Sunday, 7 August 2016

Hosta clausa var. normalis

"Hosta clausa var. normalis 'Plus' ", drawing by 
Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

This drawing was inspired by a couple of photos taken by an acquaintance of mine. One photo showed a laneway lined on both sides by rows and rows of tiny lavender-coloured flowers; the other photo was a close-up of one of the blossoms. I was so intrigued by these stalks of tiny flowers that I decided to do a drawing of them.

When I researched the flower featured in these photos, I discovered that it was a member of the genus, Hosta and was, most likely, a cultivar of the species, “clausa”. There are a number of varieties of Hosta clausa including Hosta clausa var. normalis. Even this cultivar comes in several variations. Today’s featured drawing illustrates this. Let me explain... 

Hosta clausa var. normalis is a variety of Hosta clausa whose flowers open normally. Clausa, by the way, is Latin for “closed”. This particular plant is so named as the flowers produced by Hosta clausa never open while those of the variety “normalis”, open normally. 

The cultivar in my drawing is another variety of Hosta clausa var. normalis as evidenced by the colouring of the leaves. The usual leaves of Hosta clausa var. normalis are a solid, rich green in colour. The leaves in my drawing have green centres with greenish-white borders similar to another variety of Hosta. Unfortunately, I do not know the name of this cultivar although it reminds me of a Hosta clausa var. normalis that I saw once which, I believe, was called ‘A Many Splendoured Thing’! Since the actual name of the cultivar in my drawing is unknown to me, I am simply calling it 'Plus'. 

Hosta clausa
var. normalis 'Plus'
By the way, the genus, Hosta, was named after Nicolaus Thomas Host, 19th century Austrian botanist and physician to the Austrian emperor. Hostas are members of the family, Asparagaceae

Hosta clausa is native to central and northern Korea. As I was doing this drawing, I often found myself thinking about all those North American men and women who, after suffering through Korea’s brutal winters in foxholes and tents, would have been delighted to see spring arrive and to see these lilac-coloured flowers growing wild – covering the deserted fields now filled with land mines and the rusting remains of modern warfare. 

I was in the 4th grade when the “police action” began in Korea. My family was living, at that time, in a small town in central Tennessee. My sister, Janet, whose passing I told you about in last week’s posting, was already in Grade 11 and her steady boyfriend, Pete, had just finished high school, grabbed by the army and sent to Korea. 

Janet wrote letters faithfully as did Pete and even though I was only 8 years old; I was fascinated by these letters and would try to sneak a peek at them if possible. The very best letters contained black and white photos – the kind taken by a cheap brownie. In these tiny photographs were pictures of young men standing beside unbelievably high snow drifts. You really couldn’t identify anyone as everyone’s faces were almost completely covered! In the months that followed there were also photos of what looked like lovely fields of wild grass filled with tents, jeeps and big guns. 

Hosta clausa
var. normalis 'Plus'
At that age, I really couldn’t understand what this all meant, but I knew that my sister, Janet, was concerned and if a week went by without a letter from Pete, she would begin to look very worried indeed. 

Years later when M*A*S*H appeared on our TV screens, I begin to understand what was really going on at that time in Korea and why young men and women from so many countries had suffered and died there. As well, I finally understood why my sister had waited so anxiously for those letters to arrive each week.



Suki was enjoying a fairly quiet and uneventful week until Friday. I have no idea what changed between Thursday and Friday, but Friday morning begin with Suki regurgitating her breakfast almost as soon as she had eaten it!

Personally, I think this problem occurs because Suki gobbles her food down so quickly that her poor,  little tummy is overwhelmed ... but what do I know.  Anyway, throwing up is one of those events about which the books say "watch your cat carefully and if there are any further signs of distress, take the cat to your vet immediately."  So, I begin to "watch carefully".

It was a very boring watch as Suki settled down to sleep and did not move again until shortly before noon.  So, I thought: "well, maybe it was just one of those things that happens and it means nothing" and went ahead and gave Suki her lunch.  She gobbled it down and then immediately threw it up again!  Now I was really getting worried.

However, after she begged a bit to be fed again, Suki went back to her favourite chair and settled down to sleep until close to her supper time (6 p.m.).  By now, I was afraid to give her any more of the turkey and gravy and, instead, gave her just a bit of her "crunchies". She ate them quickly and they stayed down.  So, at bedtime, I gave her a bit more of the dry food. That stayed down as well.  I went to bed a bit more hopeful that I wouldn't be making a trip to the vet on Saturday. 

On Saturday morning, I bravely decided to give Suki a small helping of her beloved turkey and gravy.  To my delight, it stayed down.  However, I knew the big test would come at lunch time when I not only feed Suki but I give her the daily dose of pain medication as well. 

I gave Suki her daily dose of that good painkiller and that was followed by a dish of turkey and gravy.  After she finished eating, I watched her carefully and, once again, nothing happened.  She remained in the kitchen while I prepared my own lunch -- all the while begging for me to give her a couple of her cat treats (she loves those things). When Suki realized that she wasn't going to get anything else to eat, she headed for one of her "favourite" chairs and settled in for a long sleep. 

So, here it is on Sunday morning and Suki continues to do well.  If things continue this way, then I won't be having to make another one of those incredibly expensive visits to the vet!

As for me, I am not doing too well these days.  Not to worry, it is nothing serious. I am just feeling the effects that result from trying to establish new medication levels in my body.  When I saw the pain clinic doctor recently, he decided that several of my medications needed to be changed so that I was achieving a better balance between the drugs I take for joint and bone pain and those I require for nerve pain.  It is never easy to make changes and so my body is presently in a state of mild rebellion over it all!

Ah, well, this too shall pass.  Meanwhile, I am facing a week without any appointments scheduled.  This pleases me very much as the weather in this part of the world continues to be really hot and humid with daytime highs in the 90s.  This means that I can stay inside in my lovely, air-conditioned apartment and avoid the heat completely.  

Still missing my sister very much, of course. I am now thinking about how to make certain that all those things I have in my home which hold special meaning for our family can be gotten to my niece and nephew and their families. I also want to make certain that they know the stories behind these items -- so I am determined to make my aching fingers write down some of those stories so that they won't be lost just yet.



"Icon - The Transfiguration", by the  hand of Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016 rev.

Jesus took Peter, John, and James and went up a mountain to pray. While he was praying his face changed in appearance and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were conversing with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his exodus that he was going to accomplish in Jerusalem. Peter and his companions had been overcome by sleep, but becoming fully awake, they saw his glory and the two men standing with him. As they were about to part from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here; let us make three tents, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” But he did not know what he was saying. While he was still speaking, a cloud came and cast a shadow over them, and they became frightened when they entered the cloud. Then from the cloud came a voice that said, “This is my chosen Son; listen to him.” After the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. They fell silent and did not at that time tell anyone what they had seen.  Luke 9:28b-36

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