Loropetalum is a genus of three species of shrubs or small trees in the witch-hazel family, Hamamelidaceae, native to China, Japan, and south-eastern Asia. The name Loropetalum refers to the shape of the flowers and comes from the Greek loron meaning strap and petalon meaning petal. Flowers are produced in clusters during spring and are similar to those of the closely related witch-hazel. Each flower consists of four to six (depending on species) slender strap shaped petals 1-2 cm long. Illustrated here is Loropetalum chinense var. rubrum, often called "Chinese Fringe Flower". Plan your colours to begin with. This particular loropetalum looks great in a black pot for an oriental feel or try a bright contrasting colour for a real statement.As it’s low growing, plant it at the front of garden beds for maximum impact. Loropetalums in general prefer moist but well drained soils but are quite adaptable to less than ideal conditions. Pruning is generally not required, however, you can give a light trim after flowering to help keep them in your preferred shape. A feed with a slow release fertiliser in early spring is beneficial. They are ideal for low maintenance areas, rockeries and garden edges. This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.
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.
Montélimar (Latin name: Acumum, and Montelaimar in Occitan) is a commune in the Drôme department in southeastern France. It is the second-largest town in the department after Valence. The site where the city of Montélimar stands today has been inhabited since the Celtic era. It was reconstructed during the Roman reign, including a basilica, aqueducts, thermae and a forum. The Adhémar family reigned over the city in the Middle Ages and built a castle (Château des Adhémar) which dominates the city silhouette even today. Montélimar is widely regarded as the world capital of nougat. The local nougat is one of the 13 desserts of Provence and highly appreciated throughout the country. Montelimar nougat is mentioned in the opening lines of the Beatles' Savoy Truffle from The White Album. Travellers used to buy nougat de Montélimar on their way to the south of France (or when returning) as the city is next to the Rhône and to the primary route N7. Since the construction of the A7 autoroute, many nougat factories have been forced to close as tourists no longer stop in Montélimar but bypass it instead. Nougat is a family of confections made with sugar or honey, roasted nuts (almonds, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, and macadamia nuts are common), whipped egg whites, and sometimes chopped candied fruit. The consistency of nougat is chewy, and it is used in a variety of candy bars and chocolates. The word nougat comes from Occitan pan nogat (pronounced [ˈpa nuˈɣat]), seemingly from Latin panis nucatus 'nut bread' (the late colloquial Latin adjective nucatum means 'nutted' or 'nutty'). This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme, and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme, and also part of theTravel Tuesday meme, and also part of theWordless Wednesday meme.
The common bronzewing (Phaps chalcoptera) is a species of medium-sized, heavily built pigeon. Native to Australia and one of the country's most common pigeons, the common bronzewing is able to live in almost any habitat, with the possible exception of very barren areas and dense rainforests. Males of the species have pale-yellow to yellow-white foreheads, and pink breasts. Both males and females have an easily discernible white line around and proximate to their eyes. Common bronzewings also have patches of red, blue and green on their wings, a feature which is characteristic of all bronzewing pigeons. Young birds are usually duller in colour and browner than the mature common bronzewing. Rarely found far from a source of water, common bronzewings either travel alone or in pairs or in flocks, and are usually cautious, making approach by humans or other animals difficult. Common bronzewings are, on average, between 30 and 36 centimetres in length. The common bronzewing's diet primarily consists of seeds and all varieties of vegetables. It searches for food in small groups. The search can sometimes last for days, and, since the pigeon must drink frequently, it utilises watering holes or any other available source of water. Common bronzewings construct a rough nest of twigs and sticks, which is placed low down in a tree or bush. The eggs hatch after a period of roughly 14 to 16 days, after being incubated by both the male and the female. Both parents share the responsibility of caring for the young. In common with other pigeons, common bronzewings release a milky substance from their crop to feed their young. 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.
Dights Falls is located in Melbourne, Victoria just downstream of the junction of the Yarra River with Merri Creek, about 2 km east of the City. At this point the river narrows and is constricted between 800,000 year old volcanic, basaltic lava flow and a much older steep, Silurian, sedimentary spur. Prior to European settlement, the area was occupied by the indigenous Wurundjeri tribe of the Kulin nation. The rock falls would have provided the Aboriginal people with a natural river crossing and place to trap migrating fish. It was also a meeting place for many clans where they would trade, settle disputes and exchange brides. In the 1840s, an artificial weir was built on the natural bar of basalt boulders to provide water to the “Ceres” flour mill, one of the first in Victoria. In the early 1840s John Dight established Melbourne’s first water-powered flour mill on the site. In 1888 “Yarra Falls Roller Mills” built a water-turbine powered mill, which was the largest and most sophisticated of the thirty two water powered mills built in Victoria before 1900. This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme, and also part of the Weekend Green meme.
An early Spring bouquet from our garden. You can see anemones, freesias, bluebells, stocks, primulas, calendulas, marigolds and eau-de-cologne plant foliage. This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.