Thursday, 24 April 2014

MELBOURNE STREET TREES 71 - LOQUAT

The loquat (Eriobotrya japonica) is a species of flowering plant in the family Rosaceae, native to south-central China. It is a large evergreen shrub or small tree, grown commercially for its yellow fruit, and also cultivated as an ornamental plant.

Eriobotrya japonica was formerly thought to be closely related to the genus Mespilus, and is still sometimes known as the Japanese medlar. It is also known as Japanese plum and Chinese plum.

Loquats are unusual among fruit trees in that the flowers appear in the autumn or early winter, and the fruits are ripe in late winter or early spring. The flowers are 2 cm in diameter, white, with five petals, and produced in stiff panicles of three to ten flowers. The flowers have a sweet, heady aroma that can be smelled from a distance. These trees are currently in bloom in Melbourne.

Loquat fruits (last photo out of season included for information), growing in clusters, are oval, rounded or pear-shaped, 3–5 cm long, with a smooth or downy, yellow or orange, sometimes red-blushed skin. The succulent, tangy flesh is white, yellow or orange and sweet to subacid or acid, depending on the cultivar.Each fruit contains 2-3 large brown seeds. The skin, though thin, can be peeled off manually if the fruit is ripe. The fruits are the sweetest when soft and orange. The flavour is a mix of peach, citrus and mild mango.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.







Wednesday, 23 April 2014

MERRI CREEK, COBURG

Merri Creek flows about 60 km from the Great Dividing Range through Melbourne’s northern suburbs to the Yarra River. Merri Creek is an environmental, heritage and recreation corridor that draws its significance from its role as a continuous corridor as it does from the qualities of individual reaches. All areas of the Creek are important because they contribute to the linking of areas of environmental, heritage and recreational value along the Creek. At Coburg, one of Melbourne's northern suburbs, the creek has been dammed to form a lake.

This post is part of the Outdoor Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Wild Bird Wednesday meme,
and also part of the Waterworld Wednesday meme.






Tuesday, 22 April 2014

AUTUMN PRODUCE

We have been experiencing cool and wet Autumn weather here in Melbourne the past few days. One of the consolations is the rich harvest of Autumn produce, plenty of which is available in the city and suburb markets.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme.

Monday, 21 April 2014

BULLEEN ART & GARDEN FAÇADE

Bulleen Art & Garden at 6 Manningham Rd West is a nursery and gallery, which focusses on the environment and creativity. There is a great range of herbs, fruit and vegies and the nursery specialises in edible, indigenous and low water use plants.
Food and habitat gardening is a positive contribution that everyone can make to the environment and their own community and nursery staff have experience and expertise in gardening, the environment and the arts with strong connections to the local community.
The façade of the nursery is very distinctive with its ceramic mural by Meredith Plain, and it gives an indication of the wide range of art that can be found in the gallery within the nursery. The web pages of the gallery can seen here.
This post is part of the Monday Murals meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme.









Sunday, 20 April 2014

ST GEORGE'S, THORNBURY

St George's Greek Orthodox Church is located 64 St David St, Thornbury, Victoria 3071. It is housed in an older church of St David, which was decommissioned and the property sold. St George's was initially housed at the corner of Martin and Armadale Streets, Thornbury. It later relocated to its current site in St. David St, which was purchased in the 1970s. Today it serves local parishioners every week.

The photos are from Good Friday immediately after the liturgy, when the faithful are adoring the Epitaphios. The Epitaphios (Greek: Ἐπιτάφιος, epitáphios, or Ἐπιτάφιον, epitáphion) is an icon, today most often found as a large cloth, embroidered and often richly adorned, which is used during the liturgies of Good Friday and Holy Saturday in the Eastern Orthodox Churches and those Eastern Catholic Churches which follow the Byzantine Rite. It also exists in painted or mosaic form, on wall or panel. The Epitaphios is also a common short form of the Epitáphios Thrēnos, the “Lamentation upon the Grave” in Greek, which is the main part of the service of the Matins of Holy Saturday, served in Good Friday evening.

In Greek churches, an elaborately carved canopy, called a “kouvouklion”, stands over the Epitaphios. This bier or catafalque represents the Tomb of Christ, and is made of wood. On Good Friday morning, the bier is decorated with spring flowers, mostly white, red, and purple, until it is covered by the flowers in its entirety. The Tomb is often sprinkled with flower petals and rosewater, decorated with candles, and ceremonially censed as a mark of respect. The bells of the church are tolled mournfully, and in traditionally Orthodox countries, flags are lowered to half-mast. Then the priest and faithful adore the Epitaphios as the choir chants hymns.

The faithful continue to visit the tomb and venerate the Epitaphios throughout the afternoon and evening, until Matins—which is usually served in the evening during Holy Week, so that the largest number of people can attend. The form which the veneration of the epitaphios takes will vary between ethnic traditions. Some will make three prostrations, then kiss the image of Christ on the Epitaphios and the Gospel Book, and then make three more prostrations. Sometimes, the faithful will crawl under the table on which the Epitaphios has been placed, as though entering into death with Christ. Others may simply light a candle and/or say a short prayer with bowed head.

