Flowers #3350C, 3331G, 3348D, 3339B, 3336C, 3333B, 3342B & 3349C   Leave a comment

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April 20, 2014

Easter Lilies are known primarily as a potted plant given as a gift or bought for oneself during the Easter holiday.  This plant is considered the traditional Easter flower because it is said to symbolize goodness, purity, life, hope and innocence.  Most people who buy the plant for themselves or who receive it as a gift throw it out after the blooms have all died, however this need not be.  Although it is not known as a hardy houseplant, it can be transplanted outdoors, where it can bloom for many years.

Ironically, this lily does not bloom outdoors during the Easter season.  In your garden, they bloom during June or July.  Greenhouse growers pot the bulbs in the fall and force them to bloom for the holiday by turning up the heat in their greenhouses.  Easter Lilies spout a straight stalk, which grows to a height of about two feet, and bear large, elongated buds that open into pure white flowers with yellow anthers.  The large trumpet shape flowers produce a tremendous fragrance.

After the plant’s last bloom has died, it can be planted outdoors after the last frost.  Its bulbs should be planted three inches deep, and if planting more than one, they should be spaced twelve to eighteen inches apart.  This lily likes a somewhat rich, moist but well-drained soil.  It likes the cool morning sun and not a hot afternoon one.  It is hardy even in cold climates, but should be mulched.  In colder regions, the bulbs should be dug up and stored indoors during the winter months.  If left outdoors, the mulch needs to be removed in the spring to allow the new shoots to grow.

Easter Lilies, whose botanical name is Lilium Longiflorum, are native to the Ryukyu Islands of southern Japan.  Its U.S. popularity is due to that of one American soldier.  At the end of World War I, Louis Houghton bought home a suitcase full of these bulbs.  He just happened to live in a region of the southern coast of Oregon, whose climate is very similar to that of the Ryukyu Islands.  Before World War II, nearly all bulbs came from Japan, however that all changed when importing them was banned during the war.  Ten farms along the California-Oregon border now produce ninety-five percent of all bulbs sold to U.S. growers, where they are grown in greenhouses around the country in time for the holiday.  Easter Lilies are the fourth largest potted plant crop sold in the U.S. behind only that of Poinsettias, Mums and Azaleas.

Nearly all Easter Lilies have the Lily Symptomless Virus that could spread to other lilies in your garden.  However, the virus may or may not cause problems.  One other issue with this plant is that it is highly toxic to cats and other animals.

Steven H. Spring

Flowers #866C, 859C, 863B, 868B & 860B   3 comments

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April 14, 2014

Lilies, whose scientific name is Lilium, has more than one hundred gorgeous species in its family. There are many plants that have lily in their common name; however, not all are true Lilies. Two examples of this misnomer are Day Lilies and Peace Lilies. True Lilies are mostly native throughout the temperate climate regions of the northern hemisphere of planet Earth, although their range can extend into the northern subtropics as well. This range extends across much of Europe, Asia, Japan and the Philippines and across southern Canada and throughout most of the United States.

Lilies are very easy to grow. They are not especially particular about soil neither type nor pH level. Their only requirement is well-drained soil. Lilies grow best in full sun; however, they may thrive in partial sun as well. An interesting fact about this plant is that most Lily bulbs have very thick roots that have the ability to pull the bulb down into the soil at a depth that is most optimum for their continued survival.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment. Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

Flowers #4933D, 4927D, 4927B, 4929B & 4934D   2 comments

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April 5, 2014

Roses are a woody perennial flower in the Rosaceae scientific family classification.  There are over one hundred and fifty known species, and more than two thousand different varieties.  Most species are native to Asia, although some species are native to Europe, North America, and northwest Africa.  Roses range in size from miniature to climbers that can reach more than twenty feet in height.  Roses are best known as ornamental plants grown for their flowers in the garden, although they can be grown indoors under the right conditions.  They have also been used commercially in perfume and sold commercially as a cut flower.  A dozen red roses are given as a sign of true love on Valentine’s Day or wedding anniversaries.  In addition, they are known to have minor medicinal uses.

Roses have a very long and rich history.  Throughout history, they have not only been symbols of both love and beauty, but also that of politics and war.  Fossil evidence dates the rose to at least thirty-five million years old.  Garden cultivation of roses date back some five thousand years ago to China.  With popularity spreading westward, Roman aristocrats established large public rose gardens in Rome, during the height of the Roman Empire.  Roses are most often divided into one of two broad categories: old roses and modern roses.  Old roses are those varieties discovered or cultivated prior to the cultivation of the hybrid tea rose in 1867, by French nurseryman Jean-Baptiste Guillot.  Modern roses include miniatures and dwarfs; the modern shrub and landscape roses; and climbers.

