Dahlias #77BR, 76DR, 78BR, 75BR, 73BR, 74CR, 76B & 79CR

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August 30, 2014

Dahlias are a genus of bushy, tuberous perennial flowering plants that are native primarily to Mexico but also extending further down into Central America and Columbia. Spaniards discovered the flower in Mexico in 1525, where the indigenous population used the plant not only as a source for food, but also as medicine. With at least thirty-six known species, and thousands of different varieties, Dahlias, which is also its scientific name, are a member of the Asteraceae plant family, which includes related genera such as Cone Flowers, Daisies, Chrysanthemums, Marigolds, Sunflowers and Zinnias. Like other flowers in the Asteraceae family, Dahlias appear to be a single bloom, but in reality are made up of many individual flowers. Although this plant produces a gorgeous flower, its bloom does not generate a scent, thus it relies on its stunning colors to attract the insects required for pollination. Dahlias bloom from mid-summer up until your region’s first frost in the fall.

Dahlias should be planted around the middle of April through May, again depending on the region, when the threat of frost is no longer prevalent. The ground temperature should be at least sixty degrees. In much of the United States, these plants do not survive the winter, thus the tubers (fleshy roots similar to bulbs) need to be dug up every fall, and replanted each spring. Before the first frost of fall, these plants should be cut back to six inches. After digging up the tubers, shake off any soil, and then store in a frost-free place. Generally, forty to forty-five degrees is best suited for the tubers.

This plant requires eight to ten hours of direct or somewhat filtered sunlight each day, but especially love the morning sun. Less sun results in taller plants and less blooms. They thrive best in a cool, moist climate, while doing poorly in hot, humid weather. If your summer temperatures routinely exceed ninety degrees, these flowers should be planted in an area that receives some shade during the hottest part of the day. The flower thrives best in a rich, well-drained, slightly acidic, sandy soil. If your soil is too heavy or clayish, sand and/or peat moss can be added to lighten it. Dahlias are considered deer-resistant, though no plant is, in truth resistant to hungry deer. Dahlias are, however vulnerable to slug and snail damage.

With so many different varieties of Dahlias, the plant varies greatly not only in height, but also in the color, shape and size of the blooms. These flowers range in height from miniature six-inch plants to tree Dahlias that can grow more than fifteen feet tall. Larger plants will requiring staking. Colors range from white, yellow, orange, bronze, lavender and pink to red and purple, as well as dark red and dark purple. Blooms range in size from two inches up to twelve inches in diameter. Mature plants are as wide as they are tall. The large variety of blooms are due to the flowers being octoploid, meaning they have eight sets of homologous chromosomes, whereas most other plants have only two.

The tubers should be planted horizontally four to six inches deep, spaced roughly two feet apart. After covering with soil, the tubers should not be watered, as it can lead to rotting. Do not water until the tubers start to spout. In addition, tubers should not be mulched, as mulching does not allow the soil to warm enough for the tubers to spout. Mulch can be applied once the tubers do spout. Young plants do not require much water, again too much watering leads to rotting. Mature plants should be watered only if rainfall is less than one inch a week. If you are like me, and live in a region with freezing temperatures during the winter months, Dahlias can be grown in containers, however these plants only do well in large containers, generally they need pots at least twelve inches in diameter per tuber. Dwarf Dahlias are best suited when using containers. You should use two parts top soil along with one part of potting soil that has not been chemically treated for weeds.

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

Lilies #195B, 193BR, 194C & 192BR

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August 23, 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

Zinnias #36B, 37B, 38B, 39B, 41C & 43BR

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August 16, 2014

Zinnias are a genus of twenty species of flowering plants of the Asteracea family, however more than one hundred different plants have been cultivated since crossbreeding them began in the nineteenth century. Zinnias, which is also its botanical name, are native to the scrub and dry grasslands of southwestern United States, Mexico and Central America. Noted for their long-stemmed flowers that come in a variety of bright colors, Zinnias are named for German professor of botany Johann Gottfried Zinn (1727-1759).

Zinnias are a perennial flowering plant in frost-free climates, but are an annual everywhere else. With leaves opposite each other, their shapes range from linear to ovate, with colors from pale to middle green. The blooms come in different shapes as well, ranging from a single row of petals to a doom shape. Their colors range from purple, red, pink, orange, yellow and white to multicolored. There are many different types of Zinnias. They come in dwarf types, quill-leaf cactus types, spider types, ranging from six inches high with a bloom less than an inch in diameter to plants four feet tall with seven-inch blooms. This plant will grow in most soil types, but thrives in humus-rich, well-watered, well-drained soils. They like the direct sun at least six hours a day; however, they will tolerate just the afternoon sun.

