Category: Photo of the Day

Happy Chinese New Year 2017 – Fire Rooster Year

Fire Rooster, Photo by PH Morton

Happy Chinese New Year 2017 – Fire Rooster Year

Rooster, photo by PH Morton

Rooster, photo by PH Morton

To everyone, let us wish you a Happy Chinese New Year.

Kung Hei Fat Choi

2017 is the year of the Fire Rooster.

The fire rooster symbolises fidelity and punctuality.  I can understand the latter one as rooster will cock-o-doodle-do at the crack of dawn serving as an alarm clock to early risers especially farmers and field workers.

We used to keep roosters and chicken in our farm in Marag.  As peacocks, they are really stunning lookers compared to the hens.

Who are the roosters?

They are those born in 1933, 1945, 1957, 1969, 1981, 1993, 2005, 2015, 2029 (Year of the Rooster comes every 12 years)

Have a piri-piri chicken. We hope this New Year is full of trips to KFC, Jollibee and McDo and have a lovely chickenjoy! 🙂 🙂 😉

Happy New Year!

The Birth of Christ

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Gerard van Honthorst, 1622

The Birth of Christ

There is so much materialism now attached to Christmas that we are overlooking what we should truly celebrate.

Christmas is the birth of Christ, the saviour of all.  It is time to give Him thanks and praise, also remembering him by showing love and kindness to all mankind.

It is lovely to receive presents and giving is its own reward.

As quoted on a board in Islington underground on 23 December 2016, Christmas is not about the presents under the Christmas tree but the people around it.

HAVE A VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

Verbena Bonariensis

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Verbena Bonariensis

Verbena bonariensis is a perennial summer flowering plant.

It is a beautiful addition to boarder plants as they add elegant height of purple-violet clusters of unscented vibrant flowers.  They are very attractive to bees and butterflies. 🙂

It has a long blooming period, which can be between July to November.

Autumn Arrives in London

Tulip Tree Leaf, photo by PH Morton

photo by PH Morton

Liriodendron tulipifera Aureomarginatum, commonly known as Tulip Tree

Autumn Arrives in London

As our summer season ends and so autumn arrives in London and Great Britain.

The word autumn has ancient roots alluding to the passing of the year. In the USA and some parts of the world this season  is called ‘the fall’.

This year, we have had mixed weather, from a wet and cold winter through a sunny and wet spring rolling into a sunny and wet summer.

We had two of the hottest days in September for over 100 years, with temperature reaching nearly 32C (89F).

Yes the British weather can still excite conversation among Brits. 😉

It is still quite mild with rain and sunshine and I can still wear a T shirt, without feeling cold. 🙂

The most common sign that autumn is approaching is when the leaves on deciduous trees. change colour from their spring and summer colour of green, to browns,yellows, reds and orange.
The leaves then soon after start to fall from their twigs and branches.

In autumn, some of the trees produce spectacular colour combinations of the above.

Deciduous is a Latin term meaning “falling off at maturity”

Leaves that fall off their tree branches in autumn are from the broad leaf type, having large areas to soak up the sun.

Trees that have these types of leaves need maximum food and energy to grow and produce fruit, such as apples, pears and berries etc.

These leaves have reached maturity by the end of summer using up the green chlorophyll pigment they contain to produce energy and food via photosynthesis for the tree in spring & summer.

As the daylight grows shorter with the arrival of the colder days of autumn and winter, the leaf receives decreasing amounts of  warm sunlight.

The leaf can no longer produce enough food for it’s tree, therefore it will trigger a kind of self destruct sequence.

As the temperature lowers, the leaves try and remain above freezing to provide nourishment to the tree until the last possible moment.

As the green pigment fades in the leaf, other pigments appear, which were masked by the dominant chlorophyll.

One pigment is carotenoids, which produce rich yellow, orange and brown colours, such as in carrots, banana peel, pumpkins.

Another pigment produced is called anthocyanins which are mainly red and purple.

As autumn progresses, the leaves become weaker, insects feed and worsening  weather take effect.

Within the stem of a leaf which is attached to it’s branch is the abscission layer, which chokes of the leaf veins that transfer water and food to the tree via the branch.

This further decays and weakens the leaf and stem, so the leaf becomes detached from it’s branch and so falls to the ground, it’s important work done.

Evergreen trees retain their leaves through cold freezing winter weather, because their smaller area leaves, some are needle shapes have a coating of a wax that helps protect them from the extreme cold.

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Photo by PH Morton

Enjoy these wonderful seasonal colours and think of the sacrifice the leaf made to produce them.