The leaves of a rose alternate along both sides of the stem.  In most species, leaves are two to six inches long and are serrated.  Thorns, technically called prickles, grow along the stem to assist the plant in hanging onto vegetation, walls or fences, and as every gardener is well aware, are an aggravation whenever working around any rose bush.  Flowers vary in size and shape, although they are usually large and showy, with colors ranging from white and yellow to red.  The flower of most species has five petals.  Each petal is divided into two distinct lobes.  Beneath the petals are five sepals.

Roses are rather finicky flowers, and the gardener need be aware of the right growing conditions in order to grow a healthy, flowering plant.  The plant needs between six to eight hours of direct sunlight each day, although in hot climates, they need some protection from the intense afternoon sun.  In cooler climates, a south or west-facing wall or fence will provide some needed warmth to boost flower production and reduce any damage due to winter’s wrath.  Roses need a well-drained, rich soil, with a pH between 6.5 and 7.  Roses require more water than most other landscape plants, especially during its first year, while the plant is establishing its roots.  A thick layer of organic mulch will help to conserve moisture, while reducing weeds, and will also help promote a healthy root system.  Roses also like nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium, and should be fertilized using a mixture ratio of 5-8-5.  Weak, sickly or dead stems need to be pruned as they can lead to disease problems. Pruning away these unhealthy stems will also increase air circulation to the center of the plant and minimize fungus problems.  Pruning also stimulates new growth and allows the gardener to shape the plant in a manner they wish. Spent flowers should also be removed during the growing season to encourage re-blooming.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment.  Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

The Final Four   Leave a comment

April 5, 2014

I have long thought the NCAA Final Four tournament the best sporting event going. To me, the much over-hyped Super Bowl doesn’t compare to the sixty-four (or is it sixty-eight?) team, single elimination tournament for the national championship in men’s basketball. There is nothing better in sports than a small school, Cinderella storied run, beating the so-called “big boys” along the way, very much like Dayton this year. I do not know if its old age creeping in or Final Four popularity rising to fever pitch, but I do have a long history of liking something less the more popular it becomes. This has been especially true in my musical tastes. Most artists that I think are great, most people never heard. Even the musical genre I love most, the blues, is a dying art form that nobody listens too.

Appealing to the masses, to me just causes anything to lose its edge, whatever “it” may be. The recent ruling that Northwestern athletes are employees of the university will revolutionize collegiate sports. Athletes no longer play for the love of school, but for the want of money. The ironic thing is that these employees/athletes/students will probably pay more in taxes than what they will earn in pay, once their tuition, room and board are counted as earnings on their W-2s. Athletes eat very well, and a lot. It must cost a fortune to feed a football team. Paying taxes on this “income” will become quit expense.

What I also do not understand is why basketball is the only sport in which the players’ uniforms are getting bigger and bigger every year. In every other sport, players wear as little as possible. Even cheerleaders wear as little as possible. For the past twenty years, basketball shorts have more in common with women’s culottes than they do with being “short.” Doesn’t all this extra material hinder both running and jumping? Now, the latest fad is for players’ jerseys to have sleeves. Football players’ jerseys actually look funny because they no longer have sleeves, except for maybe an occasional quarterback.

Another irritating thing I have with both football and basketball uniforms is the recent trend of the so-called throwback and/or specialty uniforms. I find most of these uniforms very hideous looking. Why do teams allow the apparel companies to dictate what they wear? The answer is simple, money. Teams receive millions of dollars from the various apparel companies to wear their uniforms. Replica jersey sales is big business, and these companies realized several years ago that having more than just the traditional home and away jerseys mean that many more they can sell the adoring public.

It’s bad enough that each piece of uniform, sock and sweat band shows its corporate logo front and center, however, I find it both rather ridiculous and irritating the sheer number of NCAA logos everywhere during the Final Four tournament. I wrote NCAA President Dr. Mark Emmert last year after watching the first two rounds (or is it three, since the play-in games now count as round one), complaining about the numerous NCAA logos. I made a list while watching one game to back my argument and found the total number most pitiful. The following is the list, and most likely is not all-inclusive:

Three logos on the court itself, including the enormous one at mid-court,
Three logos on top of each backboard,
Two, sometimes three logos on the scorer’s table electronic advertisement board,
Two logos on the bunting along press row behind the scorer’s table,
Two logos on the floor in front of the scorer’s table,
Two logos on the sideline reporter’s microphone,
One logo at the base of each backboard support,
One logo on each player’s uniform,
One logo on every coach’s suit jacket,
One logo on every referee’s shirt,
One logo on every chair on each team’s bench,
One logo on every chair behind the scorer’s table,
One logo on each team’s shoe scuffing pad,
One logo on every bucket of Gatorade,
One logo on every cup of Gatorade,
One logo on the scores of different games at the top of the television screen,
One logo is flash very quickly on the television screen when every reply is shown,
And one logo is flash during every commercial break on the television screen as the score of that game is given.

