Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Protea repens -- Cape Sugarbush

Protea repens, drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011

Protea repens occurs in the Southern part of South Africa and grows from high in the mountains of the Bokkeveld Escarpment to the Cape. The flower colour also varies, from a creamy white to white touched with pink, to the deep red varieties such as the one I have drawn. The "flowers" of Protea repens are actually flower heads with a collection of flowers in the centre, surrounded by large colourful bracts. The shape of the flowers is very distinctive, chalice-shaped.

The amazing variety in plant size, habit, flower size and colour of the genus Protea was the reason it was named after the Greek god Proteus, who could change his shape at will. The species name of 'repens', meaning 'creeping' is misleading as Protea repens is an upright, much branched shrub, which normally grows to a height of 2.5 metres but can reach a height of 4.5 m. The name is based on descriptions and illustrations by Boerhaave (1720), which show a very short stem, from which the botanist, Linnaeus, assumed that it was a creeping plant, hence the name 'repens'. The botanist, Thunberg, later named the same plant Protea mellifera, referring to the sweet nectar produced by the flowers. However, this much more suitable name had to make way for the earlier name, so this upright shrub remains Protea repens. The Proteaceae family to which proteas belong is an ancient one. Its ancestors grew in Gondwanaland (eastern Asia) 300 million years ago. Since Proteaceae is such a huge family, Protea repens is a member of the subfamily, Proteoideae.

Protea repens has been exploited for centuries, as a source of firewood as well as for the nectar produced by the flowers and more recently by the cut flower industry. The abundantly produced nectar is collected and boiled into a sugary syrup.  This was an important source of sugar for native peoples in times past.  When the European settlers arrived, they learned to collect the so-called 'bossiestroop', using the syrup as an essential component of a medicine for chest complaints.

Personally, I think it is the type of drawing that would look lovely on a company Christmas card!  What do you think?

Protea repens (using colour saturation software) by S. Thayer, 2011

As usual, I could not refrain from playing with my funny software.  I tried several different options but decided I liked the results produced by the colour saturation process best.  I really like that electric pink colour against that blue background!

"Wascally Wabbit"

I am a bit embarrassed to admit that I have been an Elmer Fudd/Bugs Bunny fan for many years and that I still, occasionally, watch the cartoon channel when I know that there will be one of their famous cartoons playing.  So in honour of my admission of such "guilty" pleasures, I am posting some photos of real "wabbits" along with a photo from one of my favourite cartoon episode.
Elmer is sure he has gotten that "wascally wabbit" this time!

Here is a bunny that is even bigger than Elmer Fudd!

Here is a sweet photo of a mother and baby.

A really nice photo of a rabbit!  I might try drawing this.


Suki and Sallie

Well, as usual, Suki is doing just fine.  As has happened before, she decided to get up from one of her favourite sleeping spots and come tell me she was hungry just as I was sitting down to eat my own supper.  I told her, quite firmly, that I was not going to get up and feed her until I had eaten.  Besides, I pointed out, she had a full dish of dry food already sitting on the floor.  She considered this information in silence for a few minutes -- looking from me to her clean, but empty, wet food dish back to me then over to the dry food dish and back to me!  When I did not seem to be able to understand her "sign" language, she started up with the meows -- the most plaintive sounds you can imagine!  I couldn't take it for very long.  I am ashamed to admit that I let my meal get cold while I opened a new can of food and fed Suki her evening meal!

Other than being bossed around by a 12 lb. cat, I am doing fine.   My facial bruising is almost gone now so I am even looking a bit more normal.  Now if I could just get my neck to straighten up again, I would be totally OK.  Oh, well, life is good even if I do have to look at the world sideways!  Happily, I have been able to return to the gym.  As well, due to the fact that I no longer meet my friend, Karen, for morning coffee (she moved to Vancouver), I now spend even more hours a day doing art work.  It is amazing how much I am getting done.  I may have to start posting two items at a time just to get caught up again!

A beautiful cat in the process of getting unhappy!  Take careful note of the position of the ears.  That slight decline from the usual upright position speaks volumes.

"Don't push your luck, friend..."

May the peace of God be with us all.

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