Rhododendron (from Ancient Greek ῥόδον rhódon "rose" and δένδρον déndron "tree") is a genus of 1,024 species of woody plants in the heath family (Ericaceae), either evergreen or deciduous, and found mainly in Asia, although it is also widespread throughout the highlands of the Appalachian Mountains of North America. It is the national flower of Nepal. Most species have brightly coloured flowers which bloom from late winter through to early summer. Azaleas make up two subgenera of Rhododendron. They are distinguished from "true" rhododendrons by having only five anthers per flower. This is Rhododendron 'Old Port', a very attractive catawbiense hybrid with a vigorous, dense, domed-shaped habit and glossy evergreen foliage reaching 1.8m in 10 years. Eye-catching, cerise-coloured flowers unfold in trusses in late Winter with frilled lobes with a distinct, blackish-purple splash on the upper lip. Requires semi-shaded position and rich, acidic, well-drained soil. Very hardy. This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.
Skiathos (Greek: Σκιάθος) is a small Greek island in the northwest Aegean Sea. Skiathos is the westernmost island in the Northern Sporades group, east of the Pelion peninsula in Magnesia on the mainland, and west of the island of Skopelos. The island has a north to southwestern direction and is about 12 kilometres long and 6 kilometres wide on average. The coastline is indented with inlets, capes and peninsulas. The southeast and southwest parts have gentler slopes and that is where most settlements and facilities are located. The terrain is more rugged on the north coast, with the highest peak at 433 m on mount Karafiltzanaka. The main town is Skiathos (pop. 4,883 in 2011), in the eastern part of the island. Other main settlements are Kalyvia (312), Troullos (158), Χanemos (143), Koukounaries (119), and Achladies - shown below (118). Despite its small size, Skiathos with its many beaches and wooded landscape is a popular tourist destination. It has over 60, mostly sandy, beaches scattered around the 44 km coastline. Some of these are Troulos, Vromolimnos, Koukounaries, Asselinos, Megali Ammos and Mandraki. 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.
The 14-spotted Ladybird (Propylea quatuordecimpunctata) is a small lady beetle, belonging to the family Coccinellidae. It is sometimes referred to by the common name 14-spotted ladybird beetle, or simply P-14. The beetles are 3.5 to 4.5 millimetres long and have an uncommon variety of forms. There are well over 100 different colour and pattern variations. Some differ to the extent that they are first considered separate species. The background colour ranges from cream through yellow to light orange, but not red. Usually they have 14 black, almost rectangular spots on the elytra, but only rarely there are 14 separate spots. Most commonly, several of the spots fuse into larger markings, particularly along the midline, where they often create a shape resembling an anchor, sometimes fusing to such an extent that the yellow disappears almost completely as to render the body almost entirely black except for 12 pale yellow spots. The pronotum is whitish or pale yellow, with four to eight black spots. The antennae and legs are yellowish brown. This species is native and widespread in the Old World, where it can be found from the southern countries up to the Arctic Circle and in Asia. It is found in Australia and is invasive in North America. These beetles live from lowlands to the subalpine areas, and can be found on deciduous trees and herbaceous plants in meadows and fields, forests, gardens and parks. A female lays about 400 eggs. This is necessary as there is often a high mortality among the larvae. The beetles overwinter twice. This post is part of the Macro Monday meme, and also part of the Through my Lens meme, and also part of theSeasons meme.
Welcome to the meme, "My Sunday Best", which is a photographic and creative meme that allows you to showcase your talents in imaging. Every Sunday, you can post here showing an image you have created using your camera, (and/or) image processing software, and/or painting and drawing in the conventional way and have scanned in. The rules are simple: 1) Create your image and post it up on your blog; 2) Put the "My Sunday Best" logo image link somewhere on your post so people can click and come by here; 3) Leave a comment here once you have posted; 4) Visit other posters' blogs and be amazed with their creativity! Please do not use this meme to advertise your goods or services. This is a creative meme and any inappropriate links or comments shall be removed immediately!
