Wednesday, 19 June 2013

It's Pronounced "k'nip-HOFF-ee-uh", what is it?

As many of you know, I am fascinated by strange and unusual plants and really enjoy trying to draw them.  Kniphofia uvaria is my latest effort in that regard.  [By the way, this is a huge file (almost 4 MB in size) as each of those flower-heads is composed of many little "grapes".] 

"Kniphofia (k-nip-HOFF-ee-uh) uvaria" , drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

"Kniphofia (k-nip-HOFF-ee-uh) uvaria" 
close-up photograph showing the
likeness to a "bunch of grapes"
The Kniphofia genus is named for Johann Hieronymus Kniphof, an 18th century German physician and botanist. Thus, the correct pronunciation should be "k'nip-HOFF-ee-uh". The plant's nick-name, knips, is pronounced "k'NIPS". The word “uvaria”, on the other hand, is derived from Latin uva (bunch of grapes) meaning ‘clustered like a bunch of grapes’. These plants belong to the family of Xanthorroeaceae, (the Grass-Tree family).  Grasstrees are yucca-like evergreen oddities native to Australia.

Kniphofia uvaria is also known as Torch Lily, or Red Hot Poker due to the shape and color of its “flowers”.  The leaves are reminiscent of a lily, and the "flower-head" can reach up to 1.52 m (5.0 ft) in height. There are many varieties of torch lily, and they bloom at different times during the growing season. The flowers are red, orange, and yellow.

Kniphofia uvaria originates from the Cape Province of South Africa, and has been introduced into many parts of the world, such as parts of North America, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe as a garden plant.  In parts of south-eastern Australia, such as the Central and Southern Tablelands of New South Wales and southern Victoria, as well as in the U.S. State of California, it has escaped cultivation and become naturalized.  It is now regarded as an environmental weed in these locations, spreading from former habitations into natural areas, where it can grow in thick clumps and threaten sensitive ecosystems.

It looks as though it would be a startlingly attractive plant in a garden and I hope someday to see it growing.  Meanwhile, I will have to be satisfied with photos and my art work!



Fathers' Day was really special at Braden's house.  Although this was his first Fathers' Day and being almost a year old means he doesn't really understand the concept yet, he managed to give his Dad a really great gift... he started walking!

The photo below is taken from the video that his parents sent to me later in the day on Sunday.  It was wonderful to watch Braden's face in the video as things developed.  He had a few false starts before he finally actually started walking and took those first steps on his own.  When he realized that he was actually walking without anyone holding on to him, a huge smile spread across his face and he made all kinds of happy noises!  

Of course, as was to be expected, after about 5 steps, he paused, looked up and promptly ended up on his bottom in the soft grass.  This was where the video ended but I am sure that was not the end of his experimenting with this totally new form of locomotion! 

I have to admit that I must have watched that short video at least 25 times!

Braden takes his first steps, unassisted!  Look at the joy on his face!



Lately, Suki has taken to sitting in  my desk
chair to watch TV.  This creates something of
a problem when I want to sit down at my computer!
Yes, Miss Suki has decided that my desk chair is the perfect spot from which to watch the occasional TV show. Now,  if I am watching a show while working at my desk and get up without thinking to get something from elsewhere, I often return to find this cat-person sitting in my recently vacated chair!

Of course, if I am working on something for which there is a deadline, then I have no choice other than to move Suki to another location.  This causes her to look at me reproachfully which, in turn, makes me feel guilty!  So, often now if what I am working on can wait for a while, I will sit in my big, comfy chair and just watch TV for a while from there, letting the work wait a while.

Thankfully, I know that Suki's TV watching will not last for long.  Soon I will notice that her eyes are closing a bit and then finally the head goes down on the paws and she is asleep.  I wait for a little while and then I know I can move her to another location without any serious complaints.  All that normally happens is a few protesting meows from Suki before she is soon sleeping again and I can return to my computer!  What a cat this Suki is!

As for me, I saw the specialist this morning and had another breathing test as well.  The breathing test revealed that the new puffer is working well and my lung capacity is almost up to normal on this new puffer I was prescribed.

Otherwise, the doctor and I just discussed the progress she is making on getting me into the sleep disorders clinic at Sunnybrook. Since she does do some work there each week, she has more access than many would have to the people who work there so I am hopeful that I will be able to have this test I need so badly before the summer is over.  

Meanwhile, I have found a way to continue paying for this terribly expensive medication that is helping me so very much to have a better quality of life.  Now, I am not always having to fight to keep from falling asleep and then falling down.  The specialist is also hopeful that the doctor I will be seeing at Sunnybrook will be better able to help me find a way to get coverage for this medication.  

Sadly, the specialist I have been seeing at St. Mike's is moving into a new area at the hospital and will no longer be the one I see .  I say "sadly" because she has truly been interested in me as a person and has made a sincere effort to help me get to the bottom of these medical problems.  We have made some real progress over these past months and my situation has certainly improved -- for which I am very grateful to her.  

After all these years of medical "experimentation", I tend to to expect very little of doctors and so I am always pleasantly surprised when one of them turns out to be really compassionate.  I know I shouldn't be this way, but my life experiences have taught me not to hope for too much from the purveyors of medical science! 

Otherwise, things are pretty good for me.  One really wonderful thing that will be occurring is a visit from a very dear friend.  Sr. Mary Cecilia is coming to visit me!  She is in her 80s and as delightful as ever although she, too, is using a walker now and no longer sees very well.  I have known her as a dear friend since the late 1970s and I feel very honoured to have her coming to visit me tomorrow afternoon.  I will tell you all about our visit in Sunday's posting and maybe even have some photos.

Meanwhile, I pray that all of you are experiencing the peace of God which brings you that quiet joy and love and only He can give.  

Today is the Memorial of St. Romauld (c. 951 – traditionally 19 June, c. 1025/27).  He was the founder of the Camaldolese order and a major figure in the eleventh-century "Renaissance of eremitical asceticism".  St. Romauld, pray for us. 

 As always, my prayers are with you.  Please pray for me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Good morning, Sallie:
Just a quick note. Had a quick review of your blog and really enjoyed your Kniphofia drawing: The background is very effective, fading slightly (into the background, where else?), causing the plant itself to be the focal point. Really nice, and I might even request a copy on a plaque sometime.
As well, your Madonna of the Precious Blood successfully captured the look of an 18th Century, pre-Neoclassicism-style painting, and did justice to the photo of the original painting, which you posted after it.
Hope you are having a good day and God bless!