Flowers #212BR, 211BR, 216BR, 220BR, 222BR & 214C

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May 23, 2015

I do not often combine different species of flowers, but did so in this photo because I have yet to take a really good photograph of Black-Eyed Susans. And, to make matters worse, I’m not even sure these are Black-Eyed Susans. Being color-blind, these Susans might just be Brown-Eyed. Or are they actually Coneflowers or just plain Daisies? Whatever they are, they are paired with the blooms from a Hosta in these photographs.

Steven H. Spring

Flowers #139B, 138C, 138D & 137C

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May 16, 2015

Peace Lilies, whose botanical name is Spathiphyllum Cochlearispathum, is a genus of approximately 40 species of flowering plants in the Araceae family. Its botanical name translates from Greek to “leaf spathe,” and is so named for the plant’s unique bloom. The flower consists of a one to two-inch, greenish-white spadix, backed with a single white or cream-colored spathe, (a single petal), which proudly stands atop a tall stem.  These four photographs were given their bluish tint through the miracle of digital imaging.

Though not a true lily, Peace Lilies are an evergreen perennial plant that grows as a bushy clump of leaves that can grow up to a foot in length. Known as an easy to care for plant, the flower’s natural habitat is a tropical rainforest, with its origins in southern Mexico. They love shade, though will tolerate some indirect sun. This plant however, cannot survive hot, direct sunlight. Too much sun causes their leaves to singe and will stop the growth of the plant. Too much sunlight can also kill a young plant. Peace Lilies will tolerate an hour or two of morning sun, but they should never be exposed to the hot afternoon sun. In the United States, this plant is only hardy in zones 11 and 12, as they will survive outdoors year round in hot, humid areas of Hawaii and Florida.

Known for its lush foliage and unusual blossoms, for most Americans, these flowers are considered houseplants, and are one of the most common houseplants sold to gardeners. Even if grown indoors, this plant should still be kept away from direct sunlight and it should be kept a few feet back from the window. Peace Lilies like a constant temperature between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit, and should be protected from cold drafts and drastic changes in temperature.

When watered, Peace Lilies like to be watered a lot; however, they also need to dry out slightly between waterings. Too much drying out can cause the plant to wilt and will cause the leaves to yellow. And, as we all know all too well, too much water will kill a plant. When watering, it is very important that you use room temperature water that has sat for twenty-four to allow the chlorine to evaporate, as these plants are susceptible to chlorine damage. As they are native to tropical rainforests, Peace Lilies like to be sprayed with a mist every few days, again using water that has been allowed to sit for twenty-four hours. This plant looses a lot of water through evaporation via their leaves, especially when grown indoors.

Peace Lilies will flourish in almost any well-drained soil. Because of its natural habitat, growing in the undergrowth of decaying plant matter in a tropical rainforest, a peat-based soil is best, especially if grown in pots. Like most every potted plant, they should be re-potted every two to three years. Though it does not require fertilization, however it does best if fertilized on a regular basis using a well balance houseplant fertilizer at one-half of the recommended strength.

Over the years, this plant has been greatly hybridized and as such, there are dozens of different varieties available to flower enthusiasts. These “lilies” range in size from miniatures twelve inches tall up to six feet in height, and in clumps up to five feet wide. One of the great benefits of this plant is its air-purifying capability. Besides their very unusual flowers, Peace Lilies are great for breaking down and neutralizing toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, benzene and formaldehyde when grown indoors.

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

Day Lilies #167C, 162C, 165B, 168B & 176B

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May 9, 2015

Although not a true Lily, Daylilies, whose scientific name is Hemerocallis, is so named as its flower typically lasts for only twenty-four hours. There are more than thirty-five thousand named and officially registered species in its family. Native to China, Korea and Japan, Daylilies can thrive in many types of climates. Called the perfect perennial because of their stunning colors, ability to withstand drought and requiring very little if any care, Daylilies come in almost every color except pure blue and pure white.