Wave Rock is a natural rock formation that is shaped like a tall breaking ocean wave. The “wave” is about 14 m high and around 110 m long. It forms the north side of a solitary hill, which is known as “Hyden Rock”. This hill, which is a granite inselberg, lies about 3 km east of the small town of Hyden and 296 km east-southeast of Perth, Western Australia. Wave Rock and Hyden Rock are part of a 160 ha nature reserve, Hyden Wildlife Park. A wall lies above Wave Rock about halfway up Hyden Rock and follows the contours of the wall. It collects and funnels rainwater to a storage dam. The wall and dam were constructed in December 1928 by the Public Works Department for the original settlers of East Karlgarin District. Both were renovated in 1951 to increase water capacity for the Hyden Township. Such walls are common on many similar rocks in the Wheatbelt. Wave Rock has cultural significance to the indigenous Ballardong people. Local tribes believed that the rock was a creation of the Rainbow Serpent, and was created in her wake by dragging her swollen body over the land after she had consumed all of the water in the land. They respected this area as an icon of cultural learning; a moral from this Dreamtime tale was to be remembered for life. More than 140,000 tourists visit Wave Rock every year.
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. The only bird with which the Eurasian Coot can be confused is the similarly sized, dark grey Dusky Moorhen (Gallinula tenebrosa family Rallidae). These species are often found together, but the Dusky Moorhen has a reddish-orange head shield and bill, with a yellow tip. The drab, slaty-black plumage of the Dusky Moorhen is relieved only by a handful of white feathers in its undertail, which are flashed conspicuously when the bird is alarmed or while it is feeding on land: The bird spreads its tail and flicking it up and down rapidly. However, the bare parts of the species are far more colourful: it has a reddish-orange shield on its forehead, a bright-red beak with a canary-yellow tip, red legs and red or orange toes that have yellow fringes. This post is part of the Saturday Critters meme, and also part of the Camera Critters meme.
Aloe arborescens (krantz aloe, candelabra aloe) is a species of striking flowering succulent perennial plant that belongs to the Aloe genus, which it shares with the well known and studied Aloe vera. This species is also relatively popular among gardeners and has recently been studied for possible medical uses. The specific epithet arborescens means "tree-like". Aloe arborescens is a large multi-headed sprawling succulent, its specific name indicating that it sometimes reaches tree size. Typical height for this species 2–3 metres high. Its leaves are succulent and are green with a slight blue tint. Its leaves are armed with small spikes along its edges and are arranged in rosettes situated at the end of branches. Flowers are arranged in a type of inflorescence called a raceme. The racemes are not branched but two to several can sprout from each rosette. Flowers are cylindrical in shape and are a vibrant red/orange colour. The plant is endemic to the south eastern part of Southern Africa. Specifically, this range includes the countries of South Africa, Malawi, Mozambique and Zimbabwe. It has the third largest distribution amongst the aloe genus. Although Aloe arborescens has adapted to many different habitats, its natural habitat usually consists of mountainous areas including rocky outcrops and exposed ridges. Its common name krantz aloe refers to the Afrikaans word "krantz", which means a rocky cliff. Its habitat can vary and is one of only a few species of aloe that is found growing from sea level up to the tops of mountains. Aloe arborescens is valued by gardeners for its architectural qualities, its succulent green leaves, large vibrantly-coloured flowers, and winter blooming. The sweet nectar attracts birds, butterflies and bees. With a minimum temperature of 10 °C, in temperate regions it is grown under glass. The cultivar A. arborescens 'Variegata' has gained the Royal Horticultural Society's Award of Garden Merit. This aloe is easily propagated by cuttings. This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.
Eggs are laid by female animals of many different species, including birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish, and have been eaten by humans for thousands of years. Bird and reptile eggs consist of a protective eggshell, albumen (egg white), and vitellus (egg yolk), contained within various thin membranes. The most popular choice for egg consumption are chicken eggs. Other popular choices for egg consumption are duck, quail, roe, and caviar. Egg yolks and whole eggs store significant amounts of protein and choline, and are widely used in cookery. Due to their protein content, the United States Department of Agriculture categorises eggs as Meats within the Food Guide Pyramid.Despite the nutritional value of eggs, there are some potential health issues arising from egg quality, storage, and individual allergies. Here are some interesting egg recipes: * Eggs Benjamin * Perfect poached eggs * Oeufs en Cocotte * Spanish omelette * Kuku sabzi This post is part of the Wordless Wednesday meme, and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.