Friday 30 November 2018


After some rather cool and unseasonal weather for late Spring, today we had quite a beautiful day perfect for ushering in Summer... This is one of the ponds in the Darebin Parklands in suburban Melbourne.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme,
and also part of the Friday Photo Journal meme.

Thursday 29 November 2018


A day trip to Gippsland and the lush springtime countryside is a wonderful sight. In the foreground, wild radish (Raphanus raphanistrum - white charlock or jointed charlock - is a flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae). To the right, the flowering shrub is hawthorn (Crataegus - May-tree - a large genus of shrubs and trees in the family Rosaceae, native to temperate regions of the Northern Hemisphere in Europe, Asia and North America).

Both of these are introduced species and classified as environmental weeds in many parts of Australia. However, they are a very pretty seasonal sight reminiscent of European meadows and hedgerows.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 28 November 2018


Aechmea fasciata (urn plant) is a species of flowering plant in the Bromeliaceae family, native to Brazil. This plant is probably the best known species in this genus, and it is often grown as a houseplant in temperate areas. It has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

The plant grows slowly, reaching 30–90 cm in height, with a spread of up to 60 cm. It has elliptic–oval-shaped leaves 45–90 cm long and arranged in a basal rosette pattern, resembling an urn. A. fasciata requires partial shade and a well-drained, but moisture-retentive soil. It can also be grown epiphytically, as, for example, with moss around its roots and wired to rough bark. Root rot can be a problem if the soil is too moist. Scale insects and mosquitos will sometimes breed in the pools of water that are trapped between the leaves. 

A. fasciata is listed in the FDA Poisonous Plant Database under the section for "Skin irritating substances in plants" and is known to cause contact dermatitis, phytophotodermatitis, and contact allergy.

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

Tuesday 27 November 2018


Werribee Open Range Zoo is an African themed zoo in Werribee, about 32 kilometres south-west of Melbourne. It is part of the Zoological Parks and Gardens Board or 'Zoos Victoria' which also includes Melbourne Zoo and Healesville Sanctuary. It is situated on approximately 225 hectares (560 acres) and is located on the Werribee River in Werribee Park, adjacent to the Werribee Mansion. It was originally agistment land to the Melbourne Zoo.

Visitors to the zoo can take a bus tour, which normally lasts 35–40 minutes, multiple times a day, and takes up to 140 people per bus. The tour includes animals such as the hippo as well as animals of the grassland, such as zebra, waterbuck, giraffe, ostrich and rhinoceros, as well as the camel and the oryx. The zoo has a simulated African village, with educational and entertaining features, including a mock scenario of an African ranger and his adventures tracking lions, and an interactive soundscape walk with simulated lion sounds surrounding the walker.

There are two independent trails that visitors may follow: the Pula Reserve Walking Trail which focuses on African animals, including lions, vervet monkeys, cheetahs and meerkats, and the Australian Journey Walk, which focuses on Australian animals, like the koala, emu and kangaroo as well as the cassowary.

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 26 November 2018


While walking in the Parklands, I am always fascinated by the details and I am frequently on all fours taking macro shots while looking closely at something or other...

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme,
and also part of the Macro Monday meme.

Sunday 25 November 2018


Our goldfish swimming happily in their big tank.

A flash of orange,
A splash of cooling water –
A happy goldfish...

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

Saturday 24 November 2018


We have been having unseasonably cool weather and quite a great deal of rain. This seems to have favoured the multiplication of some small critters in the gardens and parks. Here is a small sampling of them in the urban jungle of the Melbourne suburbs.
Harlequin bugs, caterpillars, flies, freshwater crabs, huntsman spiders, green bottle flies, and praying mantis.

This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.

Thursday 22 November 2018


Phlox drummondii in the Polemoniaceae family has been around in various cultivars for many decades. Native to Texas, it is also widely distributed in the southeastern United States, especially along public highways. P. drummondii is often used as an ornamental plant. The flowers have a wide range of colours from white and cream through pinks, lilacs, roses, purples and reds, to almost black.

Phlox drummondii is named after Scottish botanist Thomas Drummond, who sent it and a variety of other plant samples back to Britain following his 1833–1835 expedition to Texas. It is an annual, growing from seed each year. The branches have sharp, pointed, lengthy, ciliated leaves with rounded flowers. The flowers are single or double, with lightly scented, flat, star-shaped petals. The flowers mature to 2.5 cm in diameter. It tolerates cold weather well, but requires plentiful watering and dislikes drought, wind and heat.

A popular cultivar the last few years is the very attractive Phlox drummondii 'Twinkle Stars'. It flowers profusely, is available in a variety of colours and has a characteristic flower shape with deep indentations in the petals, reminiscent of a star. It brightens up the garden and also grows well in containers. It blooms starting early summer and continues all summer long. It likes full sun, but I have been successful with partial shade. It doesn't like being transplanted much so be careful with the root system.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 21 November 2018


The tradition of the “afternoon tea” (often incorrectly called “high tea” - see below) is something that is essentially British and is still alive and well in Britain but also in most of the countries that once used to be British colonies and part of the British Empire, including Australia. It is a particularly civilised institution and elevates the simple act of satisfying one’s mid-afternoon hunger pangs to an art form. Teatime becomes a social occasion as well as a means of satisfying the nutritive needs of one's body...

