Sunday, 18 December 2016

Gladiolus alatus

"Gladiolus alatus", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016

There are about 250 species of Gladiolus in Africa and Madagascar and into Eurasia with about 160 species found within the borders of southern Africa. Gladiolus alatus, today’s featured species of Gladiolus, is commonly known as “Little Turkey” because its flower petals resemble the colourful wattle of a turkey. 

Gladiolus alatus is native to an area from southern Namibia south throughout the Cape Peninsula of South Africa. It is found growing on sandy slopes with sandstone and granite soils. 

It is a very brightly coloured plant with its showy, fragrant orange and yellowish-green winged flowers. The flowers are short-lived, lasting about a week. The leaves are firm, sickle-shaped and ribbed, usually in clusters of 5 or more. Gladiolus alatus flowers from August to October. 

The bright colours and sweetly scented flowers of Gladiolus alatus attract numerous pollinators, particularly the honey bee in search of nectar. 

Gladiolus in Latin means ‘small sword', referring to the sword-shaped leaves of this plant. Alatus (Latin for ‘winged') refers to the wing-shaped petals and seeds. 

At this time, Gladiolus alatus is not a threatened species.

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


What can I say about Miss Suki except that she has been reasonably well behaved for another week. Perhaps she has been listening to the words of the Christmas song which says: 
Remember, Suki, Santa is watching!

You better watch out, You better not cry, You better not pout I'm telling you why, Santa Claus is coming to town. 
He's making a list, He's checking it twice, He's gonna find out who's naughty or nice, Santa Claus is coming to town. 
He sees you when you're sleeping, And he knows when you're awake, He knows if you've been bad or good, So be good for goodness sake. 

If this is the case, then I suppose I had better think about getting her some presents to open on Christmas morning! I do have a big bag of her favourite cat treats hidden in the cupboard and there is a catnip mouse which has never been out of the package. So, I had better get them wrapped and into her Christmas stocking! 

Well, we were supposed to have a big snowstorm here in Toronto this past Friday evening. Actually, I was hoping we would have a blizzard. I know that sounds crazy (and rather unkind to those people who have to shovel their sidewalks and driveways), but after a blizzard the most amazing thing happens in this City of about 3 million people – it goes quiet – all the cars, buses, streetcars, trains, trucks, subways, etc. suddenly stop. 

Info about Toronto's 1999 Snowstorm
I remember going out onto my balcony soon after the worst of the snow ended in the blizzard of 1999 and I was amazed and awed by the silence. There were no vehicles anywhere that first day, but, by the second day, the first of the snow plows arrived and began their noisy, smelly task of turning all that beautiful, white snow into grey slush. 

There was another occasion back in about 1968 – soon after my husband and I had moved to Toronto – when there was a major snowstorm that shut down the City for a day or two. This was our first big Toronto snowstorm experience. So, we had been carefully watching the storm from our cozy apartment throughout the day and when the snow finally ended about 11 p.m., we bundled up in our recently purchased Canadian army surplus store coats and boots. This meant that once we put on our toques and mittens we were reasonably comfortable even in the bitter cold. 

Thus protected, we set off for a late-night walk in the newly fallen snow. By now, the moon, almost full, was visible in the night sky. As the snow was still blowing, we tried to walk in the spots where the wind had blown most of the snow into huge drifts. In the light of the moon and the occasional street light, it looked as though the snow had been sprinkled with tiny, silver flakes and the air sparkled with them as the wind made the unpacked snow swirl and dance. 

The place where we were living at that time was only a few blocks north of Lake Ontario – a location known as the Scarborough Bluffs – sandy cliffs (quite high in some places) that led straight down to a narrow beach filled with driftwood and such. We made that our destination.  As we walked through those snowy, moonlit surroundings, it seemed to me that we were walking in a fairy land. The strangest part of all was that it was so quiet that I could hear the waves hitting the shore from two blocks away. 

We walked all the way to the edge of one of the highest cliffs. It had been very cold before it had started snowing the previous night and with the moon shining across the water, we could see chunks of ice floating in the waves of that dark, inland sea. This was perhaps the most magical walk I ever took in my life. Truly, it was an unforgettable experience.

Hope you didn't mind my reminiscing, but it keeps me from complaining about all my aches and pains!

Are you ready for Christmas?  


Fourth Sunday of Advent



Deb said...

Merry Christmas, Sallie and Suki!

Sallie Thayer said...

Thanks so much, Deb. And the same to you and to any feline friends you may have!