Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Hellebore Explained

Hellebore 'Raspberry Mousse', drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2011
Helleborus x hybridus

"The term 'Helleborus x hybridus' refers to any plant resulting from cross fertilization of stemless plants. It also refers to seedlings of any Helleborus x hybridus plant. The name even extends to seedlings of stemless species plants grown in gardens and to offspring of 'species' plants of unknown provenance."  So say the authorities regarding the Hellebores!  Such a confusing array of beautiful plants -- most of them the result of cross fertilization -- both in the wild and in nurseries. 

Lenten Rose, drawing by
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2009

I actually posted a drawing of the most commonly known plant in this family -- the Lenten Rose (see left).  The drawing appeared in a posting dated May 26, 2009 under the title "A Quiet Day".  At the time, I referred to it as Helleborus x orientalis; however, I have since learned that this is a more confusing use of a name for a large group of hybrids.  Now, from further research, I know that the proper form is to use "x hybridus".

Hellebores have a long history in cultivation, particularly in Europe. For centuries they have been used for various medical purposes, and all contain alkaloids and other chemicals that could lead to poisoning if ingested in large quantities. Hellebores are even mentioned in ancient Greek and Roman literature, but we cannot be certain if the references are to the same plants that now carry the epithet associated with this genus. They have also been cultivated in western Europe and can be found naturalized around ruins of old monasteries and other structures. It is thus sometimes challenging to determine the native range and those colonies that may be escapes from old gardens. Extracts from hellebores have been used in homeopathy and traditional medicines in several countries. As a garden plant for active hybridizing, the older history is probably less certain, but much of the activity has occurred since around the middle of the twentieth century.

If you would like to learn LOTS more about Helleborus, go to http://www.hellebores.org/



Just before Christmas, I received draft copies of the publications for directed Lectio Divina from the Communities of Prayer people in Texas.  These are the folks who are using my icons for the Rosary, the Stations and one other publication -- the different guides use the mysteries of the Rosary, for example, as the focus for Lectio Divina [remember Lectio Divina is a traditional way of praying with the Scriptures which involves reading, pondering, praying, listening and, ultimately, encountering the Living Word of God so that the Word may penetrate our hearts and thus we may enter ever more deeply into that intimate relationship with the Lord].  As the blurb from their web site says:  "This booklet is designed to be used in conjunction with praying the Rosary. It encourages the one who desires to go deeper in prayer to take each of the mysteries of the Rosary and meditate on them using the Lectio Divina prayer model."

This same model is used for the Stations of the Cross and will be used for any other guide developed by this group.  Below are some pages from the Rosary and Stations Guides and the cover of a third guide of which I do not yet have a copy.

Page with reference to the "artist"!

Page with one of my icons on it

Page with reference to the "artist"!

Page with one of the Stations' icons on it

I am waiting for more information on this one



Suki enjoying the winter sunshine
Suki thoroughly enjoyed Christmas Day.  She climbed up into the "crow's nest" of her Christmas gift (her multi-level playing and sleeping combo) and slept almost the entire day!  Occasionally she would arise and let me know that she really needed to have some more of her favourite food.  Because it was Christmas Day, I fed her almost every time she asked -- which, as you can imagine, was a big mistake!  Yes, ever since, she keeps thinking we are going to do things her way as happened on the 25th; and, when she asks for food and is told that she does not need to eat at the moment, she sits there on the rug in front of the fridge looking extremely perplexed, saying things in cat language which I do not understand -- which is probably just as well!

I had visitors yesterday and she found that very interesting as they were very nice to her and kept giving her "scratches" in all her favourite places. One of the guests even brushed her coat a bit.  Too lovely for words, that was.  Today she seems to realize that while all the Christmas decorations remain up and lit (they always stay up until the Julian calendar Christmas in January), things are pretty much back to normal -- which includes her feeding schedule -- and she seems to be accepting of this for the moment (perhaps she is quietly planning new strategies!).  At any rate, she is presently sound asleep.

As for Sallie, I continue to slowly improve.  It will take weeks for my face to get back to normal; however, I plan to return to my regular schedule as of New Year's Day -- back to Mass on Sunday, back to the gym at least 3 days a week and so forth!

At the moment, while trying to finish this posting, my mind is already thinking about what errands need to be done before this day is over.  As usual after a long weekend, I am constantly confused about what day of the week it is.  Since it is Tuesday and not Monday, although it feels like Monday, the Market will be open and so I need to go and stock up on my organic milk.  I allow myself to spend the extra money required to purchase organic milk at the Market.  After growing up on a farm and drinking raw milk for so many years, I have found one type of organic milk at the Market that comes closest to having the flavour of "real" milk!

Otherwise, the remainder of the week should be very quiet and so I expect to be able to continue to rest and allow my bruising to continue to improve.  Most importantly, of course, will be my efforts to keep from having another fall!  Please pray for me in this regard as I am not sure how many more blows my poor old head can take!  Thanks.

And now, I pray that the peace of God will be with each and every one of us.  Amen.

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