In the evening, the Kouvouklion carrying the Epitaphion is carried in procession along the neighbourhood streets by the chanting priest and deacons, while the faithful follow it with lit candles. In many towns where more than one parish exists, the processions often converge to a central square, where they temporarily stop and a common Triságion psalm is sung before they resume their routes. On the island of Hydra, the Epitaphios from the Kamíni parish is brought into the sea until the bier bearers are waist-high in the water, as a special blessing for those who have perished at sea. In larger towns the procession is led by a local marching band playing funeral marches; in some cities the Epitaphios is escorted by military detachments, their arms in the mourning (muzzle towards the ground) position.

At the end of the procession, the Epitaphios is brought back to the church. Sometimes, after the clergy carry the Epitaphios in, they will stop just inside the entrance to the church, and hold the Epitaphios above the door, so that all who enter the church will pass under it (symbolically entering into the grave with Christ) and then kiss the Gospel Book. The flowers that decorated the Kouvouklion will be distributed to the faithful who will place them near the holy icons.


This post is part of the inSPIREd Sunday meme.







And here is the Resurrection chant, as sung by Petros Gaitanos:

Saturday, 19 April 2014

CROWN REFLECTIONS

Crown Casino and Entertainment Complex is a large casino and entertainment precinct located on the south bank of the Yarra River, in Melbourne, Australia. Here is the foyer, with its highly polished floors, quite conducive to showing reflections off well.

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





Friday, 18 April 2014

LUNAR ECLIPSE IN MELBOURNE

A total lunar eclipse took place on April 15, 2014. It is the first of two total lunar eclipses in 2014, and the first in a tetrad (four total lunar eclipses in series). Subsequent eclipses in the tetrad are those of October 8, 2014, April 4, 2015, and September 28, 2015.

The eclipse was visible in the Pacific Ocean region, including Australia and New Zealand, as well as the Americas. The moon passed south of the centre of the Earth's shadow. As a result, the northern part of the moon was noticeably darker than the southern part. It occurred during the ascending phase of the moon's orbit, part of lunar saros 122.

The eclipse was visible in Melbourne at moonrise and fortunately we had a clear sky. I took some photos from home, but it was quite tricky to get the exposure right. These are the best photos I managed to shoot. To the left of the moon, the bright spot is Mars and above the moon is the star Spica in the constellation of Virgo.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme.



Thursday, 17 April 2014

MELBOURNE STREET TREES 70 - TEA TREE

Leptospermum is a genus of flowering trees and shrubs in the family Myrtaceae, which is native to Australia, New Zealand. Called "tea tree" because Captain James Cook in the 18th century brewed a tea from the leaves and gave it to his crew as a scurvy preventative.

These are substantial and useful plants all year round; soft and casual looking (never rigid or formal). Most make a display of five-petalled single flowers (somewhat like tiny wild roses) along stems among the small leaves. Petals surround a hard central cone or cup that matures to a woody seed capsule that hangs on for a long time after the petals drop. Flowers are typically white, pink, or red.

Leptospermum scoparium shown here is the double form, with light pinkish white flowers that darken as they mature. The species has many varieties, which are valuable garden plants, most growing from 1 to 3 metres tall and wide. Not as bold in form or as serviceable in hedges and screens as Leptospermum laevigatum, but the beautiful flowers are showier: Single or double, in white, pink, or red, profuse in spring and summer. Branches densely set with small needlelike green/burgundy leaves. Good in containers.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.







Wednesday, 16 April 2014

CREEK AFTER RAIN

Darebin Creek running through the Darebin Parklands, which after some rain began to flow a little more heavily. Melbourne is experiencing some mellow Autumn days currently.

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



Tuesday, 15 April 2014

EASTER SHOPPING IN COBURG

Coburg is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 8 km north of Melbourne's central business district. Its local government area is the City of Moreland, although a handful of properties on Coburg's eastern boundary are located in the City of Darebin. At the 2011 Census, Coburg had a population of 24,977.

Coburg's boundaries are Gaffney Street and Murray Road in the north, Elizabeth Street and Merri Creek in the east, Moreland Road in the South and Melville Road, Devon Avenue, Sussex Street and West Street in the west. Coburg is designated one of 26 Principal Activity Centres in the Melbourne 2030 Metropolitan Strategy.

The main commercial activity in Coburg is the precinct between Coburg railway station and Sydney Road. Coburg doesn't have an enclosed shopping mall, though it does have four shopping arcades on the west side of Sydney Road. Coburg's main commercial precinct comprises about 250 shops, a small indoor market, several supermarkets and discount stores arranged around large, ground level car parks.

In the 1990s the Victoria Street pedestrian mall was revamped with native trees and bluestone paving and has become an extremely popular place for locals to congregate and enjoy cheap coffee. While Coburg Shopping Centre is very busy during the day, its modest number of restaurants, cafes and bars means that it can be quiet in the evenings. The commercial strip of Sydney Road is continuous from Coburg's southern neighbour Brunswick, but it has a very different character, having so far remained ungentrified.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme.