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User / Ethan.Winning
Ethan Winning / 2,756 items

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There's something very special about this tree and, more particularly, the flowers.

First, I'm the one who named it "Blushing Star." I'm not proud of that, but I can't change it and expect to find the four shots in archives in alphabetical order according to height.

Brachychiton (kurrajong, bottletree) is a genus of 31 species of trees and large shrubs, native to Australia (the centre of diversity, with 30 species), and New Guinea (one species). This tree at Ruth Bancroft Garden is about 45 feet tall, and is peculiar in a couple of ways.

All species are monoecious with separate male and female flowers on the same plant. The flowers have a bell-shaped perianth consisting of a single series of fused lobes which is regarded as a calyx despite being brightly coloured in most species. The female flowers have five separate carpels that can each form a woody fruit containing several seeds. The flower colour is often variable within species. Eastern forest species drop their foliage before flowering but those of the drier regions carry the flowers while in leaf.

This is part of the eastern (Australian) species because this tree drops it foliage first and then flowered ... and flowered, and flowered. The tree was never all flowers. Rather, there would be branches that are 12 feet long or more, and the flowers would pop up in bunches of three, four or five all along the branch.

If you take a look (view large) at these flowers, the outside are five petals, and they are fuzzy. The leaves have already fallen, and that can be confusing when you see bunches of "petals" if you don't know that those are the flowers. Now, the trick is to find a single or, better, double and triplet by themselves at the end of a branch when there is no wind. And that's what we have here: three open waxy flowers with closed and open fuzzy petals. When I first saw them, I thought that what you're looking at in the middle were seed pods! The tree bloomed for about three months and every time I'd pass it, there were leaves on the ground signifying that there should be flowers and buds above.

Pollinated by everything!

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When I first posted this over eight years ago, I didn't really expect the accolades, but I figured that my luck and this male bluebird's pose would get some reaction.

This is one of those images that I will always remember capturing. The lower side of Mt. Diablo; cherry trees in bloom at the Ranch in the background, and I spotted some lichen on a branch that I thought would be interesting. I walked up a slight incline to get at eye level, aimed, and this extremely handsome male Western Bluebird decided to find out what I was doing. Yes, I'm afraid that was all there was to it: composition was ready made; background superb, perch attractive but not overwhelming, and the bluebird in his prime in breeding season... Wow!

I must say that I have five Western Bluebird images end up in publications, and this was not one of them. This image, about which James once said that I had used a whole box of Crayolas, was never asked for. However, one person from Flickr actually said that once day he would visit just to get an image like this, and he did! That was Gilles, but I'm not sure if he succeeded in late February 2020: bluebirds are at their best in late May.

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I'm feeling a little more festive tonight. There a Christmas party going on at the clubhouse even though it's in its 11th hour, and I harkened back to my eight years with Western Bluebirds, beautiful thrushes that mate and nest on Mt. Diablo. This was the last image I have of one: May 2020 was the last time I went back to take a look at the nest boxes I cared for for eight years until 2016.

I don't know why I didn't post this. Not quite as sharp, but that may be because the female is slightly muted certainly compared to the male. Perhaps she'll motivate me enough to go back in the hills and revisit the nesting boxes on Mt. Diablo.

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The Calytrix angulata, commonly known as yellow starflower, is a species of plant in the myrtle family Myrtaceae that is endemic to Western Australia. How it made its way to Hawaii I don't know, but that's were I found it on our one and only visit.

To show you that, when you come to my Flickr site, there's no such thing as "just a flower." Nay, nay. Behind every flower, there's an adventure and this is a doozie! The story of our Hawaiian flowers is interesting, and least for a paragraph. The trip was a disaster. Our plane landed at the wrong airport in San Francisco. When we finally found another, we had to wait until it came up from San Diego. We hadn't even taken off and we were late. We arrived in Kawai, and they lost our car rental reservation. The hotel came to our rescue. On the first full day, I went snorkeling, and cut my foot on coral. After two hours of surgery (a guy with tweezers in the basement of the hotel), I then was bandaged for the whole trip. Went through our luggage ad our new digital camera was gone. There were three lizards and two birds that we saw that I'd like to have captured, but thanks to the limp and general disposition, I was forced to photograph flowers. That was a happy coincidence since I knew how to take a photo of a flower, and didn't have the capability to get a bird of lizard.

First up, the Yellow Star, Calytrix angulata, native to Australia. No, we're not going back, and a 16 hour flight to Australia without legroom is hazardous to my mental well-being. So, you'll be seeing a lot of Australian natives (flowers, not people) and a few that made their ways ro Hawaii. So, from 16 years ago, my first exotic flower...

Olympus First Generation Digital Camera

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I usually pride myself on my memory, but not for this image. I've seen Dianthus in local gardens over the years, but not this species. And it's only been a few months. Well, beauty is beauty, and I was fortunate to find this one-stemmed threesome somewhere, and not at all rangy and tangled as Dianthuses usually are. Had to be near, but not in Ruth Bancroft Garden or on the western flank of Mt. Diablo, but as close to sea level as possible on a mountain side.

Dianthus carthusianorum, commonly known as Carthusian pink, is a species of Dianthus, native to Europe, from Spain north to Belgium and Poland, and east to Ukraine, occurring in dry, grassy habitats at elevations of up to 2,500 meters (8,200 ft) in mountains.I'm fairly sure I was not in Europe or anywhere at 8,200 in June or, if I was, I hope I had a good time.


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