Sunday, 13 November 2016

Gentiana asclepiadea -- Willow Gentian

"Gentiana asclepiadea -- Willow Gentian Branch in Bloom",
drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

Gentiana asclepiadea (Willow Gentian) is a species of flowering plant of the genus Gentiana in the family Gentianaceae. It is native to central and eastern Europe and is found, primarily, in mountain woodlands though it does occur in less wooded open pasture occasionally.

Called Willow Gentian for its willow-like leaves and graceful, arching growth, it is one of the larger species within the genus, Gentiana. It produces pairs of leaves, sometimes whorled in threes or fours around particularly vigorous shoots on stems that arch elegantly outward from the base of the plant and grow to between 60–90 cm. (2–3 ft.) in length. Trumpet-shaped, deep blue flowers occur in late summer into autumn. 

The genus name of, Gentiana, comes from the name, Gentius, a 6th-century king of Illyria, who found the roots of the yellow gentian plant to have a healing effect on his malaria-stricken troops. The species name of, asclepiadea, is from the Latin and means “similar to Asclepias”. As you may recall, Asclepiadaceae is the family name for all the milkweed plants and refers, in part, to those plants whose stems, when broken, exude copious amounts of milky juice. This attribute gives rise to the other common name for this plant of Milkweed Gentian.   

For me, the name “Blue Gentian” will always be associated with the painting, of the same name, by the artist, John Singer Sargent. I remember when I came upon a print of this painting for the first time. I just couldn’t stop looking at the richness of the blue colour of the flowers. Personally, I don’t really like the painting that much, but the shades of blue Sargent had achieved in his work have always intrigued me. I wanted to be able to find those same colours and use them in a painting. 

Colour sample from
A few years after I first discovered Sargent’s painting, I began to experiment with working with acrylic paints after a couple of years of working only with oils. As I perused the various tubes of the acrylic paints in the artists’ supply store, I came across one labelled “Blue Gentian”. With great excitement, I added that tube to my purchases. 

I do recall that the painting I completed using that small tube of paint was very satisfying simply because of all the wonderful shades of blue I was able to achieve in it. Unfortunately, that painting, along with many others, has since disappeared during one of the many moves of my lifetime. To this day, however, the name of this beautiful flower always brings back pleasant memories for me.

Portions of the above text were taken from various Internet sources.


Rònàn recently celebrated a birthday.  His big brother helped him celebrate along with many other family members and their children.  Here are a few photos showing how the brothers shared this event...

The birthday boy and his brother with THE CAKE!  Yum....

Opening presents, whether your own or your brother's, requires
strength, speed and absolute concentration!

The brothers enjoy acting silly with these funny birthday balloons!

The birthday boy finally decides that he'll just have a
wee bit of a lie down after all that excitement!



Suki getting prepared for another nap!
Except for one morning when Suki was determined to have her breakfast at 5:30 a.m., she has been relatively well behaved this past week. I have no idea what happened on Wednesday morning to cause Suki to be so doggedly determined to get me out of bed and into the kitchen so early in the morning.  I can only assume that something awakened her, disturbing her sufficiently so that she couldn't continue resting for another half hour. Whether she was just awake and bored or had suddenly become ravenously hungry, she kept those blinds clattering constantly so that there was no way I could possibly continue sleeping!

Usually, when I yell loudly, Suki stops whatever annoying noise she is making long enough for me to get another 10 minutes or so of sleep -- but not on Wednesday morning.  She just kept it going.
I finally got so frustrated that I threw my pillow at her.  Of course, then I was so uncomfortable that I really had no choice -- I had to get out of bed.

Once I had fed her and she had eaten her fill, Suki jumped into her chair, gave herself a good washing and then settled down to sleep. With just a touch of envy, I watched her as I ate my breakfast and thought about how nice it would be to be able to eat my fill and then go back to bed -- just like Suki.  Sadly, I knew all too well how impossible that was as sleeping during the day or "sleeping in" past my usual getting-up time have been migraine triggers for me all my adult life.

Thankfully, that was the only morning Suki carried on this way. The rest of the week she behaved in her usual fashion. In other words, she did not start her "get-up-campaign" until almost 6 a.m. each day and when I yelled at her, she acted like a snooze-alarm and gave me 10 more minutes of sleep before she started making noise again.  Truly, she is the world's best alarm clock -- and not only is she that, she is also soft, furry and makes a lovely purring sound when she is contented.  And, if you are feeling a bit low, she will notice and will gently jump onto your lap, making you suddenly feel all warm and cozy and not so low at all. 

As for me, I had another week without any appointments so I just stayed at home.  I find it fascinating that I have reached a point in my life where I am utterly content to simply stay in my own home day after day after day!  Once I would have considered such a life to be almost like being in prison; yet, I now find it liberating, even, you might say, freeing.

How on earth could anyone find that being locked in day after day, whether by your own hand or another's, could possibly be "freeing"?  I cannot speak for others, but for me it is freeing because being alone enables me to deal with the constant pain in any crazy way I may see fit.  For example, I can use any distraction technique I can discover without worrying about how it looks to someone else or what others will think of me.  Most of all, it means that when the pain is really bad, I can react to it however I wish. I can yell, swear, curse or cry and I never have to worry about offending anyone with my language, having to explain my behaviour to anyone or, worst of all, feeling as though I have to put on a brave face for someone's benefit.

Wishing you all the best in the week ahead...


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