Sunday, 15 October 2017

Purple/Pink Repeats

"Mirabilis nyctaginea - Four O'Clocks (Wild)", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017 rev.

Blog posting of 20 July 2009 (revised):

These wildflowers are one variety of Four O'Clocks -- so called because that is the time of day when they usually start to bloom. Sort of the opposite of morning glories -- a flower I will be discussing later in this posting! 

The proper name for this plant is Mirabilis nyctaginea. Mirabilis means "wonderful" in Latin; while nyctaginea is derived from the Greek and means "night-blooming”. The plant blooms each evening (night) and has a wonderful fragrance. 

While Four O'Clocks are lovely to look at and have a fragrant odour, they also have little black seeds that look like peppercorns and are extremely poisonous.  So, if you find this plant growing in the wild, treat it gently!

One of the more interesting things about this drawing for me is that the photograph, which I used as my "model", was taken just outside of Las Cruces, New Mexico -- a place very dear to my heart. If you know that area of the States at all, you know how unexpected it would be to come upon such lovely, sweet-smelling flowers as wild Four O'Clocks.

"Dodecatheon meadia -- Shooting Stars", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017 rev.

Blog posting 17 February 2013 (revised):

Dodecatheon meadia is a species of flowering plant in the family Primulaceae. It is native to an area of mid-North America stretching from the Province of Manitoba down through the American mid-west and south. It grows in woods and prairies and tolerates partial shade. 

Dodecatheon meadia is generally known as the Common Shooting Star, though this name may also be used to refer to other species. This Shooting Star, as well as other varieties, was used medicinally by the Indigenous peoples living in this area of North America. An infusion of the roots was used as a wash for sore eyes. A cooled infusion of leaves was used for eye drops. An infusion of leaves was gargled, especially by children, for cankers. 

The genus name Dodecatheon is derived from the Greek dodeka meaning "twelve" and theoi meaning "gods" -- the twelve gods. The specific name of meadia is in honour of Dr. Richard Mead, 18th century English physician. 

This is one of the most beautiful spring wildflowers on the prairies -- much more beautiful than my drawing would indicate. One of the nature writers has said: "A colony of these plants in bloom is a sight not to be missed." I would like to try drawing these flowers again to see if I can capture a bit more of the elegance! 

Any of you who have more than a nodding acquaintance with wildflowers may notice that the flowers of Dodecatheon meadia resemble, in form, those of the Nightshade family. A commentator says: "This is an example of convergent evolution between plants of different families because of the similarities in the method of pollination."

"Ipomoea purpurea - Morning Glory", drawing by Sarah "Sallie" Thayer, 2017 rev.

I was unable to find the previous blog posting for this image.  The original drawing of Ipomoea purpurea was done back in 2007 or 2008, I believe, and some of those early columns were accidentally deleted.  So, here is the information on this particular Morning Glory from my files.

Ipomoea purpurea is commonly known as the Purple Morning-glory or Common Morning-glory. Ipomoea is the largest genus in the flowering plant family, Convolvulaceae, with over 500 species. It is a large and diverse group with common names including morning-glory, water convolvulus, sweet potato, bindweed, moonflower, etc. 

Like all morning glories the plant entwines itself around structures, growing to a height of 2–3 metres. The leaves are medium-to-dark green and somewhat heart-shaped. The flowers are trumpet-shaped, predominantly purple or white. 

Ipomoea purpurea is native to Mexico and Central America, but it is naturalized throughout the temperate and subtropical regions of the world. Although it is often considered a noxious weed, Ipomoea purpurea is also grown for its beautiful purple or white flowers and has many cultivars. 

The genus name of Ipomoea comes from modern Latin and is derived from the Greek (ips ‘worm’ + homoios ‘like) meaning worm-like, referring to the coiled flower bud. The specific name of purpurea is Latin for the colour purple.

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


"Suki Staring"
(pencil sketch made from photo
taken by J. Gordon, 2017)
Well, this may be a very short column today as neither Suki nor Sallie have very much to report -- not even after two weeks of silence.

Thankfully, Suki continues to appear reasonably healthy and seems content to continue her diet therapy for the hypercalcemia. She will have to have further blood tests in December in order to determine how well this regimen is working so I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Meanwhile, Suki continues to behave reasonably well (for a kitty cat, that is!).  I am very grateful that this is the case as I have been too unwell to clean up any extra messes or search for new foods to tempt her finicky appetite. In fact, she seems to know that I am in a lot of pain most of the time as she no longer jumps up onto my lap.  Instead, every so often, she comes up to the side of the recliner so that I am able to easily scratch her head and ears until my fingers begin to hurt too much and I have to stop.

I have seen the various doctors involved in my treatment and, while they are all very sympathetic, they really don't have much to offer me.  At this time, their suggestions include back surgery (something I do not intend to do), gentle physio (I'm waiting to see if I will be approved for physio in my home) or higher doses of my various pain medications.  

As for the various options that I referred to in my posting of 1 October 2017, I am still considering some of those choices for my future living arrangements.  However, there are several "pieces of the puzzle" which are still missing at this time, such as the state of Joycelyn's health.  She is having to have a number of medical investigations at the moment and until she gets the results, I really am uncertain as to how much longer she will be able to care for me.  Hopefully, she will be fine and her companionship and caregiving skills can continue for the foreseeable future.  If not...

Presently, my evenings and nights are now sometimes so pain filled that I think the only solution is to get my doctors to put me into a medically-induced coma (if only they would!).  Then the morning comes again and, for a few hours, the pain is bearable and I feel that just maybe I can continue living on my own with Suki for company and Joycelyn for companionship and caregiving.  We will just have to wait and see how things unfold.

In spite of the pain, I do have plans to visit my favourite young lads today (this explains why I am posting this so early).  A dear friend has offered to drive me to their home and back. This will be far less costly than a taxi and much more comfortable with my various pillows for support and the freedom to adjust the seat however it best suits my back and legs. 

Hopefully, when I post again two weeks from now, I will have some new photos of the boys (and me) to show you.  It really depends on just how rambunctious Braden and Ro are feeling while I am visiting.  If they need more supervision than usual because they are trying to outdo each other in showing off for me, then the parents might not have time to think about taking photos!

During the two weeks between now and my next posting, I hope that your lives will be filled with all those things that bring you true happiness and joy.  And, as always, I wish you peace.


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