Daylilies thrive best with a minimum of six hours of direct sunlight, though darker flowering plants such as purple and red need some shade as the darker colors soak up too much heat. These plants adapt to a wide range of soil and light conditions, however they do best in slightly acidic, moist but well-drained soil. Some Daylilies bloom in early spring, some in summer and some even in the fall. The blooms come in many different shapes. Depending on type, each plant should bloom for thirty to forty days.

I must admit that when I first became serious about gardening and photographing flowers about fifteen years ago (one of my earliest childhood memories was helping Grandma dig up her Canna bulbs every fall), I thought Daylilies were just those funky looking orange flowers you see growing everywhere, even along the roadside. A friend of mine once told me that old folks referred to them as Shithouse Lilies. Since then, I have come to learn that there are many glorious Daylilies that I would just love to have growing in my gardens if not for the limited space I have outside my apartment. Over the years, I have tried eliminating these orange Daylilies from my gardens as I am still not very fond of them. One thing I do not like about them are their very long stems. My opinion has changed a little about this flower this summer after tweaking the colors and tones on several photos to obtain somewhat decent photographs.

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

Chrysanthemums #58ER, 59BR, 62BR, 65BR & 64BR

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May 2, 2015

Chrysanthemums, more commonly knows as Mums, are a member of the Asteraceae family of flowers. This flower is considered a hardy perennial, although many consider them only as a short-season, fall-planted annual, as they bloom in late summer and fall. There are forty known species and thousands of different varieties of Mums. Most species originally came from China, Japan, northern Africa and southern Europe, although China is thought to be the original starting point of the plant, dating there as far back as the fifteenth century, B.C., where the flowers have customarily been boiled to make a tea and also used medicinally to treat influenza. The plant has been grown in Japan since the eighth century. Over five hundred different varieties were known to exist by 1630. Chrysanthemums are considered to have been introduced in America in 1798, when Colonel John Stevens imported a variety known as Dark Purple from England. The plant is considered the death flower in Europe because of its widespread use on graves.

The word Chrysanthemum is a derivative of two Greek words, chrysos (meaning gold) and anthemon (meaning flower). This particular genus of flower at one time included many more species, but was divided into several different genera a few decades ago. The National Chrysanthemum Society recognizes thirteen different classes of flowering blooms of the plant, based on form and the shape of its petals, although there are only eight major types; anemone, cushion, decorative, pompon, single, spider, spoon and quill.

Chrysanthemums are divided into two basic groups, garden hardy and exhibition. Garden hardy are perennials capable of surviving winters in northern latitudes and produce a large quantity of small blooms. Exhibition varieties are not nearly as hardy and sturdy; usually require staking and being kept in a relatively cool, dry location over the winter, sometimes requiring the use of night-lights. In addition to its many different types of blooms, Mums come in a wide variety of colors, ranging not only of gold, but also white, yellow, bronze, red, burgundy, pink, lavender and purple. The plant also comes in an assortment of heights as well, ranging from a height of eighteen inches up to three feet tall, depending on the particular variety, growing conditions and whether they are pinched regularly during the growing season. Pinched plants will generate a smaller, bushier plant, producing many more blooms.

These plants can be planted either in the fall or in early spring. Those planted in the spring will produce a more vigorous flower. Mums prefer fertile, highly organic, well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight. The plants should be spaced roughly eighteen to twenty-four inches apart, although some varieties might require spacing up to three feet. They can be fertilized once a month up through July. Mums particularly need plenty of water once they start blooming. Every two or three years, Chrysanthemums should be divided to invigorate their growth. If bought as a potted plant in the fall, as many people do, they should be planted at least six weeks if not more before the season’s first killing frost, although it seems that many who buy fall pots will throw the plant away after the frost kills the blooms, having never transplanted the flower into a garden.

