Monday, 31 March 2014


The first photo is the flowering head of the herb, dill (Anethum graveolens) growing in our garden. I have played with layers and filters in Photoshop in the next two images and have also added some additional material from a photo of actual fireworks in the last image to get the derivatives. Which is your favourite image?

This post is part of the Mandarin Orange Monday meme,

and also part of the Monday Mellow Yellows meme,
and also part of the Nature Footsteps Inspiring Photography meme.

Sunday, 30 March 2014


The original Tran Quoc pagoda was built in the 6th century and is considered the oldest in Vietnam. It was founded on the bank of the Red River by King Ly Nam De who named it Khai Quoc (National Founder). Much later, it was moved to its present site beside Hanoi’s Ho Tay (West) Lake during the reign of King Le Kinh Tong (1600-1618) and renamed Tran Quoc (National Defence). The current building is the result of major renovations in 1815.

The term "pagoda" is from Portuguese "pagode", perhaps based on Persian "butkada" - ‘temple of idols,’ influenced by Prakrit "bhagodī" - ‘divine’. This temple is a popular place of pilgrimage and devotions, with many faithful coming to pray and lay dedications close to the altar within the temple.

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


This post is part of the Weekend in Black and White meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.

Saturday, 29 March 2014


Darling Harbour is a harbour adjacent to the city centre of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia. It is also a large recreational and pedestrian precinct that is situated on western outskirts of the Sydney central business district. The locality extends northwards from Chinatown, along both sides of Cockle Bay to King Street Wharf on the east, and to the suburb of Pyrmont on the west. Cockle Bay is just one of the waterways that makes up Darling Harbour, which opens north into the much larger Port Jackson.The precinct and its immediate surroundings are administered independently of the local government area of the City of Sydney, by a New South Wales state government statutory authority, the Sydney Harbour Foreshore Authority.

This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme,
and also part of the Weekly TopShot meme,
and also part of the Scenic Weekends meme.

Friday, 28 March 2014


The Australian White Ibis (Threskiornis moluccus), is a wading bird of the ibis family Threskiornithidae. It is widespread across much of Australia. It has a predominantly white plumage with a bare, black head, long downcurved bill and black legs. See another photo here.

Historically rare in urban areas, the Australian White Ibis has immigrated to urban areas of the east coast in increasing numbers since the late 1970s. It is now commonly seen in Wollongong, Sydney, the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Townsville. Debate continues on whether to consider it a pest or vulnerable species. Populations have disappeared from natural breeding areas such as the Macquarie Marshes in northwestern New South Wales. Despite this, the species has been culled in parts of Sydney due to their smell and at times obtrusive nature. Its sister species is the Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus).

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.

Thursday, 27 March 2014


Penstemon is a genus of plants found mainly in the Americas from Alaska to Guatemala, the 250 species of perennials and subshrubs in this genus range from tiny carpeting plants to rapid growers that can exceed 1.2 m tall. They have recently been reclassified and from the Scrophulariaceae family, they are now in the Plantaginaceae family.

In recent years many new garden varieties have become available, generally with increased hardiness and increased flower production. In favourable conditions, these are reliable plants, suitable for border planting, rock gardens, woodland gardens, and "wild" gardens. The pretty flowers resemble those of the foxgloves (Digitalis), and, indeed, they belong to the related family Scrophulariaceae. Native Americans used several species, primarily for their analgesic and styptic properties but also to control stomach disorders.

Penstemon 'Tubular Bells - Wine Red' is a robust plant with strong upright stems that hold striking deep red flowers with a soft white throat. This flamboyant penstemon really makes its presence felt in any cottage garden theme. Tubular Bells Wine Red will flower from June to September (Northern Hemisphere) and December to April (Southern Hemisphere), and is best planted in full sun or partial shade. Height: 40cm.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 26 March 2014


The koala (Phascolarctos cinereus or, inaccurately, koala bear) is an arboreal herbivorous marsupial native to Australia. It is the only extant representative of the family Phascolarctidae, and its closest living relatives are the wombats. The koala is found in coastal areas of the mainland's eastern and southern regions, inhabiting Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. It is easily recognisable by its stout, tailless body; round, fluffy ears; and large, spoon-shaped nose. The koala has a body length of 60–85 cm and weighs 4–15 kg. Pelage colour ranges from silver grey to chocolate brown. Koalas from the northern populations are typically smaller and lighter in colour than their counterparts further south. It is possible that these populations are separate subspecies, but this is disputed.

