Sunday 30 June 2019


We've had a couple of days of cold, grey and rainy weather as the month of June ends. Nevertheless, the weather does not deter the keen photographer who shields camera under an umbrella in order to get a seasonal shot!

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Saturday 29 June 2019


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. Its sister species is the sacred ibis. 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, Melbourne, the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Townsville. In recent years the bird has also become increasing common in Perth, Western Australia and surrounding towns in south-western Australia. Populations have disappeared from natural breeding areas such as the Macquarie Marshes in north-western New South Wales. Management plans have been introduced to control problematic urban populations in Sydney.

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

Friday 28 June 2019


Evening falls in Southbank with the western sky reflected in the windows of the apartment buildings across the way.

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

Thursday 27 June 2019


Arctotis is a genus of annual and perennial plants in the family Asteraceae. Arctotis is native to dry stony slopes in southern Africa. Some of the plants are alternatively placed in the genus Venidium. The common name is "African daisy", or "Gousblom" in Afrikaans.

These plants have daisy-like composite flowers which tend to close in the late afternoon or in dull weather, but numerous cultivars have been developed for garden use which stay open for longer, and are available in a wide range of colours. Tender perennials are often grown in temperate regions as half-hardy annuals. The garden hybrid A. × hybrida hort. 'Flame' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 26 June 2019


Acacia pycnantha (Golden Wattle) is Australia's national floral emblem. It is a native tree which flowers in late winter and spring, producing a mass of fragrant, fluffy, yellow flowers. Although wattles, and in particular the Golden Wattle, have been the informal floral emblem of Australia for many years, it was not until Australia’s bicentenary in 1988 that the Golden Wattle was formally adopted as the Floral Emblem of Australia. The date of gazettal was 1 September which was marked by a ceremony at the Australian National Botanic Gardens which included the planting of a Golden Wattle by Hazel Hawke, the Prime Minister’s wife. In 1992, 1 September was formally declared as "National Wattle Day".

Golden Wattle occurs in south-eastern Australia from South Australia’s southern Eyre Peninsula into western Victoria and northwards into inland areas of southern New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory. It is found in the understory of open eucalypt forests on dry, shallow soils. It is naturalised in areas within all the southern states of Australia as well as South Africa and California.

The Darebin Parklands have a multitude of wattle species growing throughout the area, including the Golden Wattle. Once the wattles start to bloom and their cheerful yellow flowers brighten the bushland in mid- to late Winter, one knows that Spring is just around the corner.

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 25 June 2019


Early risers in Melbourne can be treated by sights like this by the shores of the Yarra River, right in the CBD. Black swans (Cygnus atratus) are a common sight, as of course are the omnipresent coots.

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 June 2019


Restaurant interior at Melbourne's Southbank, a neighbourhood well-known for its eateries, bars, hotels and entertainment precinct.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Saturday 22 June 2019


The Australian wood duck, maned duck or maned goose (Chenonetta jubata) is a dabbling duck found throughout much of Australia. It is the only living species in the genus Chenonetta. Traditionally placed in the subfamily Anatinae (dabbling ducks), it might belong to the subfamily Tadorninae (shelducks); the ringed teal may be its closest living relative.

This 45–51 cm duck looks like a small goose, and feeds mostly by grazing in flocks. The male is grey with a dark brown head and mottled breast. The female has white stripes above and below the eye and mottled underparts. Both sexes have grey wings with black primaries and a white speculum. Juveniles are similar to adult females, but lighter and with a more streaky breast.

The Australian wood duck is widespread in Australia, including Tasmania. The Australian wood duck is found in grasslands, open woodlands, wetlands, flooded pastures and along the coast in inlets and bays. It is also common on farmland with dams, as well as around rice fields, sewage ponds and in urban parks. It will often be found around deeper lakes that may be unsuitable for other waterbirds' foraging, as it prefers to forage on land. It is classified as a game bird, and killed by licensed hunters. This species is not threatened, and numbers are stable.

Australian wood duck nests in cavities in trees or in nest-boxes above or near water. Nests are made with a pile of down. This duck nests in a tree cavity laying 9–11 cream-white eggs, similar to the Mandarin ducks. The female incubates them while the male stands guard. Once the ducklings are ready to leave the nest, the female flies to the ground and the duckling will leap to the ground and follow their parents. Like Mandarin drakes, the males also secure their ducklings closely along with the females.

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

Friday 21 June 2019


We are just experiencing the Winter Solstice in Australia on June 21. The word solstice came into Middle English from Old French, from the Latin solstitium. This is a compound of sol- (sun) and -stitium (a stoppage), so the word means “the sun stands still”, reflecting the time when the Sun apparently stops moving north or south and then begins moving in the opposite direction.

