Sunday, 8 September 2013

Gladiolus undulatus

"Cultivated Gladiolus undulatus", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2013

This is a most interesting variety of Gladiolus.  It is native to southern Africa but has now spread to many other parts of the world.  In its native habitat, Gladiolus undulatus grows in a controlled manner within its proper ecosystem.  However, in certain other parts of the world, it is described as a weed and has become a nuisance plant.  This is especially true in Australia where Gladiolus undulatus has crowded out the native flowers and vegetation.  It is not yet on the world's list of truly noxious weeds, but it is a nuisance plant in certain countries.

I am telling you all of this because Gladiolus undulatus seems to have two "faces":  one is like the drawing I have posted above; the other has a much wilder look as you can see in the the following photographs from the "Weeds of Australia".

These look like weeds and not very
pretty ones at that!
See the difference in the structure of the flower
from my drawing above

Now, let me give you just a bit of the factual information about Gladiolus.

- The genus Gladiolus consists of about 250 to 300 species of perennial corms. (A corm is a short, vertical, swollen underground plant stem that serves as a storage organ used by some plants to survive winter or other adverse conditions such as summer drought and heat). 
- Genus Latin name means "small sword," referring to the shape of the leaves. 
- The old name for Gladiolus was xiphium, of Greek origin, meaning "sword." 
 - Thousands of varieties (hybrids) have been derived from the common Gladiolus
 - Family:  Iridaceae.

Following are just a few of the ways that the corms of the Gladiolus plants have been used over the centuries.

• In sub-Saharan Africa, prescribed as a booster for patients with low energy and for hypochondriacs! 

• In southern Africa, used for diarrhea and colds. 
• In West Africa, used for both constipation and dysentery. 
• In the 17th century, the British used ground and powdered corm, mixed with goat's milk, for colicky babies. 
 • In China, a flower for ceremonies and funerals; believed to help people find their way to their heaven.

Gladiolus undulatus can produce a beautiful flower in the right environment, but in the wrong one it truly looks like a weed.



A friend sent me the following three items:  the first one caused me to nod my head in agreement; the second one made me chuckle; the third one made me laugh.  I thought there might be the possibility that you would respond in similar ways...  Enjoy.

I, too, grew up during such a time; sadly, however, when it came time to face the world on my own, the 1960s had begun!  That was the beginning, I think, of the huge shift in our culture:  people suddenly started throwing things away when they were broken, not trying to fix them -- and that included people.

People are always making reference to the image of the glass half full or the glass half empty and labeling folks as being an optimist or a pessimist.  This gave me a good chuckle -- maybe it will do the same for you

This one made me laugh -- especially as I thought about some of the people I know who sincerely feel this way!  I also really enjoyed the look on the cat's face.



When Suki first gets into the chair,
she raises her head up high and 
stares at me!
Whenever I sit down in my recliner to rest or watch TV or try to read a little or whatever, here comes this crazy cat!  She comes and looks at me for a few minutes as though she is considering whether she should try to jump into my lap (and possible get rudely removed) or jump into the empty desk chair which is placed not too far from the recliner.  

Here you see Suki digging her claws
into the arm rest while staring at me
with her "let's play" look!

Usually, she chooses the desk chair. Once there, she digs her claws into the arm of the chair and sits there staring at me.  Do you know what it is like to have a cat staring at you while you are trying to focus on something else?!!  I can tell you it gets downright uncomfortable.

Sooner or later, I give in and ask her what she is up to.  This is the moment when she starts trying to get me to play with her by sticking her front leg over the arm rest, trying to grab my hand.  Occasionally, I foolishly stick my hand out far enough for Suki to grab it.  This is always a mistake as she is definitely not in a gentle mood.  Look at the photo above and to the right which shows her eyes big and black and you just know that this cat is ready to play rough!

Often what I will force myself to do is to get out of the chair, go over to Suki's toy basket, grab some toy she likes and then play with her for a few minutes using the toy (much safer).  Finally, I let her have the toy which is immediately bitten and clawed to "death".

At this point, I know that I can sit back down in peace.  Suki seems to have gotten the rough-housing out of her system and soon settles down and goes to sleep.  This leaves me free to pursue my own interests.  If, however, I suddenly get up or make an unusual noise, Suki's eyes fly open and the she stars at me again.  I get the feeling that she is saying:  "how dare you disturb me when I am sleeping!" Fairly soon, though, she gives a long sigh and goes back to sleep.

As for Sallie, I will say, cautiously, that I think I may be doing just a little bit better!  

This newest "stay awake" medication seems to be working well.  I really feel as though the dosage needs to be increased just a bit more, but that will be discussed when I see the specialist in a few weeks.  Meanwhile, I am staying awake for a good part of the day without any major sleep attacks.  I continue to have a number of minor sleep attacks during the day, but none of the dangerous ones.

Also, I have finally gotten some help from the physiotherapists. Not only do I have a new neck brace (see photo below), but I am also doing exercises for strengthening my neck.
Here I am wearing my new
neck brace which really works 
well.  It gives my face a square 
shape, but at least my head is up!

The brace has Velcro on the ends of the strap which goes behind my neck.  This enables me to make it just as tight as necessary to hold it in place.  The chin rest is soft and the more rigid form against my chest is not at all uncomfortable.  

I try to wear it whenever I go out as it makes walking so much more comfortable, enabling me to look straight ahead once again instead of always having to look towards the ground.  

The restless leg discomfort also seem to be a bit milder.  I have started trying to avoid coffee and most chocolate -- two of my favourite things -- how delicious is a good cup of coffee along with some really excellent dark chocolate!  Oh, well...  at least I have my memories.  I still have the TENS machine as well which can be very effective when I place pads directly on the area of my legs where the discomfort is always the worst.  This sends electrical stimulation directly to the area.

I am also continuing to go to the gym 5 or 6 times a week.  This, of course, is probably helping me to sleep just a bit better at night.  I am now able to often get 5 1/2 to 6 hours of sleep at night -- something I haven't been able to do for a long, long time.

So, as you can see, prayers are being answered (thank you for all  your prayers for me).  God is so good.  Please continue to pray that these good results will continue as long as the Lord decides that its OK for me to have a little break from all that pain and discomfort.

Finally, I would like to close today's posting with a drawing of Our Lady and her Child.  The reason being is that today the universal Church would normally celebrate the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary (her birthday), but because Sundays take precedence, we aren't.  But I want to remember her anyway ... you know me, I hate to forget anyone's birthday -- especially hers!

This drawing I did of the Blessed
Mother is one of my favourites.
 So, Happy Birthday, dearest Mother, please pray for us.

I know that our dear Lord will hear and answer your prayers.

May we always heed your advice -- the words you spoke to the servants at the wedding of Cana -- "Do whatever He tells you."

May God's peace be with us all.

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