Thursday, 27 July 2017

WINTER ROSES

Our local florist has no shortage of flowers whatever the season. Nowadays, with international air transport being what it is, fresh flowers can be loaded into a plane and within 24 hours they can be almost anywhere in the world, fresh and ready to be displayed like this.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.


Tuesday, 25 July 2017

EXETER, UK

Exeter is a cathedral city in Devon, England with a population of 129,800 (mid-2016 est.). It lies within the county of Devon, of which it is the county town as well as the home of Devon County Council. The administrative area has the status of a non-metropolitan district under the administration of the County Council; a plan to grant the city unitary authority status was scrapped under the 2010 coalition government. The city is on the River Exe about 60 km northeast of Plymouth and 110 km southwest of Bristol.

Exeter was the most south-westerly Roman fortified settlement in Britain, although there is evidence a Cornish tribe existed in Exeter before the Roman invasion. Exeter became a religious centre during the Middle Ages and into the Tudor times: Exeter Cathedral, founded in the mid 11th century, became Anglican during the 16th-century English Reformation. During the late 19th century, Exeter became an affluent centre for the wool trade, although by the First World War the city was in decline. After the Second World War, much of the city centre was rebuilt and is now considered to be a centre for modern business and tourism in Devon and Cornwall.

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, 23 July 2017

FLAMINGOES

Flamingos or flamingoes are a type of wading bird in the family Phoenicopteridae, the only family in the order Phoenicopteriformes. There are four flamingo species in the Americas and two species in the Old World. The greater flamingo (Phoenicopterus roseus) is the most widespread species of the flamingo family. It is found in Africa, on the Indian subcontinent, in the Middle East and southern Europe.

This is the largest species of flamingo, averaging 110–150 cm tall and weighing 2–4 kg. The largest male flamingos have been recorded at up to 187 cm tall and 4.5 kg. It is closely related to the American flamingo and Chilean flamingo, with which it has sometimes been considered conspecific. Like all flamingos, this species lays a single chalky-white egg on a mud mound.

Most of the plumage is pinkish white, but the wing coverts are red and the primary and secondary flight feathers are black. The bill is pink with a restricted black tip, and the legs are entirely pink. The call is a goose-like honking. Sub-adult flamingos are whitish grey and only attain the pink coloration several years into their adult life. The coloration comes from the carotenoid pigments in the organisms that live in their feeding grounds. Secretions of the uropygial gland also contain carotenoids.

During the breeding season, greater flamingos increase the frequency of their spreading uropygial secretions over their feathers and thereby enhance their colour. This cosmetic use of uropygial secretions has been described as applying "make-up". The bird resides in mudflats and shallow coastal lagoons with salt water. Using its feet, the bird stirs up the mud, then sucks water through its bill and filters out small shrimp, seeds, blue-green algae, microscopic organisms and mollusks. The greater flamingo feeds with its head down and its upper jaw is movable and not rigidly fixed to its skull.

Here they are seen in the San Diego zoo, and they really put on a spectacular display when we were there.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Best meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme,
and also part of the My Sunday Photo meme,
and also part of the Photo Sunday meme.

Thursday, 20 July 2017

CHIMONANTHUS

Chimonanthus (wintersweet) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Calycanthaceae, endemic to China. It is also grown in Iran, called "ice flower" and probably imported from China. The genus includes three to six species depending on taxonomic interpretation; three are accepted by the Draft Flora of China. The name means "winter flower" in Greek.

These plants are deciduous or evergreen shrubs growing to 2–13 m tall. The leaves are opposite, entire, 7–20 cm long and 3–7 cm broad. The flowers are 2–3 cm wide, with numerous spirally-arranged yellow or white tepals; they are strongly scented, and produced in late winter or early spring before the new leaves. The flowers are said to be edible, and can be used to flavour tea. The fruit is an elliptic dry capsule 3–4 cm long.

Chimonanthus praecox, "wintersweet", is the only species widely grown as an ornamental plant, for its spicily scented winter flowers; these are also used in floristry as cut flowering branches, which can also be forced as with forsythia. The petals are quite waxy. The plant prefers medium exposure to sunlight or high dappled shade, a fresh climate (hardy to USDA Zone 7), and soft, acidic permeable ground not waterlogged in winter. A protected, south-facing wall encourages early flowering, and a position should be chosen where its spicy perfume can be appreciated while coming and going from the house. Space needs to be allowed for its eventual spread to 3 m, since untimely summer pruning to keep an ill-sited shrub in check will sacrifice flowering the following winter.

In China Chimonanthus was domesticated during the Song Dynasty and inspired courtly poems from the eleventh century; it flowers at the Chinese New Year, when flowering sprigs are used as hair ornaments. In China, prunings are dried and kept to perfume linen cupboards. The shrub was introduced to Japanese gardens from China in the early Edo period (probably between 1611 and 1629, according to Garden Plants of Japan).

Its introduction into European gardens, from Japan, is noted for England, 1766, when it was grown under glass for the sixth Earl of Coventry in the conservatory at Croome Court, Worcestershire. By 1799 that shrub had grown to be 16 feet high and 10 feet wide. By that time it had been tried out of doors without winter protection and proved hardy in the south of England. Slips of it were distributed among nurserymen and so it entered European horticulture. A larger-flowered (though less fragrant) variety, "grandiflorus" was grown by the comtesse de Vandes in Bayswater, London, before 1819. A yellow-flowered variety (luteus, 1814) is also noted.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.




Wednesday, 19 July 2017

BOATS IN BLUE

Memories of last Summer in St Kilda, Melbourne, Australia...

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

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

RONCHAMP, FRANCE

Ronchamp is a commune in the Haute-Saône department in the region of Franche-Comté in eastern France. It is located between the Vosges and the Jura mountains. The famous church close to the town is informally known as "Ronchamp", but formally it is the Chapel of Our Lady on High (Chapelle Notre-Dame-du-Haut de Ronchamp). It was completed in 1954 and is one of the finest examples of the architecture of Franco-Swiss architect Le Corbusier, and one of the most important examples of twentieth-century religious architecture.

Notre Dame du Haut was thought of as a more extreme design of Le Corbusier’s late style. The chapel is a simple design with two entrances, a main altar, and three chapels beneath towers. Although the building is small, it is powerful and complex. The chapel is the latest of chapels at the site. The previous chapel was completely destroyed there during World War II. The previous building was a 4th century Christian chapel. But, at the time the new building was being constructed, Corbusier wasn’t exactly interested in “Machine Age” architecture. He felt his style was more primitive and sculptural, thus for this project he decided to build something more interesting.

(Excuse the relatively low quality of these photos, however, they are from a very early model digital camera, one of the first I used in my travels).

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, 17 July 2017

ROCK, TREE, WOOD

An old tree stump on the eroding cliff face reveals the old, unequal fight between rock and wood.

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday 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.