In every year, there are two solstices. In the northern hemisphere, the June solstice happens when the Earth’s north pole is tilted its maximum amount towards the Sun. The December solstice happens when the north pole is most tilted away from the Sun. Thus, the June solstice is the day with the most sunshine, and the December solstice has the longest night. The opposite is true in southern hemisphere, with the Winter and Summer solstices in June and December respectively.

Appropriately, on this shortest day of the year, we've had a very wintry day with cold, rainy weather. However, in the afternoon the sun came out briefly as if to promise that from now on the day will start to grow longer.

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

Thursday 20 June 2019


Leucanthemum × superbum (or Shasta daisy) is a commonly grown flowering herbaceous perennial plant in the family Asteraceae with the classic daisy appearance of white petals (ray florets) around a yellow disc, similar to the oxeye daisy Leucanthemum vulgare Lam. but larger. Shasta daisies are characterised by a distinct odour which some find unpleasant.

It originated as a hybrid produced in 1890 by the American horticulturist Luther Burbank from a number of daisies. First, he crossed Leucanthemum vulgare with Leucanthemum maximum (Ramond) DC.; this double hybrid was itself crossed with Leucanthemum lacustre (Brot.) Samp. The resulting Leucanthemum triple hybrid was crossed with Nipponanthemum nipponicum (Franch. ex Maxim.) Kitam., creating an intergeneric cross of species from three continents. It was named after Mount Shasta, because its petals were the colour of the snow.

Some members of the genus are considered noxious weeds, but the Shasta daisy remains a favourite garden plant and ground-cover. Many cultivars are suitable for cut flowers, such as 'Becky', 'Esther Read', 'Silberprinzesschen' (Silver Princess), 'Snow Lady', 'Tinkerbell', 'Wirral Pride', 'Wirral Supreme'. The cultivar 'T.E. Killin' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. The illustrated variety is 'Snowdrift', which we have growing in our garden.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 19 June 2019


Xerophilous | zɪəˈrɒfɪləs, zɛˈrɒfɪləs | adjective Botany & Zoology
(of a plant or animal) adapted to a very dry climate or habitat, or to conditions where moisture is scarce.
from Greek, xēros, meaning 'dry', and philos, meaning 'loving'
xerophile | ˈzɪərə(ʊ)fʌɪl | noun

The wooded area of Australia contains a large number of xerophilous trees and woody shrubs which thrive in regions receiving less than 25 cm of rain per annum. Country devoid of tree growth is rare, the conditions being due to lack of suitable soil rather than lack of rainfall. Sand dunes, rock exposures, and clay pans are the most common treeless areas.

The Darebin Parklands are in a typical dry sclerophyll (Greek: 'tough' + 'leaf') habitat. Dry Sclerophyll Forest (DrySF) is found on a range of clay-loam, sandy-loam and shallow rocky soils of exposed hillsides, mostly between 200 and 1000 m above sea level, with rainfall between 550 and 1000 mm a year. About half of the area once supporting DrySF in Victoria falls on public land while a little over one fifth is represented in conservation parks and reserves. About 45% of all DrySF has been permanently cleared for agriculture or urban development. In a dry sclerophyll forest, xerophilous species abound. Such habitats can withstand long periods of drought successfully, with regeneration when rain falls.

DrySF is an ecosystem with relatively small and often crooked, spreading trees, usually less than 25 m tall, over a normally sparse understory of wattles and small-leafed shrubs, and a dense and species-rich ground cover of grasses and small herbs. The tree canopy is usually a mixture of stringybarks (commonly Eucalyptus macrorhyncha - Red Stringybark, Eucalyptus obliqua - Messmate, Eucalyptus globoidea - White Stringybark), boxes (commonly Eucalyptus polyanthemos - Red Box, Eucalyptus goniocalyx - Long-leaf Box), peppermints (commonly Eucalyptus radiata - Narrow-leaf Peppermint, Eucalyptus dives - Broad-leaf Peppermint) and gum-barked species (commonly Eucalyptus viminalis - Mannah Gum, Eucalyptus cypellocarpa - Mountain Grey-gum, Eucalyptus melliodora - Yellow Box). The composition of the canopy varies from place to place and sometimes according to the history of forest use but in any area of forest there is seldom fewer than five eucalypt species.

