Hop To It

Hop To It - Photograph by Laura Lecce
Hop To It – Photograph by Laura Lecce

This gorgeous wallaby was photographed in Tasmania, Australia. Native to Australia, these beautiful animals are in the same family as Kangaroos but were informally designated as wallabies due to their generally smaller size. Interestingly, there are a number of feral populations of wallabies in various places around the world including Hawaii, England and France because these bouncy critters are great at escaping from the zoo!

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Baby Croc

Baby Croc - Photograph by Laura Lecce
Baby Croc – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Even the largest and scariest of animals were once a cute little baby (except birds which definitely get cuter with age). This adorable baby crocodile is contently sunning itself in a river in Cairns, located in far north Queensland. As cute as this little guy may be, where there is a baby, there must be a mummy and a daddy. Cairns is home to saltwater crocodiles, currently the largest living reptiles, and the much larger and more aggressive cousin of the freshwater crocs. It made me very glad that I was in a boat on this river and not in a small canoe!

Flower Friday – Hibiscus

Hibiscus - Photograph by Laura Lecce
Hibiscus – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Whenever I see a hibiscus flower I immediately associate it with tropical vacations. Beautiful and large flowers, they come in a variety of stunning colors. In Australia we have a hibiscus harlequin bug (Tectocoris diopthalamus) which is also brightly colored, but a dreaded pest to the hibiscus plant. It will pierce through the stem of tender shoots and flower buds to feed on the sap, causing the buds to drop off. These bugs also feed on cotton, a few Australian natives and some fruit trees. Once a female lays her eggs she will stand guard and protect them. In Australia we call them stink bugs because when they get disturbed, they release a very bad smell which triggers mass smell production from nearby friends. Happy weekend everyone!

Hibiscus Harlequin Bug - Photograph by Laura Lecce
Hibiscus Harlequin Bug – Photograph by Laura Lecce

Unforgiving

Unforgiving - Art by Laura Lecce
Unforgiving (acrylic on canvas. 36″ x 24″) – Art by Laura Lecce

A hot and burnt landscape of fiery red hills with a river running dry. A lone brittle tree struggling to survive in a desolate and unforgiving environment. What chance does the tree have to flourish, when the land is so unsupportive of life…. Is this my future?

This painting took me a very long time to finish. Sometimes I feel like I have a certain idea in my head as to what I want to paint and then try to force that idea into a painting. This one had quite a few evolutionary changes along the way, and finally I had to stop fighting it and just allow it to be what it wanted.

Underwater Castle

Underwater Castle - Photograph by Laura Lecce
Underwater Castle – Photograph by Laura Lecce

This small coral structure looks like a beautiful underwater castle. It is a hard coral which is home to millions of teeny tiny individual polyps in a castle constructed out of calcium carbonate. Other likely residents within this castle are single-celled algae. The algae use energy from the sun to make sugars and fats which they share with the coral allowing it to grow faster. The coral animals also make waste which feeds the algae. Together they make a very large and happy family of teeny residents in a beautiful castle. They even have a blue Christmas tree worm as a pet in the yard!

Flower Friday – Paphiopedilum Orchid

Paphiopedilum - Photograph by Laura Lecce
Paphiopedilum – Photograph by Laura Lecce

I’m not sure if any of my followers are orchid fanatics, nevertheless I will tread lightly. This photograph is of a paphiopedilum orchid, and I “think” it is Paph. Lowii but I cant be sure as it was unlabeled. This very cute family of orchids has a pouch-like labellum, and are quite easy to grow, making them one of the most widely cultivated and hybridized of orchids. They come in such a huge variety of colors, and some even have very beautifully mottled leaves (although P. Lowii does not). Paphs will usually only flower from a shoot once. After using a lot of its energy to flower, the remaining energy is put towards making new shoots to replace the parent once it dies. It becomes a cycle of making a new plant, flowering and then dying, and  thus it is often possible to see multiple generations of plants in the same pot at once. Happy Friday and have a wonderful weekend!