If grown as an annual, they can be started early indoors around mid April. Any earlier and they just might grow too large to manage as the plant germinates in only five to seven days. However, these plants are said to dislike being transplanted. If seeding is done outdoors, they should be sown in late May, after the threat of the last frost, when the soil is above sixty degrees. They will reseed themselves each year. Plant the seeds a quarter-inch deep, covered with loose soil. For bushier plants, pinch off an inch from the tips of the main stems while the plant is still young.

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

Lilies #187BR, 184C, 185C, 183C, 182B, 186C & 181B

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August 9, 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

An Open Letter To President Barack Obama

August 9, 2014

The following is a copy of my letter to President Obama regarding the dismal state of America’s rapidly aging and deteriorating infrastructure system;

August 8, 2014

The Honorable Barack H. Obama
President of the United States of America
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C. 20048

Dear President Obama,

Driving up to London this past weekend with my neighbor, on our way to Wal-Mart in search of their end of season discount perennial flowers, we noticed that State Route 42 was recently tarred and chipped. I told my neighbor that for a state route, this was pitiful. This relatively inexpensive way to temporarily extend the life of a deteriorating blacktop highway was what county engineers did to lightly traveled back roads. For a county engineer to do so on a state route is deplorable.

For a very long time now, this nation’s roads have been in terrible condition. The American Society of Civil Engineers, in their 2013 Report Card For American Infrastructure, gave an overall grade of D+ for the country’s infrastructure, with a grade of D for our roads. The engineers estimated that America needs to spend $3.6 trillion dollars by 2020 to upgrade our infrastructure to a “good” status, yet funding is anticipated to be half that amount.

I told my neighbor that I have written over the years that the best way to put America back to work, with good paying jobs is to rebuild our entire infrastructure system. I told him that when rebuilding the roads, we should replace all the existing sewer lines and bury all the electrical and telephone lines, going as far as to running fiber optics.

Yet, all Congress can do is to pass a somewhat temporary bill to fund the Highway Trust Fund through May of next year, mainly in the attempt to prevent a twenty-eight percent cut in federal highway funding. This nation can go to war seemingly every other week, all the while our country is falling apart at the seams. And Congress is content to watch it crumble.

Disgraceful!

Sincerely,
Steven H. Spring

C.: TalkingLoudAndSayingNothingParts3And4.WordPress.com
Speaker of the House John Boehner
Senator Sherrod Brown
Senator Rob Portman

Lilies #167C, 176C, 172C, 164C, 180B, 168C, 170B, 177B, 169B, 173C & 165C

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August 2, 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

Twenty-Five Thousand…And Counting

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July 26, 2014

Five days ago, I reached a milestone, that being the twenty-five thousandth photograph I have shot with my relatively new camera. Because digital cameras (assuming all digital cameras do so) number every photo taken, one always knows exactly how many you have shot. When I was looking to replace my thirty-three year old camera last summer, I was originally looking to buy a used one. However, after considering that I would need to buy a battery and charger, and pay taxes and shipping for both them and the camera, I discovered that I could buy a new one for about the same amount of money. While checking out used cameras, I always wondered how the sellers always knew exactly how many photos were taken.

One might say twenty-five thousand photos, nearly every one that of a flower, just might be a bit obsessive, and if you consider that I did not take a single photo during the winter months, that number appears to be just that (I will admit to having a very serious case of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). I received the new camera on June 5th of last summer and shot the last photo of the year on October 18th. I started shooting flowers again this spring on April 9th. As a rough approximation, this works out to more than three thousand photos a month, or slightly more than one hundred photographs every single day, the equivalent of three rolls of film. That number is just an average though, as there are many days that I do not shoot any pictures, because of rain or nothing new in bloom. Since I now shoot in both JPEG and RAW format, thus actually getting two photographs for every one taken, this number becomes even more impressive, or should I say compulsive.

When I am out shooting, I can quickly shoot a couple hundred photos in no time. Back in the old days, that being prior to last year, I would normally shoot about a dozen rolls of film all summer. However, I can now shoot about twenty-five hundred photos per memory card for about the same amount of money that I would spend on a single roll of film and processing. Shooting flowers can be very difficult. Even the slightest breeze will cause a flower to sway mightily back and forth. And the closer you get, the more they appear to sway. I always shoot four or five photos of each shot, changing both the aperture and/or speed each time in the attempt to get one great photograph. I then review each photo, deleting the bad ones. Thus, at most, I might keep seventy-five percent of what I shoot.

And, if truth be told, I have shot an awful lot of incredible photos since finally going digital!

Steven H. Spring