Sunday, 14 May 2017

Upside-down Flowers

"Artabotrys hexapetalus -- Ylang-Ylang Vine", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017

As you know, most flowers grow upright, facing the sun; some flowers grow sideways, facing left or right; and some even grow upside-down, facing the ground. Artabotrys hexapetalus is my most recent drawing of such an upside-down flower. 

Artabotrys hexapetalus is a shrub native to most parts of Asia and the Far East. This plant produces large, canary-yellow flowers which are greenish in the beginning and turn bright yellow as they age. The most common names for Artabotrys hexapetalus include ylang ylang vine, climbing lang-lang and ilang-ilang. When young, it appears to be a shrub but once it attains the height of about 2 meters, it turns into a strong climber. 

The ylang ylang vine is a climbing evergreen reaching a height of between 8 - 10 metres. It is a powerful, far-reaching, many-stemmed climber whose old, woody stems achieve great thickness. It supports itself on other plants by means of modified leaf stems that are shaped like hooks. It also produces bunches of large, round fruit which have long been used in the far East as a medicine for the treatment of scrofula (cervical tuberculosis). 

The plant yields an essential oil and is also used as a flavouring in tea. It is commonly cultivated as an ornamental in the tropics, especially in southern China, Indo-China, the Philippines and also in Java, valued especially for the intoxicating aroma of the flowers. Some call it the “Juicy-fruit-gum” vine as they say the flowers smell similar to that particular brand of chewing gum! 

Fruit of the
Ylang-Ylang Vine

The genus name of Artabotrys combines two Greek words: artao meaning “support” and botrys meaning “a bunch of grapes” (the fruit grows in bunches and looks like a very large bunch of grapes). The species name of hexapetalus also combines two Greek words: hexa meaning “six” and petalus meaning “petals”.

Some previous "upside-down" flowers I have posted:

"Sandersonia aurantiaca - Chinese Lantern Lily", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2015
(originally posted October 25, 2015)

"Passiflora parritae -- Passion Flower Vine", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2016
(originally posted on September 11, 2016)

Much of the information given above was taken from various Internet sources.


Some recent photos of my boys:

Older brother explains to younger brother the nature of dwarf planets in our solar system!

All I can say is that I hope Mom isn't the one who has to pick up all these Lego pieces afterwards!

After the hard work of playing, what better way to relax than with a snack and a movie!




Well, thankfully, Suki continues to appear to be feeling fine -- except for her complaints about the food situation!

As you may recall from my posting a fortnight ago, I was sharing my woes and lamentations regarding Suki's diagnosis of probable idopathic hypercalceamia and the problems I was having regarding her food.

Suki can now eat only special food I have to purchase from the vet.  Supposedly, eating this special food, and only this special food, should help to bring her calcium levels back down closer to normal.  When I first began feeding her this new food, Suki would only eat the dry stuff. However, after spending lots of money and experimenting with various types of canned food, we have discovered one kind of wet food that she will eat -- grudgingly -- and only in small amounts.

So, with a small amount of wet food and a large amount of dry food plus water each day, Suki should be OK.  Hopefully, not only will her calcium levels improve, but her weight will go down as well. Loss of weight should give her some additional relief in her back leg joints where she has had ongoing problems with arthritis plus a ruptured ligament.

Of course, if you listen to what Suki has to say, you will hear a very different story. According to her, she is being abused and mistreated by me and, as a result, she is close to death. I am actually trying to starve her by giving her food that is practically inedible.  Worst of all, I abandoned her at that place called a "cat hospital" where she was tortured for hours before being returned home. I am a wicked, wicked caregiver.

Seriously, every time someone comes into my home these days, Suki runs up to them and starts meowing piteously. It is really quite embarrassing as people always ask me what is wrong with my cat. In desperation, I have started fibbing, saying something like: "Oh, it's nothing, she is just part Siamese and so she likes to talk a lot." Somehow, I have a feeling that I won't be getting a Mothers' Day card from Suki anytime today!

Apart from the "crisis" with Suki, everything else remains pretty much as usual.  The adjustments my pain management doctor made to my medication regimen about five months ago seem to still be working fine.  I will be seeing him again in June for my regular 3-month follow-up appointment.

Meanwhile, I have a few weeks here without any medical appointments at all, including none for Suki.  I feel almost as though I am on holiday!


Today is the day most North Americans pay special attention to their mothers.  My own mother died almost 40 years ago now. As well, my older sister, Betty, who was 17 when I was born and who was always like a second mother to me, died ten years ago. So, I shall remember them with much love and affection today -- forgetting any bad stuff and remembering only the many kind things they did for me and all the good times we had together.  

To all you mothers out there, may this day be an especially happy one for each and every one of you.  Peace.

"Mother and Child on Rainy Day", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, rev. 2017


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