Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Tulipa stapfii

Tulipa stapfii [drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer]

"In the 17th century the tulip flower lead a popular craze, an epidemic devotion, escalating to a kind of "tulipomania", that started in Holland and swept most of Europe. One bulb of a certain variety of tulip would sell, in the 1630s, for hundreds of thousands of dollars. Today the global tulip market has grew to match the national economy of an average size country.

As this plant is not found in Holland in the wild, could it be that the Dutch tulip tradition has some long-lost connection to the wild tulips of Jordan?

Historians in Europe trace this magical bulb to the Ottoman Empire, with great accounts and stories illustrating the importance of tulip in the Ottoman high civilization. When looking beyond Turkey, western historians sketch only a hazy image. Behind the Ottoman Empire; references usually locate the origin of the flower to remote places between Mongolia, China and Kazakhstan. But why look for the origin of tulip that far, it would have been closer for the Ottomans to bring the first bulbs from Mount Lebanon, Palestine or Jordan." [from Flowers of Jordan]

Tulipa stylosa growing in the wild near Amman, Jordan

"One of the Middle-Eastern native tulips is Tulipa stylosa (see picture above). Tulipa stapfii is a beautiful dwarf tulip closely related to Tulipa stylosa. T. stylosa was described by Otto Stapf (notice the name which gives us "stapfii" meaning a person with the name of Stapf first described this plant for the literature) from Iranian material in 1885 and it is believed that Tulipa stapfii is an extreme form of this variable species differing in having more and also wider leaves, crowded near the base."

Which brings us to my drawing (at the top of this posting) of Tulipa stapfii.  When I first came across a photograph of T. stapfii, I was captivated by the beautiful colours -- you know how I am about colours -- and knew immediately that I had to do a drawing of this flower.  I am very satisfied with the resulting flowers; however, I am still not too happy with the circular design I ended up putting at the base of the plant.  I may well end up changing that.

As you can see below, I, as usual, had to play with the colours of the image just a bit.  The image below is the result of using the software option called "hue correction".  I thought the colours were kind of interesting although I prefer the natural ones!

Tulipa stapfii using software for "hue correction"

Now for some photos of animals doing rather interesting things.

Juvenile Starlings trying to take a nut away from some sort of ground squirrel or gopher
 I am really not sure what type of little mammal this is -- if you know, please send me a comment -- but to me it actually looks more like those prairie gophers you see out west.  Anyway, the battle these creatures are involved in is very certain and understandable.  One has the food and the others want it!

Giraffe and Ostrich sitting in peaceful companionship

Giraffe giving his friend a bath or a "kiss"

The two photos above show what can happen when animals are in captivity, sharing the same space.  In the wild, neither the giraffe or the ostrich would give each other the time of day -- so to speak.  They would be too busy with their own kind, finding their own food, to spend time socializing with one another.  However, in captivity everything changes.  They have become friends and share their safe, peaceful, dull lives with one another.  At least they have each other to share the long days with.

A Human and an Owl -- both acting strangely
I have no idea what is really happening here.  Why this young man is holding an owl in his arms like a baby while both are staring into a camera, I do not know.  Perhaps the owl is injured and the young man has wrapped the owl in his jacket to keep it from fluttering about and causing itself more harm.  Other than this, I have no suggestions.  What do you think is going on?

Finally I want to show you a photo I came across recently that causes me to chuckle every time I look at it.  This looks like one tough cat.  Notice the size of the bell he is wearing!  He is probably still able to catch birds -- bad kitty.  Chewing on that piece of grass with one eye shut makes him look even tougher.  I bet the other cats steer clear of him when he is on the prowl!

Mr. Tough Guy

Suki is doing well!  She seems to get smarter every day about how to get me to wake up early and actually feed her in spite of all my grumbling and complaining about what a bad cat she is.  She just happily ignores all my comments and patiently waits for the sound of the food can being opened.  She knows I will do this because she has taught me that the only way I am going to get to go back to bed and sleep peacefully until the alarm rings is by giving her what she wants:  food.

Therefore, I am a little less sleep deprived than when I last posted to the blog.  In fact, I am doing reasonably well other than having to deal with my sadness over the major snow storm we had today -- just when we were hoping for an early spring!  Oh, well, this is Canada and it is only the end of March.  All in good time... 

May the peace of God be with us all.

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