I did not attempt to count the number of logos shown at half time in the television studio behind and in front of the commentators as there were so many different NCAA, network and university logos displayed along with videos being played that one could become nauseated by it all.

As always the case in America, money governs everything in modern society. We are brainwashing our children by the constant bombardment of advertising that affects seeming every aspect of modern life. And sadly, no one cares.

Steven H. Spring

A Red Rose For Miss. Rose   1 comment

Flowers #4933B

April 2, 2014

This photograph is dedicated to a very special woman who is celebrating a milestone birthday today, the exact age of which I will not disclose for fear that she might kick my a**, but let’s just say it’s a big, big number.  Without her coming into my life, my passion/obsession of photographing flowers might never have blossomed into what it is today.  She welcomed me into not only her life but her entire family as well, at a time when I needed it most.  A few years earlier, I had hit a brick wall doing ninety miles an hour.  Not only did I hit rock bottom, but I broke on through into the depths of a living hell.  I must admit however, the entire family are the craziest freakin’ mothers I have ever met!  Somehow, I fit in.  I have done things with Miss. Rose that I have never done with any other woman, of which may or may not have been in violation of state, federal and/or international law.

I have been growing and shooting flowers for many years, although nothing compared to that of today.  Some of my earliest childhood memories are of helping Grandma dig up her Canna bulbs every fall.  Twelve years ago, after losing my old farmhouse, and suffering from a then fifth year of a very serious, nearly fatal midlife crisis in which I lost everything that mattered most in life, I decided to give up gardening when I moved into an apartment, giving away all my shovels, rakes and gardening tools, while throwing away all the bulbs that I was planning on taking with me.  My thought was gardening takes away too much valuable time from practicing my guitar playing, which is my true love.

Moving in my apartment, I met Rose, my next-door neighbor.  To make a long story short, she sweet-talked me into helping her start a garden.  After helping her that first year, I decided to plant a few flowers in my little front yard and patio.  One thing led to another and now there is very little grass left in the front yard, replaced over the years by a larger and larger garden.  After running out of space, I decided a few years ago to start a few potted plants, which now number more than twenty on the small patio.  My garden has even spilled over onto the other side of the sidewalk, with a pretty good size flowerbed running nearly the length of my apartment.

Without having met Rose those many years ago, my love of growing and shooting flowers might never have grown into what it is today.  Not only is this photograph dedicated to her, but the thousands of incredible photos that I have shot over the past twelve years are dedicated to her as well.

Happy birthday, Rose!!!  May you have many, many more!!!

Steven H. Spring

Flowers #1233C, 1234B, 1236C, 1238B, 1237B, 1233D & 1231B   4 comments

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March 29, 2014

Lilies, whose scientific name is Lilium, has more than one hundred gorgeous species in its family. There are many plants that have lily in their common name; however, not all are true Lilies. Two examples of this misnomer are Day Lilies and Peace Lilies. True Lilies are mostly native throughout the temperate climate regions of the northern hemisphere of planet Earth, although their range can extend into the northern subtropics as well. This range extends across much of Europe, Asia, Japan and the Philippines and across southern Canada and throughout most of the United States.

Lilies are very easy to grow. They are not especially particular about soil neither type nor pH level. Their only requirement is well-drained soil. Lilies grow best in full sun; however, they may thrive in partial sun as well. An interesting fact about this plant is that most Lily bulbs have very thick roots that have the ability to pull the bulb down into the soil at a depth that is most optimum for their continued survival.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment. Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

Flowers #3428B, 3418C, 3420B, 3425B, 3427B, 3419B & 3434C   Leave a comment

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March 22, 2014

Lilies, whose scientific name is Lilium, has more than one hundred gorgeous species in its family.  There are many plants that have lily in their common name; however, not all are true Lilies.  Two examples of this misnomer are Day Lilies and Peace Lilies.  True Lilies are mostly native throughout the temperate climate regions of the northern hemisphere of planet Earth, although their range can extend into the northern subtropics as well.  This range extends across much of Europe, Asia, Japan and the Philippines and across southern Canada and throughout most of the United States.

Lilies are very easy to grow.  They are not especially particular about soil neither type nor pH level.  Their only requirement is well-drained soil.  Lilies grow best in full sun; however, they may thrive in partial sun as well.  An interesting fact about this plant is that most Lily bulbs have very thick roots that have the ability to pull the bulb down into the soil at a depth that is most optimum for their continued survival.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too much or the color schemes of the mats do not match either themselves or the photograph, please let me know via a comment.  Being color-blind, what might look great to me might look like sh*t to everyone else!

Steven H. Spring

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