Strelitzia

Strelitzia  is a genus of five species of perennial plants, native to South Africa. It belongs to the plant family Strelitziaceae.[2] The genus is named after the duchy of Mecklenburg-Strelitz, birthplace of Queen Charlotte of the United Kingdom. A common name of the genus is bird of paradise flower / plant, because of a resemblance of its flowers to the bird of paradise. In South Africa it is commonly known as a crane flower and is featured on the reverse of the 50 cent coin. It is the floral emblem of the City of Los Angeles; two of the species, Strelitzia nicolai and Strelitzia reginae, are frequently grown as house plants

This one was in Wisley near waterfall at the Glasshouse.


The Royal Horticultural Society's garden at Wisley in the English county of Surrey south of London, is one of four gardens run by the Society, the others being Harlow Carr, Hyde Hall and Rosemoor.

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Cala Lilly

What is this Cala Lilly hiding coyly in such gracefully wrapped shawl?

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Oh, it is precious jewel, a Ruby.

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Yellow Flower in the morning with dew drop

I saw this amazing flower this morning. Look at the grace, gesture and energy and a dew drop to top it all.On cue the little bug showed up also.

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Flower Arch

The Royal Horticultural Society's garden at Wisley in the English county of Surrey south of London, is one of four gardens run by the Society, the others being Harlow CarrHyde Hall and Rosemoor. Wisley is the second most visited paid entry garden in the United Kingdom after the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, with 959,434 visitors in the year.

Wisley was founded by Victorian businessman and RHS member George Ferguson Wilson,who purchased a 60 acre (243,000 m²) site in 1878. He established the "Oakwood Experimental Garden" on part of the site, where he attempted to "make difficult plants grow successfully". Wilson died in 1902 and Oakwood (which was also known as Glebe Farm was purchased by Sir Thomas Hanbury. the creator of the celebrated garden La Mortola on the Italian Riviera. He gave both sites to the RHS the following year.To see this image in full resolution

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Total Lunar Eclipse - Blood Moon

Total Lunar Eclipse - Blood Moon

This morning was total Lunar Eclipse with Blood Moon.
I took multiple images of the different phases from our balcony in Tiburon California, and combined them in one image.

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A lunar eclipse occurs when the Moon passes directly behind the Earth into its umbra (shadow). This can occur only when the Sun, Earth, and Moon are aligned (in "syzygy") exactly, or very closely so, with the Earth in the middle. Hence, a lunar eclipse can only occur the night of a full moon. The type and length of an eclipse depend upon the Moon's location relative to its orbital nodes.

Unlike a solar eclipse, which can only be viewed from a certain relatively small area of the world, a lunar eclipse may be viewed from anywhere on the night side of the Earth. A lunar eclipse lasts for a few hours, whereas a total solar eclipse lasts for only a few minutes at any given place, due to the smaller size of the Moon's shadow. Also unlike solar eclipses, lunar eclipses are safe to view without any eye protection or special precautions, as they are dimmer than the full Moon.

In recent years, the term Blood Moon has become popular when referring to Total Lunar Eclipses. When the Earth eclipses a full Moon, the direct sunlight is blocked, but the sun's rays still light up the moon. This light, however, has travelled through the Earth's atmosphere first, and sometimes causes the totally eclipsed Moon to look red or brownish.
For those astronomy enthusiasts I recorded all these
P1 (First contact): Beginning of the penumbral eclipse. The Earth's penumbra touches the Moon's outer limb.Occurred around 3 AM
U1 (Second contact): Beginning of the partial eclipse. The Earth's umbra touches the Moon's outer limb.
U2 (Third contact): Beginning of the total eclipse. The Moon's surface is entirely within the Earth's umbra.
Greatest eclipse: The peak stage of the total eclipse. The Moon is at its closest to the center of the Earth's umbra.
U3 (Fourth contact): End of the total eclipse. The Moon's outer limb exits the Earth's umbra.
U4 (Fifth contact): End of the partial eclipse. The Earth's umbra leaves the Moon's surface.
P4 (Sixth contact): End of the penumbral eclipse. The Earth's penumbra no longer makes contact with the Moon.
This was over by 5:30

Masked Lady across Hotel Danielli, Piazza San Marco

Piazza San Marco (Italian pronunciation: [ˈpjatt͡sa san ˈmarko], often known in English as the St Mark's Square), is the principal public square of Venice, Italy, where it is generally known just as "the Piazza" (la Piazza). All other urban spaces in the city (except the Piazzetta and the Piazzale Roma) are called "campi" (fields). The Piazzetta (the 'little Piazza') is an extension of the Piazza towards the lagoon in its south east corner (see plan). The two spaces together form the social, religious and political centre of Venice and are commonly considered together. This article relates to both of them.