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 18 June 2019


Elwood is a suburb of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, 8 km south of Melbourne's Central Business District. Its local government area is the City of Port Phillip. At the 2011 Census, Elwood had a population of 14,638. Elwood Beach is a popular bayside beach destination during summer, where the beaches are used recreationally for windsurfing, cycling, cricket and walking. The suburb has experienced ongoing gentrification, known for its mix of Edwardian and Interwar architecture character, its beaches and its leafy streets, many of which are lined by London Plane trees.

We lived in this suburb for quite a few years and this is where I went to High School, so I have some very good memories and it's always nice going back for a wander in its streets (yes, it has changed quite a lot...). Bike and walking paths by the sea are a great idea and do induce people to get out and do some exercise.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Sunday 16 June 2019


Crassula ovata, commonly known as jade plant, lucky plant, money plant or money tree, is a succulent plant with small pink or white flowers. It is native to South Africa and Mozambique, and is common as a houseplant worldwide. Much of its popularity stems from the low levels of care needed; the jade plant requires little water and can survive in most indoor conditions. It is sometimes referred to as the money tree; however, Pachira aquatica also has this nickname.

Honey bees are a subset of bees in the genus Apis, primarily distinguished by the production and storage of honey and the construction of perennial, colonial nests out of wax. Honey bees are the only extant members of the tribe Apini, all in the genus Apis. Currently, there are only seven recognised species of honey bee with a total of 44 subspecies, though historically, anywhere from six to eleven species have been recognised. Honey bees represent only a small fraction of the approximately 20,000 known species of bees. Some other types of related bees produce and store honey, but only members of the genus Apis are true honey bees.

Most species have historically been cultured or at least exploited for honey and beeswax by humans indigenous to their native ranges. Only two of these species have been truly domesticated, one (Apis mellifera) at least since the time of the building of the Egyptian pyramids, and only that species has been moved extensively beyond its native range.  Species of Apis are generalist floral visitors, and will pollinate a large variety of plants, but by no means all plants. Of all the honey bee species, only Apis mellifera has been used extensively for commercial pollination of crops and other plants. The value of these pollination services is commonly measured in the billions of dollars.

There has been a worldwide decline in bee numbers in the last decades. The main reasons for global bee-decline are industrial agriculture, parasites/pathogens and climate change. The loss of biodiversity, destruction of habitat and lack of forage due to monocultures and bee-killing pesticides are particular threats for honeybees and wild pollinators. It is becoming increasingly evident that some insecticides, at concentrations applied routinely in the current chemical-intensive agriculture system, exert clear, negative effects on the health of pollinators – both individually and at the colony level. The observed, sub-lethal, low-dose effects of insecticides on bees are various and diverse. The extinction of bees could have dire effects on the environment and would impact adversely on humans.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Friday 14 June 2019


Four moments taken in a day, with each one documenting the sky at the time. Cold and fine in the morning, with clouds massing in the afternoon, while rain came in the evening and into the night.

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

Thursday 13 June 2019


Chives is the common name of Allium schoenoprasum, in the family Amaryllidaceae. As most of the other species of the Allium genus, chives are a choice edible herb. A perennial plant, it is widespread in nature across much of Europe, Asia and North America. A. schoenoprasum is the only species of Allium native to both the New and the Old Worlds. 

The name of the species derives from the Greek σχοίνος, skhoínos (sedge) and πράσον, práson (leek). Its English name, chives, derives from the French word cive, from cepa, the Latin word for onion. Chives are a commonly used herb and can be found in grocery stores or grown in home gardens. In culinary use, the scapes and the unopened, immature flower buds are diced and used as an ingredient for fish, potatoes, soups, and other dishes. Chives have insect-repelling properties that can be used in gardens to control pests.

The flowers are pale purple, and star-shaped with six petals, 1–2 cm wide, and produced in a dense inflorescence of 10-30 together; before opening, the inflorescence is surrounded by a papery bract. The seeds are produced in a small three-valved capsule, maturing in summer. The herb flowers from April to May in the southern parts of its habitat zones and in June in the northern parts.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 12 June 2019


Wominjeka means ‘welcome’ in the Wurundjeri and Dja Dja Wurrung languages of Melbourne and central Victoria.

The Spiritual Healing Trail in the Darebin Parklands was the conception of "Uncle Reg" (Reginald Amos Blow 1939-2012), an Aboriginal Elder. Fortunately he was able to conduct reconciliation walks before he passed away. The idea of the Trail was to unite all Australians spiritually by getting them to walk together:

"Bunjil created Darebin Creek and surrounding bushland for people to find joy and be at peace within themselves and others. The Wurundjeri clan of the Woiwurrung people have cared for this land, and enjoyed it, through many millennia. The Spiritual Healing Trail is a gift from the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community as a gesture of reconciliation."