Physical Energy @ Kensington Gardens, photo by PH Morton

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Physical Energy @ Kensington Gardens, photo by PH Morton

Physical Energy is a bronze sculpture by an English artist, George Frederic Watts.  Apparently Watts first casts the statue in plaster marquette, which now stands at the Watts Gallery, just 2 years before his death in 1902.  There are three bronze statues from the casts.  One is now in London (at Kensington Gardens), the second is in Cape Town, South Africa and the third is in Harare.

Physical Energy according to Watts is a symbol of “that restless physical impulse to seek the still unachieved in the domain of material things”.

This description was deemed apt for Cecil Rhodes, who made his fortune before he was 30 years old.

 

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Physical Energy @ Kensington Gardens, photo by PH Morton

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Physical Energy @ Kensington Gardens, photo by PH Morton

Victoria amazonica (giant waterlily)

Victoria amazonica (giant waterlily) @ Kew Gardens Photo by PH Morton

Victoria amazonica (giant waterlily) @ Kew Gardens
Photo by PH Morton

Giant Waterlily Photo by PH Morton
Giant Waterlily
Photo by PH Morton

The first and only time I have seen a Victoria Amazonica was when we went to the Kew Gardens.  The plant is more commonly known as giant waterlily.  It is so called not because of its enormous flowers.  It is giant because of its amazingly wondrous looking huge circular leaves, with upturned rims, which can grow over 2.5m in diameter.

They look very ornamental.

Apparently they are native to South America and grow in abundance in lakes and backwaters of the Amazon River

Visitor to our garden pond: Damsel Fly

Damselfly -photo by PH Morton

Damselfly -photo by PH Morton

Damsel Fly

Today, as we were repairing one of the statues of  Buddha that serenely contemplates our garden fish pond,  I walked down the garden to the pond. It was a fine warm sunny Saturday in late May. On one if the small slate slabs I was arranging with other rocks around the pond (work in progress!), I notices a most colourful exquisite flying insect soaking up the sun on the slate.

Luckily, I was holding my trusty Nikon Coolpix camera, which has a decent macro lens.  I like to wander the garden with it, hoping to catch the flora and fauna that resides and visits our oasis of calm.

I carefully set the camera and moved slowly towards the insect, I balanced precariously on some rocks, nearly stepping on a fern which Jean was frowning  about as she watched me manoeuvre nearer the insect. The insect took flight and hovered with it’s wonderful gossamer like wings.  luckily  it landed in the same place and appeared unperturbed as I edged closer.

I  managed to get a few close up photos as it seemingly posed for me 😉

We seemed to stare at each other (me through the camera lens).

When I viewed the photos and ‘Googled’  for flying insects common to the UK.  I thought that it might have been a  May Fly appropriate for the month!

In fact it was a delightful Damsel Fly, a fairly rare visitor to our pond.

It was wonderful and a privilege to see such a beautiful creature close up and I hope more such visitors come during the approaching summer.

 

 

Lily – Lilium candidum

When you have only two pennies left in the world, buy a loaf of bread with one, and a lily with the other.
~Chinese Proverb

Thursday Lily by PH Morton

Thursday Lily 
by PH Morton

Lilium candidum

I love the lilies best, whenever Peter buys me the flower, (which is often, thank goodness) the living room is sure to smell so fragrant.  The only problem with the flower is that the stamen leaves stains to anything it touches or comes in contact with so I usually remove it, but most of the times I forget. 😉

The above photo is of white lily which is apparently called Madonna Lily after the Virgin Mary.  Lilies are flowers for mothers especially for the new ones as it symbolises fertility and a nurturing ability.

Lilies are  flowers associated with spiritually.  Lilies are particular favourites during weddings as they are known symbolism of unions, partnerships and long lasting togetherness.

Good Thursday Morning to One and ALL!

Today is the election for London Mayor.

Please vote wisely.

Sunflowers at the Glorious Burnham Park

Sunflower of Burnham Park, photo by PH Morton

Sunflower of Burnham Park, photo by PH Morton

Sunflowers at the Glorious Burnham Park

The sunflowers were in full bloom when we were in Burham Park in Baguio City, Philippines in February 2016.

It seems we were not the only admirers of the flowers; there were busy, buzzy bees hard at work gathering nectars.

The flowers were so beautiful to look at as it built a fragrant fence from one corner of the park into the next.  Though the park was busy, the tall flowers exude a haven of tranquility and serenity, thus promoting well-being.

It made me think that yellow must be the colour of happiness and peace.

Sunflower has the scientific name of helianthus, which comes from a combination of two Greek words, helios, meaning sun and anthos is of course, flower.

Sunflowers are annuals, which means they die down each year and new ones needed to be planted annually.  There are species of perennial ones but they are not too popular with gardeners as they tend to spread rapidly and can overwhelm a garden.