Daffodils #27GR, 26GR, 40DR, 27IR & 25HR

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April 30, 2016

Daffodils, whose botanical name is Narcissus, are a perennial flowering plant in the Amaryllidaceae family. Native to the meadows and woods of southwestern Europe and northern Africa over through western Asia, Daffodils were introduced to the Far East by the tenth century and have since been widely naturalized. The Prophet Muhammad referenced the plant in sixth century writings and recorded history date as far back as 300 B.C. With as many as one hundred wild species (the actual number is debated), cultivated hybrids now number more than thirteen thousand varieties.

Known for its early spring bloom cycle, Daffodils are a vigorous, long-lived flower that grows to a height of twenty inches, depending on the variety, with even a miniature version growing only six inches tall. Leaf-less stems grow up in the middle of long, narrow green or bluish-green leaves, producing most often only a single bloom. The flower consists of three petals, three sepals and a central corona, which is often called the trumpet or cup, depending on its size. The flowers are predominately white or yellow, although hybrids now include orange, green and pink.

The plant likes a full or partial sun with slightly acidic, well-drained soil. Bulbs should be planted in the autumn at a depth of three times the size of the bulb. Known as an easy to grow plant requiring little maintenance, Daffodils produce lycorine, a bitter poison that makes the plant deer and rodent resistant. After the plant is finished flowering, let its leaves mature and yellow before topping them off. Cutting the foliage before it ages can reduce the plant’s vitality and longevity. Bulbs should be dug up and divided every few years to prevent overcrowding.

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
Earth

Tulips #26L, 76C, 45B & 44BR

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April 23, 2016

Tulips, whose botanical name is Tulipa, are a genus of flowering perennial plants in the Lily family. With approximately one hundred wild species, native Tulips range from Spain to Asia Minor, including northern Africa. First cultivated in Persia around the tenth century, there are now more than four thousand cultivated species. This plant is further classified based on plant size, flower shape and bloom time.

Introduced to the western world in 1551 by Augier Ghislain de Busbecq, the Austrian ambassador to Turkey, the word Tulip seems to have originated from the Turkish word tulbend, which translates into the English word turban. It is thought that the name came about because of a translation error concerning the wearing of Tulips in the turbans of Ottoman Empire men. Tulips were first imported to the United States in the mid 1800s.

Tulips range in height from as short as four inches up to more than two feet tall. The plant usually has two or three thick strap-shaped, bluish-green leaves sprouting up at ground level in the form of a rosette, though some species have as many as twelve leaves. Most Tulips produce a single flower per stem, although a few species do produce multiple blooms. The cup or star-shaped flower has three petals, three sepals and six stamens, although the petals and sepals are nearly identical. They come in a wide variety of colors, with the exception of pure blue. The colors range from pure white through all shades of yellow, red and brown, as well as those so dark purple they appear black. Several species have “blue” in their common name; however, their blooms have a violent hue.

Indigenous to mountainous locales with temperate climates, Tulips grow best in areas with cool winters, springs and summers. They prefer a full to partial sun, with a neutral to slightly acidic, dry or sandy soil, though they will bloom in almost any soil type with good drainage. Bulbs are usually planted in the autumn, at a depth ranging from four to eight inches, depending on your soil type. Although they will continue blooming annually for several years, the bulbs will deteriorate over time, and will need replacing. A common thought to prolong the life of the bulb is that after the plant has finished blooming and its leaves have turned yellow, is to dig up the bulbs and store them in a cool, dry place and then replant them in the fall.

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
Earth

Tulips #117CR, 153AR, 111CR, 142AR & 113BR

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April 16, 2016

Tulips, whose botanical name is Tulipa, are a genus of flowering perennial plants in the Lily family. With approximately one hundred wild species, native Tulips range from Spain to Asia Minor, including northern Africa. First cultivated in Persia around the tenth century, there are now more than four thousand cultivated species. This plant is further classified based on plant size, flower shape and bloom time.

Introduced to the western world in 1551 by Augier Ghislain de Busbecq, the Austrian ambassador to Turkey, the word Tulip seems to have originated from the Turkish word tulbend, which translates into the English word turban. It is thought that the name came about because of a translation error concerning the wearing of Tulips in the turbans of Ottoman Empire men. Tulips were first imported to the United States in the mid 1800s.

Tulips range in height from as short as four inches up to more than two feet tall. The plant usually has two or three thick strap-shaped, bluish-green leaves sprouting up at ground level in the form of a rosette, though some species have as many as twelve leaves. Most Tulips produce a single flower per stem, although a few species do produce multiple blooms. The cup or star-shaped flower has three petals, three sepals and six stamens, although the petals and sepals are nearly identical. They come in a wide variety of colors, with the exception of pure blue. The colors range from pure white through all shades of yellow, red and brown, as well as those so dark purple they appear black. Several species have “blue” in their common name; however, their blooms have a violet hue.

Indigenous to mountainous locales with temperate climates, Tulips grow best in areas with cool winters, springs and summers. They prefer a full to partial sun, with a neutral to slightly acidic, dry or sandy soil, though they will bloom in almost any soil type with good drainage. Bulbs are usually planted in the autumn, at a depth ranging from four to eight inches, depending on your soil type. Although they will continue blooming annually for several years, the bulbs will deteriorate over time, and will need replacing. A common thought to prolong the life of the bulb is that after the plant has finished blooming and its leaves have turned yellow, is to dig up the bulbs and store them in a cool, dry place and then replant them in the fall.