Koalas typically inhabit open eucalypt woodlands, and the leaves of these trees make up most of their diet. Because this eucalypt diet has limited nutritional and caloric content, koalas are largely sedentary and sleep for up to 20 hours a day. They are asocial animals, and bonding exists only between mothers and dependent offspring. Adult males communicate with loud bellows that intimidate rivals and attract mates. Males mark their presence with secretions from scent glands located on their chests. Being marsupials, koalas give birth to underdeveloped young that crawl into their mothers' pouches, where they stay for the first six to seven months of their life. These young koalas are known as joeys, and are fully weaned at around a year. Koalas have few natural predators and parasites but are threatened by various pathogens, like Chlamydiaceae bacteria and the koala retrovirus, as well as by bushfires and droughts.

Koalas were hunted by indigenous Australians and depicted in myths and cave art for millennia. The first recorded encounter between a European and a koala was in 1798, and an image of the animal was published in 1810 by naturalist George Perry. Botanist Robert Brown wrote the first detailed scientific description of the koala in 1814, although his work remained unpublished for 180 years. Popular artist John Gould illustrated and described the koala, introducing the species to the general British public. Further details about the animal's biology were revealed in the 19th century by several English scientists.

Because of its distinctive appearance, the koala is recognised worldwide as a symbol of Australia. Koalas are listed as of Least Concern by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. The Australian government lists populations in Queensland and New South Wales as Vulnerable. The animal was hunted heavily in the early 20th century for its fur, and large-scale cullings in Queensland resulted in a public outcry that initiated a movement to protect the species. Sanctuaries were established, and translocation efforts moved to new regions koalas whose habitat had become fragmented or reduced. The biggest threat to their existence is habitat destruction caused by agriculture and urbanisation.

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

Tuesday, 25 March 2014


Rosa 'Mister Lincoln' is a large flowered (hybrid tea) bush rose introduced in 1964. (AARS 1965). It is a tall red rose is renowned for its strong fragrance (in still air it can be detected up to 3 metres away) and its deep, red colour. It grows to about 1.2 metres high and 1 metre across. The leaves are matt dark green. The buds are deep red and open up into large, velvety red, double blossoms. It has typically around 30 to 35 petals per flower. It is a vigorous plant that performs well in all climates. Mister Lincoln is hardy to zone 5-9.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Nature Footsteps Floral Macros meme.

Monday, 24 March 2014


Playing with Photoshop filters. Original photo of the gumnuts is the first, followed by several orange transformations!

This post is part of the Monday Mellow Yellows meme,
and also part of the Mandarin Orange Monday meme.

Saturday, 22 March 2014


Our back garden pond provided opportunity for doing some reflection...
This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme,
and also part of the Weekly TopShot meme,
and also part of the Scenic Weekends meme.

Friday, 21 March 2014


The Jerusalem artichoke (Helianthus tuberosus), also called sunroot, sunchoke, earth apple or topinambour, is a species of sunflower native to eastern North America, and found from eastern Canada and Maine west to North Dakota, and south to northern Florida and Texas. It is also cultivated widely across the temperate zone for its tuber, which is used as a root vegetable.

The flowers are daisy-like and are produced  in capitate flowerheads, which are 5–10 cm in diameter, with 10–20 ray florets. As the stems are up to 2.5 m tall, they look quite spectacular against the sky. These are growing in our garden presently and we are looking forward to the tuber crop!

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

Thursday, 20 March 2014


Cucurbita pepo is a cultivated plant of the genus Cucurbita. It yields varieties of winter squash and pumpkin, but the most widespread varieties belong to Cucurbita pepo subsp. pepo, called summer squash.