"High tea" is a meal eaten in the early evening, typically consisting of a cooked dish, bread and butter, and tea. This was typical fare of the working classes and in countries like Australia, it is still customary to call the main evening meal "tea" - I must hurry home and have my tea because my wife is upset if I am late and the food becomes cold.

Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford and lady-in-waiting to Queen Victoria is often credited with the invention of the tradition of afternoon tea in the early 1840s. Traditionally dinner was not served until 8:30 or 9:00 pm and the Duchess often became hungry, especially in the summer when dinner was served even later. She ordered a small meal of bread, butter, and other niceties, such as cakes, tarts, and biscuits, to be brought secretly to her boudoir. When she was exposed she was not ridiculed, as she had feared, but her habit caught on and the concept of a small meal, of niceties and perhaps tea, became popular and eventually known as "afternoon tea". Obviously the origins of the well known British tradition of afternoon tea cannot be credited to only one woman, but evolved over a period of time, as many cultural customs do.

The menu for afternoon tea varied widely and depended very much on the status and wealth of the household involved. However, usually both savoury and sweet selections were available. A traditional menu of a wealthy household may have included the following:

Freshly baked scones (currant or plain) served with clotted cream and homemade preserves
Banbury buns served with sweet butter
Tea cake, Madeira cake, fruit cake (slices)

Assorted tea sandwiches including:
*Cucumber and watercress
*Smoked salmon pinwheels
*Rare roast beef
*Chicken salad with toasted walnuts
*Classic egg salad
*Thinly sliced cheddar and tomato
*Black Forest ham and Swiss cheese

Assorted bite-size sweets including:
*Iced chocolate diamonds
*Miniature fruit tarts
*Fairy cakes with whipped cream
*Miniature cakes filled with a vanilla mousse
*Shortbread fingers
*Handmade chocolate truffles

Seasonal fruit
Cheese and crackers

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

Tuesday 20 November 2018


The Altona Important Bird Area comprises several wetland sites on, or close to, the north-western coast of Port Phillip in Victoria, south-eastern Australia. Collectively they total 1223 hectares in area and lie within, or adjacent to, the western suburbs of the city of Melbourne. They were classified as an Important Bird Area (IBA) because they support more than 1% of the world populations of Red-necked Stint, Chestnut Teal and Pacific Gull.

The IBA includes the undeveloped coast between Williamstown and Seaholme, including the Jawbone Reserve, Altona Coastal Park, Rowden's Swamp, the Cheetham Wetlands, Truganina Swamp, with the Spectacle Lakes complex and RAAF Lake of Point Cook Coastal Park. These contain all the remaining freshwater wetlands, saltpans, intertidal mudflats and shallow inshore waters which support the key bird species.

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 19 November 2018


At the Darebin Parklands in late Spring on a sunny, warm day. One has to admire the view in neat, measured packets of three so as to better take in all the beauty.

This post is part of the Mosaic Monday meme,
and also part of the Blue Monday meme,
and also part of the Through my Lens meme,
and also part of the Seasons meme.

Sunday 18 November 2018


One of the ponds at the Darebin Parklands in suburban Melbourne.

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

Saturday 17 November 2018


The Eurasian Coot (Fulica atra family Rallidae), with its sooty-black plumage and gleaming white bill and frontal shield covering its forehead, is a familiar bird across Europe and Asia as well as Australia. It is often seen running across the water’s surface or swimming in huge flocks on large wetlands, but they equally often occur on small ponds. They require submerged aquatic vegetation or mats of floating waterweed, among which they forage, diving below the surface for up to 20 seconds, or plucking the stems of emergent shoots.

This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme,
and also part of the Saturday Critters meme,
and also part of the Camera Critters meme.

Friday 16 November 2018

Thursday 15 November 2018


Chrysocephalum apiculatum, known by the common names common everlasting and yellow buttons, is a perennial herb native to southern Australia. It is a member of the Asteraceae, the daisy family. It grows in sunny locations on light, well-drained soil in grassy areas. It is an important food plant for the Australian painted lady (Vanessa kershawi), a butterfly. The name "everlasting" was inspired by its use as a long-lasting cut flower. It is increasing in popularity in Australia as a cottage garden plant, but is still not well known.

The common everlasting grows to around 40 centimetres high, with spreading horizontal stems that turn upwards as they get longer. The elongated silvery grey leaves clasp tightly to the stems and are covered in fine, silky hairs. The flower heads are yellow in colour and spherical in shape, around 1 centimetre in diameter each, and often borne in clusters. The florets are minute. Like many daisies, it has seeds which are gradually dispersed on the wind. The seed germinates readily, but has a short viable life.

This plant is currently growing in our garden very happily and its bright yellow flowers look cheerful amongst the other plants. It is also growing in the nearby Darebin Parklands, which approximate its natural wild environment.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.