Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Candy Corn -- Manettia inflata

"Candy Corn Vine (Manettia inflata)", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer
June, 2013

The Candy Corn Plant is in the Rubiaceae family. Although there is no resemblance, it shares this family tree with coffee plants! 

Manettia inflata was formerly known as Manettia luteorubra and is sometimes still listed under that name. This unusual vine is also known by a few other common names: Firecracker Vine, Candy Corn Vine and Brazilian Firecracker.  In some areas, it is known as the Twining Firecracker plant.  Some other plants share some of these same "common" names so look for the botanical name to be sure you're getting information on this particular plant. 

The scarlet flowers are tipped with yellow and resemble lit firecrackers, hence its popular name of "Firecracker." The flowers are somewhat hairy and tubular. Give the Candy Corn Plant enough light and and it will flower from summer through fall. The flowers are nearly an inch (2.5 cm) long and arise from the leaf axils on short stalks. The botanical name epithet inflata means 'swollen'. 

They are native to South America and have spread now throughout the world most often seen as hanging houseplants or trained to climb a trellis in a garden.

I was drawn to these flowers, of course, by their bright colours.  I also like the idea of their being trained to climb a trellis and so I presented them in this manner, also trying to show something of just how leafy a plant it really is.  I must admit that actually what attracted me to them first was the name of Candy Corn.  This was one of my favourite Halloween candies when I was a child!


THE BIG TORONTO RAIN OF JULY 8, 2013 (with lots of thunder and lightning thrown in for good measure!) 

None of the photos below are mine but were taken from local news sites and pictures sent in by viewers.  I have not gotten permission to use them so if any of them suddenly disappear from this posting, you will know that the owners have asked me to remove them.  I am assuming that because so many people are tweeting these photos that there will not be a problem.

City Storm Scenes:

The Don Valley Parkway along side the Don River

Escaping from the flooded highway as the rain subsided for a short time

It makes sense to bring out the canoe when Lower Simcoe Street is full of water!

This looks like a scene from a Hollywood movie, but is an actual couple trying to escape from the rising water at this subway station!

On Tuesday, Toronto's mayor tours some of the worst hit areas -- this is Kipling Subway Station

I really don't think this Dundas bus is going to be able to finish its run!

Are you able to distinguish the make of this stalled car?  
Another watery rescue

Some people will drive through anything to get a cup of Tim's coffee!

Scenes from a GO Train that ended up deeply waterlogged! 

(about 1500 people had to be rescued)

Wait a minute -- boats belong on the water -- what a train doing here?!

This rescue of GO train passengers took quite a while as the boats were small 
and the people numerous 

Throughout the night the boats continue to deliver relieved passengers

Emergency lighting came on as night settled in on the rescue scene

I received a note from Braden's mom soon after the storm had passed and I am including my response so that you can see what I was doing during this incredible downpour -- and how fortunate I was.
"Thanks for your concern. I am doing fine now although last night, during the downpour (or whatever that was!), I was not OK. I was out on my balcony with a big broom sweeping frantically as I tried to keep the water on my balcony from rising about the level of the balcony door into my apartment! I had on my boots so my feet were dry but the rest of me got pretty wet. There are drainage holes on the balcony, but the water was coming down so fast and furiously plus the balconies slope slightly downward towards mine so that I was getting not only the rain but some of the drainage as well. So, I was pushing the water  quickly out through the drainage holes in an effort to keep the water level down on my balcony. Truly this was an extraordinary weather event as I have never had an experience like this before. Sometimes in the past, if the drainage holes on my balcony have been allowed to get plugged up by leaves and debris then the water level can rise on the balcony when it is raining heavily, but usually, thankfully, in such a storm I am at home and keeping an eye on the water level. I can tell immediately if there is blockage as the water does not show any signs of draining away and I just have to go out and poke a wooden pole I keep at hand down through the drainage holes, clearing them of debris and then everything is OK again. But last night was just unbelievable! Thankfully, our neighbourhood did not lose power so I was very fortunate this way as well. All in all, I got off pretty lightly in comparison to people who lost their cars, had flooded basements, ruined freezer contents, etc. I am very grateful."



I have shown you this photo previously of
Suki in her bed in the back of the closet.
This is where Suki was during that
terrible storm.  I knew she was
frightened so I left her alone until
the storm was finally over.

The storm on Monday, July 8th, was terrifying for poor Suki.  She really does not like the sound of thunder or the crackle smell of lightning.   

What made it even worse on Monday night was that I was out on the balcony, frantically sweeping water away which meant the balcony door was open.  The open door meant, of course, that the sounds and smells of the storm were just that much more present.  After about a minute with the door open, Suki headed for the back of the bedroom closet and stayed there until the storm had finally been over for about an hour. 

I think she might have spent the night in there; however, as usual, hunger drove her out.  There she was asking me to please feed her!  Poor Suki, what a night.  I haven't told her that there is a possibility that we could get another bad storm later this evening.  If it happens, I will just make certain that the closet door is open enough so that she can quickly get inside.

I am continuing to do reasonably well.  No news on the medical front -- thanks be to God.  This is an unusual week for me as I have no important doctors' appointments.  

It has been a busy day for me here at home, however, with lots of phone calls and emails, each needing a prompt reply.  As well, I was trying to get started on this blog posting before it got too late.  My efforts to do so did not succeed and so here I am at the supper hour still finishing this posting.  Some days are just like that but that is OK.  Busy or not, in all things I give thanks.

Meanwhile, I am hoping along with everyone else in Toronto that there will not be another torrential downpour tonight!  I do not feel up to spending an hour sweeping off my balcony as the rain pours down!  However, I am sure I will be up to the task should it prove to be necessary.

As this posting comes to an end, I pray that the storms of your life   -- whether interior or exterior -- will find you safely in the Heart of Jesus, our Lord.  Here you can rest in peace and know that the sweet intercession of our Blessed Mother will help you find your way to that love which God alone can give.  Amen.

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