It has been domesticated in the New World for thousands of years. The Zuni people have several uses for this plant. Some authors maintain that Cucurbita pepo is derived from Cucurbita texana, while others suggest that C. texana is merely feral C. pepo. They have a wide variety of uses, especially as a food source and for medical conditions.

Due to their varied genetic background, members of C. pepo vary widely in appearance, primarily in regards to their fruits. The plants are typically 30-75 cm high, 70-100 cm wide, and have yellow flowers. Within C. pepo, the pumpkins, scallops, and possibly crooknecks are ancient and were domesticated separately. The domesticated species have larger fruits and larger yet fewer seeds.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014


jalopy |dʒəˈlɒpi| noun (pl.jalopies) informal
An old car in a dilapidated condition. His father got worried about him driving that old jalopy—it wasn't safe.
ORIGIN 1920s (originally US): of unknown origin.

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

Tuesday, 18 March 2014


The Scarborough Lily (Cyrtanthus elatus; many previous synonyms including Vallota speciosa) is a bulbous flowering plant which originates from the Cape Province of South Africa. Other common names are Fire Lily or George Lily.

Cultivated varieties of the Scarborough Lily have flowers which may be bright red, orange, yellow, or occasionally pink or white. The stems can grow to a height of up to 2 feet. They are relatively easy to grow, and can be grown in pots. They require either full sun or slight shade. They flower in late Summer or early Autumn. These are now in bloom in Melbourne.

This post is part of the Nature Footsteps Floral Macros meme,
and also part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme.

Monday, 17 March 2014


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. The young leaves in spring are brightly coloured pink to red before turning green; old leaves turn orange-red or purple again before falling. The flowers are white, borne in early summer in conical clusters held well above the foliage. The fruit is a bright red berry 5–10 mm diameter, ripening in late autumn and often persisting through the winter.

This post is part of the Mandarin Orange Monday meme,
and also part of the Nature Footsteps Inspiring Photography meme.

Sunday, 16 March 2014


This post is part of the Weekend in Black and White meme.


The Church of Saint Demetrius, or Hagios Demetrios (Greek: Άγιος Δημήτριος), is the main sanctuary dedicated to Saint Demetrius, the patron saint of Thessaloniki (in Central Macedonia, Greece), dating from a time when it was the second largest city of the Byzantine Empire. It is part of the site Palaeochristian and Byzantine Monuments of Thessaloniki on the list of World Heritage Sites by UNESCO since 1988.

The first church on the spot was constructed in the early 4th century AD, replacing a Roman bath. A century later, a prefect named Leontios replaced the small oratory with a larger, three-aisled basilica. Repeatedly gutted by fires, the church eventually was reconstructed as a five-aisled basilica in 629–634 AD. This was the surviving form of the church much as it is today. The most important shrine in the city, it was probably larger than the local cathedral. The historic location of the latter is now unknown.

Following the Great Fire of 1917, it took decades to restore the church. A Ciborium, a small shrine inside the church, contains the remnants of St. Demetrius. Archeological excavations conducted in the 1930s and 1940s revealed interesting artefacts that may be seen in a museum situated inside the church's crypt. The excavations also uncovered the ruins of a Roman bath, where St. Demetrius was said to have been held prisoner and executed. A Roman well was also discovered. Scholars believe this is where soldiers dropped the body of St. Demetrius after his execution. After restoration, the church was reconsecrated in 1949.

As the level of the ground gradually rose over the centuries, this area of the Saint's martyrdom acquired the form of a crypt. According both to tradition and to archaeological findings, it was an old bathhouse, in which Demetrios was imprisoned and eventually martyred in ad 303. In the 5th century, when the first Church of St Demetrios was built, the site of his martyrdom was incorporated into the church and the fountain was converted into a source of holy water. In the years that followed, the fountain acquired basins, from which the faithful could collect myron, the sweet-smelling oil produced by the saint’s relics. The crypt filled up with earth during the period of Ottoman rule and was not rediscovered until after the fire of 1917. It has been restored by the Archaeological Service and was converted into an exhibition space in 1988.

This post is part of the inSPIREd Sunday meme.