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
Earth

America’s Deteriorating Infrastructure

April 13, 2016

As devastating as the Associated Press investigation into this nation’s drinking water seems to be, this is only the tip of the iceberg regarding this nation’s entire infrastructure system. Every four years, the American Society of Civil Engineers issues their Report Card For America’s Infrastructure, and in their most recent report, released in 2013, America received an overall grade of D+. The engineers estimated that $3.6 trillion dollars would need to be spent by 2020 to raise all scores to a B (good) level.

The breakdown of the individual grades are: aviation D, bridges C+, dams D, drinking water D, energy D+, hazardous waste D, levees D-, parks & recreation C-, ports C, rail C+, roads D, schools D, solid waste B-, transit D and wastewater D.

Over the past decade, I have written on more than one occasion to my Congressmen and the president that the way to put America back to work with decent paying jobs is to overhaul our entire infrastructure system. Our infrastructure has been neglected for decades; all the while, we seemingly go to war every other month. America prides itself on being the greatest country of all-time, yet we are falling apart at the seams in our pursuit of world dominance.

The good news is that there has been some recent improvement in our scores; however, as a nation, we are a major catastrophe just waiting to happen.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Flowers #448B, 446BR, 445AR & 447AR

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April 9, 2016

This past Saturday afternoon, I had taken a few photos of a very large tree in full, glorious bloom in the front yard of my apartment to send to one of my Navy brothers who lives out west in Phoenix, Arizona. At that time, it was very windy, as our weather had recently changed from weeks of ten degrees above normal temperatures to ten degrees below normal.

About an hour later, as a very dear friend and I were enjoying some bud, I told her to turn around and look out the window as the wind was blowing up a storm. It looked like it was snowing, but because it was the first week of April; I told her it must just be the wind blowing all the blooms off the tree that I had earlier photographed. We both got up to look out the door, as it was a very unusual sight.

After a minute or two, we realized that it was indeed snowing. In a matter of a few minutes, it became a full onslaught blizzard. You could not see the apartment building that is maybe one hundred feet in front of mine. In a mater of fifteen minutes, a blizzard with whiteout conditions blew through my neck of the woods and was gone. When the worst of the storm was over, I quickly grabbed my camera and headed outdoors.

As it was still very windy, I shot many more photos than I normally do (and that is usually quite a few) and ended up deleting three-quarters of them from the memory card before uploading the remainder onto my computer. Many of the remaining photos were slightly out of focus as well (a slight wind causes havoc when shooting flowers, a thirty mile an hour wind makes it downright impossible), but I did end up with a dozen or so halfway decent photos.

I am no meteorologist; however, I was a weatherman in the Navy. As such, I do like to keep up with the ongoing debate over whether climate change is real or just a hoax being perpetrated on the American public by those dastardly liberal media folks and climatologists. I have long thought that climate change is very much real, as the weather here in central Ohio seems much different from that of my youth; however, after witnessing such a freak of nature as the fifteen-minute blizzard that passed my way this past Saturday, Mother Nature has me convinced it is for real.

Steven H. Spring
Earth

Tulips #79DR, 78BR, 27CR & 71ER

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April 2, 2016

Tulips, whose botanical name is Tulipa, are a genus of flowering perennial plants in the Lily family. With approximately one hundred wild species, native Tulips range from Spain to Asia Minor, including northern Africa. First cultivated in Persia around the tenth century, there are now more than four thousand cultivated species. This plant is further classified based on plant size, flower shape and bloom time.

Introduced to the western world in 1551 by Augier Ghislain de Busbecq, the Austrian ambassador to Turkey, the word Tulip seems to have originated from the Turkish word tulbend, which translates into the English word turban. It is thought that the name came about because of a translation error concerning the wearing of Tulips in the turbans of Ottoman Empire men. Tulips were first imported to the United States in the mid 1800s.

Tulips range in height from as short as four inches up to more than two feet tall. The plant usually has two or three thick strap-shaped, bluish-green leaves sprouting up at ground level in the form of a rosette, though some species have as many as twelve leaves. Most Tulips produce a single flower per stem, although a few species do produce multiple blooms. The cup or star-shaped flower has three petals, three sepals and six stamens, although the petals and sepals are nearly identical. They come in a wide variety of colors, with the exception of pure blue. The colors range from pure white through all shades of yellow, red and brown, as well as those so dark purple they appear black. Several species have “blue” in their common name; however, their blooms have a violent hue.

Indigenous to mountainous locales with temperate climates, Tulips grow best in areas with cool winters, springs and summers. They prefer a full to partial sun, with a neutral to slightly acidic, dry or sandy soil, though they will bloom in almost any soil type with good drainage. Bulbs are usually planted in the autumn, at a depth ranging from four to eight inches, depending on your soil type. Although they will continue blooming annually for several years, the bulbs will deteriorate over time, and will need replacing. A common thought to prolong the life of the bulb is that after the plant has finished blooming and its leaves have turned yellow, is to dig up the bulbs and store them in a cool, dry place and then replant them in the fall.

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
Earth

Lilies #2184BR, 1510CR, 1475HR, 1467CR & 1472BR

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March 26, 2016

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, is 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.

If I am fortunate to have you view my photographs and you find the color saturation too great 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
Earth