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.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

AUSTRALIAN WOOD DUCK

The Australian Wood Duck (Chenonetta jubata) also called the Maned Duck is very common throughout Australia and can be found in most suburban parks and waterways. They are also seen in woodland areas often perching in the trees. The male is on the left, front and has the darker head, while the female behind to the right is more speckled and has a lighter-coloured head. Here they are seen in the Darebin Parklands in Melbourne.

This post is part of the Weekend Reflections meme,
and also 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, 13 July 2017

DIANTHUS AMURENSIS

Dianthus amurensis is a short-lived perennial dianthus that is similar to Dianthus chinensis except for its perennial habit and purple-pink flowers that are often solitary. It is native to the Amur River region of Siberia. Genus name comes from the Greek words Dios meaning "of Zeus" and anthos meaning flower. Specific epithet means from the Amur River area in eastern Asia.

'Siberian Blue' (frequently sold in commerce as 'Siberian Blues') is an Amur pink cultivar that produces reddish-violet to lavender-blue flowers on stems rising to 30 cm tall over a bushy sprawling mound of lance-shaped green leaves (each to 5 cm long). Flowers bloom solitary or in three-flowered inflorescences. Flowers typically bloom from late spring to frost. This is a striking dianthus that is eye-catching and unusual. The lilac-coloured flowers form a wonderful display in a garden bed or in a rockery.

Amur pinks are short-lived perennials that may be grown from seed. They are best grown in gritty, medium moisture, well-drained soils in full sun. Drought tolerant once established. Start seed indoors 6-8 weeks before last spring frost date. Set out seedlings and/or purchased plants 1-2 weeks before last spring frost date. Plantings are less apt to burn out in poorly drained soils or in hot and humid summers than some other species of dianthus. Deadhead spent flowers to prolong bloom. When flowering declines, plants may be sheared to promote additional bloom.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

AMORGOS, GREECE

Amorgos (Greek: Αμοργός) is the easternmost island of the Greek Cyclades island group, and the nearest island to the neighbouring Dodecanese island group. Along with several neighbouring islets, the largest of which is Nikouria Island, it comprises the municipality of Amorgos, which has a land area of 126.346 square kilometres, and a population of 1,973 (2011 census).

Due to Amorgos' position opposite the ancient beaches of Ionian towns, such as Militos, Alikarnassos and Ephesos, it became one of the first places from which the Ionians passed through to the Cyclades Islands and onto the Greek mainland.

Throughout history, Amorgos was also known as Yperia, Patagy, or Platagy, Pagali, Psichia and Karkisia. Amorgos features a lot of remnants of ancient civilisations. At the time of Archaic Greece, there were three independent city-states there. They are believed to have featured autonomous constitutions but the same currency. Amorgos is distinguished by the size and quality of the walls surrounding the city of Arkesini, by the ancient towers whose remains are scattered all over the island, by the ancient tombs, the stone tools, the inscriptions, the vases and by other antiquities. Due to the name Minoa we suspect that Amorgos had been colonised by the Cretans from ancient times, but there are no archaeological remains supporting this view.

Tourism is increasing slowly, although the geography of the island prevents mass tourism. Amorgos is accessible only by boat. The three main places of tourist accommodation are Katapola, Aegiali and Chora. Hike paths are relatively well maintained. Other activities are scuba diving, wellness activities, and the beaches (although it is not the main attraction of the island compared to other Greek islands). The chapel of St Anne is shown here.

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 July 2017