common hyacinth, garden hyacinth or Dutch hyacinth), is a herbaceous perennial flowering plant, native to southwestern Asia, southern and central Turkey, northwestern Syria, Lebanon and northern Israel. It was introduced to Europe in the 16th century. It is widely cultivated everywhere in the temperate world for its strongly fragrant flowers which appear exceptionally early in the season, and frequently forced to flower at Christmas time.

It is a bulbous plant, with a 3–7 cm diameter bulb. The leaves are strap-shaped, 15–35 cm long and 1–3 cm broad, with a soft, succulent texture, and produced in a basal whorl. The flowering stem is a spike, which grows to 20–35 cm (rarely to 45 cm) tall, bearing 2–50 fragrant flowers 2–3.5 cm long with a tubular, six-lobed perianth. H. orientalis has a long history of cultivation as an ornamental plant, grown across the Mediterranean region, and later France (where it is used in perfumery), the Netherlands (a major centre of cultivation) and elsewhere.

It flowers in the early spring, growing best in full sun to part shade in well-drained, but not dry, soil. It requires a winter dormancy period, and will only persist in cold-weather regions. It is grown for the clusters of strongly fragrant, brightly coloured flowers. Over 2,000 cultivars have been selected and named, with flower colour varying from blue, white, pale yellow, pink, red or purple; most cultivars have also been selected for denser flower spikes than the wild type, bearing 40–100 or more flowers on each spike.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

DESKTOP 1016 - BEACH IN RHODES

Rhodes (Greek: Ρόδος, Ródos [ˈroðos]) is the largest of the Dodecanese islands of Greece in terms of land area and also the island group's historical capital. Administratively the island forms a separate municipality within the Rhodes regional unit, which is part of the South Aegean region. The principal town of the island and seat of the municipality is Rhodes. The city of Rhodes had 50,636 inhabitants in 2011. It is located northeast of Crete, southeast of Athens and just off the Anatolian coast of Turkey. Rhodes' nickname is The island of the Knights, named after the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem, who once conquered the land. Historically, Rhodes was famous worldwide for the Colossus of Rhodes, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. The Medieval Old Town of the City of Rhodes has been declared a World Heritage Site. Today, it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Europe.

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, 10 May 2016

DESKTOP 1015 - KAYSERBERG, FRANCE

Kaysersberg is a former commune in the Haut-Rhin department in Alsace in north-eastern France. On 1 January 2016, it was merged into the new commune Kaysersberg-Vignoble. The inhabitants are called Kaysersbergeois. The name means Emperor's Mountain in German.The high fortress that dominates the city serves as a reminder of both its strategic importance and its warlike past.

Together with the rest of Alsace-Lorraine, Kaysersberg was part of Germany during the period between the Franco-Prussian War and the First World War. Kaysersberg is one of the finest wine growing areas in Alsace. The first vines were brought here in the 16th century from Hungary, and wine production is still an important aspect of the town's economy today. Wine produced from the Pinot gris variety is a local specialty. Kaysersberg is the birthplace of Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965), theologian, musician, philosopher, and physician.

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.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

DESKTOP 1010 - ROCKET FLOWERS

Eruca sativa (syn. E. vesicaria subsp. sativa (Miller) Thell., Brassica eruca L.) is an edible annual plant, commonly known as salad rocket, rucola, rucoli, rugula, colewort, roquette, and arugula.

Eruca sativa grows 20–100 cm in height. The leaves are deeply pinnately lobed with four to ten small lateral lobes and a large terminal lobe. The flowers are 2–4 cm in diameter, arranged in a corymb in typical Brassicaceae fashion; with creamy white petals veined with purple, and with yellow stamens; the sepals are shed soon after the flower opens. The fruit is a siliqua (pod) 12–35 mm long with an apical beak, and containing several seeds (which are edible). The species has a chromosome number of 2n = 22.

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