As you enter Darebin Parklands, you are embarking on a spiritual journey, into the realm of nature and possibilities, as you walk toward the gum trees, let the leaves welcome and refresh you, allow them to relieve any stress, tension and division from your mind, to encourage you to focus on the reason for your visit, so Wominjeka!

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 11 June 2019


It is very good now and then to go out and have a lovely meal with compatible company in a restaurant where the food and service are good and the milieu is agreeable. Such was the case recently when we went and dined in Melbourne’s “Waterfront Port” Restaurant. The restaurant is just outside Station Pier (Melbourne’s passenger ship harbour) and the picture windows face out over the port, where one can watch the ships sailing in and out and the seabirds scrambling for tasty seafood morsels. Meanwhile, the lapping of the waves outside and the companionable hubbub of fellow diners inside make of the experience an extremely pleasant one. Obviously, seafood is very much on the menu, but not only.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Travel Tuesday meme,
and also part of the Wordless Wednesday meme.

Monday 10 June 2019


We've had some rain in the last couple of days, with more forecast for this week. I'm always happy to see rain as our garden always needs it, and our water storage dams need filling!

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

Sunday 9 June 2019


Since 1886, St John’s Primary School has served the families and parish of Clifton Hill with a vision of school as a way of life. Today, St John’s is a vibrant mix of the old and the new, maintaining the Catholic tradition. The mural is located on the front of the School, facing Queen's Parade on Clifton Hill and has been created by Colleen Burke, who is a Melbourne-based artist and creator. Burke originally trained in Theatre and Theatre Design at Rusden, followed by studies in Fine Art and also Textile Design at RMIT.

Burke has been commissioned to produce events and designs and to curate exhibitions for Melbourne Fringe, The L’Oreal Melbourne Fashion Festival, Melbourne Museum, State of Design Festival and the Melbourne International Arts Festival. See: The mural, which Burke created with the help of the schoolchildren celebrates the Christian values of Love, Hope, Faith and Charity and contains some charming images and beautifully vibrant colours.

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.

Saturday 8 June 2019


Wintry day on the Yarra River in Fairfield Park, in Melbourne's inner suburbs. Ducks don't mind the wet and cold weather!

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

Friday 7 June 2019

Thursday 6 June 2019


Duranta erecta is a species of flowering shrub in the verbena family Verbenaceae, native from Mexico to South America and the Caribbean. It is widely cultivated as an ornamental plant in tropical and subtropical gardens throughout the world, and has become naturalised in many places. It is considered an invasive species in Australia, China, South Africa and on several Pacific Islands.

The genus name is in honour of Castore Durante, a fifteenth-century Italian botanist. The specific epithet erecta means "upright" in Latin. The plant is also known as D. repens, from the Latin for "creeping". The latter name was originally used to identify smaller-leaved varieties of the species. Common names include golden dewdrop, pigeon berry, and skyflower. In Mexico, the native Nahuatl name for the plant is xcambocoché. In Tonga it is known as mavaetangi (tears of departure). Duranta is registered as an invasive weed by many councils of Australia. It is a prolific, fast growing weed that is spread by birds from domestic areas to natural reserves. It was introduced and marketed as a hedge plant some years ago. Many people now fight to keep this thorny pest under control. It is highly ranked in the most invasive weeds in Australia.

Duranta erecta is a sprawling shrub or (infrequently) a small tree. It can grow to 6 m tall and can spread to an equal width. Mature specimens possess axillary thorns, which are often absent on younger specimens. The leaves are light green, elliptic to ovate, opposite, and grow up to 7.5 cm long and 3.5 cm broad, with a 1.5 cm petiole. The flowers are light-blue or lavender, produced in tight clusters located on terminal and axillary stems, blooming almost all year long. The fruit is a small globose yellow or orange berry, up to 11 mm diameter and containing several seeds. The leaves and berries of the plant are toxic, and are confirmed to have killed children, dogs and cats. However, songbirds eat the fruit without ill effects.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday 5 June 2019


There are many an opportunity in the Darebin Parklands to climb on higher ground and enjoy the vista spreading out in front of one's eyes. Whether it's the City skyline, ponds or creeks, lawns or wooded areas, the view is always pleasant and refreshing for the soul!

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 4 June 2019


View of the Bolte Bridge in Melbourne, which spans the Yarra River and Victoria Harbour in the Docklands precinct to the west of the Melbourne CBD. Construction took three years from 1996 to 1999 and cost $75 million.

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 2 June 2019


A wintry night in Melbourne tonight, with cold, rain and darkness. If you're on your way to your cosy home, spare a thought for the homeless out there...

This post is part of the My Sunday Best meme.