A remark usually attributed to Napoleon calls the Piazza San Marco "the drawing room of Europe" (the attribution to Napoleon is unproven).The Piazza is dominated at its eastern end by the great church of St Mark. It is described here by a perambulation starting from the west front of the church (facing the length of the Piazza) and proceeding to the right.

The west facade of St Mark's basilica

The church is described in the article St Mark's Basilica, but there are aspects of it which are so much a part of the Piazza that they must be mentioned here, including the whole of the west facade with its great arches and marble decoration, the Romanesque carvings round the central doorway and, above all, the four horses which preside over the whole piazza and are such potent symbols of the pride and power of Venice that the Genoese in 1379 said that there could be no peace between the two cities until these horses had been bridled; four hundred years later, Napoleon, after he had conquered Venice, had them taken down and shipped to Paris.

The Piazzetta dei Leoncini is an open space on the north side of the church named after the two marble lions (presented by Doge Alvise Mocenigo in 1722), but now officially called the Piazzetta Giovanni XXIII. The neo-classic building on the east side adjoining the Basilica is the Palazzo Patriarcale, the seat of the Patriarch of Venice.

Beyond that is the Clock Tower (Torre dell'Orologio), completed in 1499, above a high archway where the street known as the Merceria (a main thoroughfare of the city) leads through shopping streets to the Rialto, the commercial and financial center. To the right of the clock-tower is the closed church of San Basso, designed by Baldassare Longhena (1675), sometimes open for exhibitions.

To the left is the long arcade along the north side of the Piazza, the buildings on this side are known as the Procuratie Vecchie, the old procuracies, formerly the homes and offices of the Procurators of St. Mark, high officers of state in the days of the republic of Venice. They were built in the early 16th century. The arcade is lined with shops and restaurants at ground level, with offices above. The restaurants include the famous Caffe Quadri, which was patronized by the Austrians when Venice was ruled by Austria in the 19th century, while the Venetians preferred Florian's on the other side of the Piazza.

Turning left at the end, the arcade continues along the west end of the Piazza, which was rebuilt by Napoleon about 1810 and is known as the Ala Napoleonica (Napoleonic Wing). It holds, behind the shops, a ceremonial staircase which was to have led to a royal palace but now forms the entrance to the Museo Correr (Correr Museum).

Opposite to this, standing free in the Piazza, is the Campanile of St Mark's church (1156/73 last restored in 1514), rebuilt in 1912 ' com'era, dov'era ' (as it was, where it was) after the collapse of the former campanile on 14 July 1902. Adjacent to the Campanile, facing towards the church, is the elegant small building known as the Loggetta, built by Sansovino in 1537-46, and used as a lobby by patricians waiting to go into a meeting of the Great Council in the Doges Palace and by guards when the Great Council was sitting.

Across the Piazza in front of the church are three large mast-like flagpoles with bronze bases decorated in high relief by Alessandro Leopardi in 1505. The Venetian flag of St Mark used to fly from them in the time of the republic of Venice and now shares them with the Italian flag.

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Maschere (The Masked Models)

Venice Carnival attracts many models from around the world, they are from Italy, rest of Europe and from as far away as USA and Australia. These are the people who spend as much a thousands of dollars for their costumes and jewelry. They spend these two weeks in Venice, They have their business cards that they give to serious photographers and all they expect is that you email them there photos. Many of them are aspiring models and actors and they will work to model if requested. But mostly they do for fun. They have their agent always nearby and they are managed by them. 

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Bemasked odalisques in Venice Carnivale 2014

The Venetian propensity for hiding behind masks was legendary: a rigid caste system coupled with ample opportunities for indulging in a host of vices made anonymity very desirable in an overcrowded city where detection was otherwise unavoidable. In the 13th century a law was passed banning masks while gambling. Later norms made it illegal to make masked visits to convents, or to wear masks during many religious festivals.

In the end, it was easier to stipulate when masks could be worn: most importantly, in a crescendo of frantic merry making, from Boxing Day until Shrove Tuesday - the period known as Carnevale (from carnem and vale, Latin for "meat" and "farewell": a reference to the Church’s ban on eating meat during Lent). The French stamped out the festivities when they took command of the city in 1797. And so it remained until 1979 when it dawned on local authorities that a revamped Carnevale would boost tourism in the city at a quiet, damp, misty time of year. The festival now lasts for two weeks in the run-up to Lent.

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