Thursday, 31 July 2014


Matthiola incana (stock) is a species of flowering plant in the family Brassicaceae. The common name "stock" usually refers to this species, though it may also be applied to the whole genus. M. incana is also known in the USA by the common names hoary stock and ten-week stock. It is a common garden flower, available in a variety of colours, many of which are heavily scented and also used in floristry.

Some stocks are grown as annuals (the "Ten-week Stocks"). These varieties are sown in spring (generally from March onwards in colder areas, earlier in regions with mild winters). They give a good summer flower display. Other varieties take longer to develop and are treated as biennials. These are often referred to as "Brompton stocks". In cool temperate regions they are generally sown in summer to flower in the following spring. The extra trouble of overwintering the plants is compensated for by the showy spring floral display. In hard winters there may be some mortality and a well-drained sheltered site suits them best. Intermediate varieties (sometimes called "East Lothian" stocks as they originated in southern Scotland) may be treated either as annuals or biennials. If treated as annuals they give a fine late summer and autumn display.

Double-flowered stocks are prized by gardeners for their floral display but are sterile. They therefore have to be produced from the seed of single-flowered plants. The double-flowered form is caused by a recessive gene variant (allele) in the homozygous condition. Therefore, according to the Mendelian laws of genetics, heterozygous single-flowered stocks should produce [ "throw" ] one quarter doubles in their offspring and one third of the singles should be pure breeding singles incapable of throwing doubles. Selection over the centuries has greatly improved these ratios, resulting in the so-called "ever-sporting" stocks, in which pure-breeding singles are absent and the proportion of doubles is one half or greater.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 30 July 2014


Canberra is the capital city of Australia. With a population of 381,488, it is Australia's largest inland city and the eighth-largest city overall. The city is located at the northern end of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), 280 km  south-west of Sydney, and 660 km north-east of Melbourne. A resident of Canberra is known as a "Canberran". The site of Canberra was selected for the location of the nation's capital in 1908 as a compromise between rivals Sydney and Melbourne, Australia's two largest cities. It is unusual among Australian cities, being an entirely planned city outside of any state, similar to the American Federal District of Columbia.

Following an international contest for the city's design, a blueprint by the Chicago architects Walter Burley Griffin and Marion Mahony Griffin was selected and construction commenced in 1913. The Griffins' plan featured geometric motifs such as circles, hexagons and triangles, and was centred on axes aligned with significant topographical landmarks in the Australian Capital Territory. The city's design was influenced by the garden city movement and incorporates significant areas of natural vegetation that have earned Canberra the title of the "bush capital".

The growth and development of Canberra were hindered by the World Wars and the Great Depression, which exacerbated a series of planning disputes and the ineffectiveness of a procession of bodies that were created in turn to oversee the development of the city. The national capital emerged as a thriving city after World War II, as Prime Minister Robert Menzies championed its development and the National Capital Development Commission was formed with executive powers. Although the Australian Capital Territory is now self-governing, the federal government retains some influence through the National Capital Authority.

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,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.

Friday, 25 July 2014


Perth is the capital and largest city of the Australian state of Western Australia. It is the fourth most populous city in Australia, with an estimated population of 1.97 million (on 30 June 2013) living in Greater Perth. Part of the South West Land Division of Western Australia, the majority of the metropolitan area of Perth is located on the Swan Coastal Plain, a narrow strip between the Indian Ocean and the Darling Scarp, a low coastal escarpment. The first areas settled were on the Swan River, with the city's central business district and port (Fremantle) both located on its shores. Perth is formally divided into a number of local government areas, which themselves consist of a large number of suburbs, extending from Two Rocks in the north to Rockingham in the south, and east inland to The Lakes.

This post is part of the Skywatch Friday meme

Thursday, 24 July 2014


Arisarum vulgare, common name the Friar's Cowl or Larus , is a herbaceous, perennial, with an underground rhizome plant in the genus Arisarum belonging to the family Araceae.  the plant reaches on average 10–30 centimetres of height.

The leaves of this geophyte plant are basal only, wide, ovate to arrow-shaped, with a petiole 12–15 centimetres (4.7–5.9 in) long. The stems are erect and unbranched, usually mottled and grow directly from the underground rhizome. A single leaflike bract (spathe) forms a purplish-brown or olive green striped tube about 5 inches long, with an open upper part helmet or hood-shaped curved forward. It encloses a fleshy greenish club-like spike (spadix) bent forward, protruding from the tube and bearing at the bottom minute purple violet flowers.

The 20 male flowers are located above the four to six female, with sterile flowers completely missing. The flowering period extends from October through May. The sexes are united in the same individual plant. Pollination is granted by insects (entomophily). The fruits are greenish berries of about 1 centimetre  long. This plant is native to Asia and Europe occurs in the entire Mediterranean, in Portugal, in the Canary Islands, the Azores and Madeira.

This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014


Brisbane is the capital and most populous city in the Australian state of Queensland, and the third most populous city in Australia. Brisbane's metropolitan area has a population of 2.24 million, and the South East Queensland urban conurbation, centred on Brisbane, encompasses a population of more than 3 million. The Brisbane central business district stands on the original European settlement and is situated inside a bend of the Brisbane River, approximately 15 kilometres from its mouth at Moreton Bay.

The metropolitan area extends in all directions along the floodplain of the Brisbane River valley between Moreton Bay and the Great Dividing Range. The metropolitan area sprawls across several of Australia's most populous local government areas, including the City of Brisbane, which is by far the most populous LGA in the nation. The demonym of Brisbane is Brisbanite.

Brisbane is named after the Brisbane River on which it is located, which in turn was named after Scotsman Sir Thomas Brisbane, the Governor of New South Wales from 1821 to 1825. The first European settlement in Queensland was a penal colony at Redcliffe, 28 kilometres north of the central business district, which was founded in 1824. That settlement was soon abandoned and moved to North Quay in 1825. Free settlers were permitted from 1842. Brisbane was chosen as the capital when Queensland was proclaimed a separate colony from New South Wales in 1859.

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,
and also part of the ABC Wednesday meme.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014


Seville is the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville, Spain. It is situated on the plain of the River Guadalquivir. The inhabitants of the city are known as sevillanos (feminine form: sevillanas) or hispalenses, after the Roman name of the city, Hispalis.

Seville has a municipal population of about 703,000 as of 2011, and a metropolitan population of about 1.5 million, making it the fourth-largest city in Spain and the 30th most populous municipality in the European Union. Its Old Town, the third largest in Europe with an area of 4 square kilometres, contains three UNESCO World Heritage Sites: The Alcázar palace complex, the Cathedral and the General Archive of the Indies. The Seville harbour, located about 80 kilometres from the Atlantic Ocean, is the only river port in Spain.

When we visited there, one of the most memorable evenings was a stroll in the old town and then attendance at a flamenco dancing performance, which lived up to all of our expectations.

This post is part of the Our World Tuesday meme,

and also part of the Ruby Tuesday meme.