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

Marshall Tucker Band #52C, 99B, 38B, 13C, 69C, 57C, 25B, 44B, 63B, 77C, 82C & 52D

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April 25, 2015

The Marshall Tucker Band is a southern rock band originating from Spartanburg, South Carolina that blends country, blues and rock & roll into their own unique style of music. Though the band still continues playing and recording to this day, their heyday was the 1970s. Marshall Tucker took its name from a blind piano tuner who had rented the warehouse space prior to the band renting it for rehearsals and his name was inscribed on the warehouse key.

The original lineup was Doug Gray on lead vocals, Toy Caldwell (1947-1993) on lead guitar and vocals, George McCorkle (1946-2007) on rhythm guitar, Tommy Caldwell (1949-1980) on bass guitar, Jerry Eubanks on flute & saxophone and Paul Riddle on drums. Toy Caldwell was a much overlooked guitar player and deserves recognition as one of the greatest guitarists in all of rock & roll history. Marshall Tucker’s 1974 double album Where We All Belong, which was one-half studio and the other half live recordings, to me is the band’s true masterpiece, and is a must have album for any fan of this musical genre. If I could own only a dozen albums (and what a curse that would be), this surely would be one.

These photos were shot at Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio on January 31, 1981. The cost of the ticket was an astonishing $8.50. Columbus, Ohio country-rockers McGuffey Lane was the opening act. Taken that long ago, the photos were obviously shot on film. The 4×6 prints were scanned onto my computer, where some digital adjusting was made to each print, before they were digitally matted and framed.

Steven H. Spring

Columbine #131E, 131F, 130D & 131D

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April 18, 2015

Columbine, whose scientific name is Aquilegia, which is derived from the Latin word aquila which translates as eagle, is so named because the spurred shape of the plant’s sepals on many of the sixty to seventy species of the flower resemble an eagle’s talons. This easy to grow, hardy perennial blooms from late spring through early summer. Though not particularly a long-lived plant, most die off after only two or three years. However, the plant does grow easily from seed, and if seed pods are allowed to develop annually will reseed themselves. The long spurs of the flower produces a nectar that is a favored by hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.

Native to Asia, the plant is now found growing in the wild in meadows, woodlands and at higher altitudes throughout North America and Europe. Columbine, which come in many colors ranging from red, pink and white to purple and blue, are propagated by seed, growing to a height of fifteen to twenty inches. The plant will grow in full sun, however it prefers partial shade and a moist, rich, well-drained soil. Having a long taproot, which allows it to survive periods of drought, this same taproot does make transplanting the plant somewhat difficult.

Columbine, the state flower of Colorado (Rocky Mountain Columbine), were consumed in moderation by Native Americans as a condiment and are said to be very sweet. However, the seeds and root of the plant are very poisonous and if consumed can be fatal.

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

Columbine #62B, 55C, 61B, 60B, 56B, 58B, 59B & 57B

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April 11, 2015

Columbine, whose scientific name is Aquilegia, which is derived from the Latin word aquila which translates as eagle, is so named because the spurred shape of the plant’s sepals on many of the sixty to seventy species of the flower resemble an eagle’s talons. This easy to grow, hardy perennial blooms from late spring through early summer. Though not particularly a long-lived plant, most die off after only two or three years. However, the plant does grow easily from seed, and if seed pods are allowed to develop annually will reseed themselves. The long spurs of the flower produces a nectar that is a favored by hummingbirds, butterflies and bees.

Native to Asia, the plant is now found growing in the wild in meadows, woodlands and at higher altitudes throughout North America and Europe. Columbine, which come in many colors ranging from red, pink and white to purple and blue, are propagated by seed, growing to a height of fifteen to twenty inches. The plant will grow in full sun, however it prefers partial shade and a moist, rich, well-drained soil. Having a long taproot, which allows it to survive periods of drought, this same taproot does make transplanting the plant somewhat difficult.

Columbine, the state flower of Colorado (Rocky Mountain Columbine), were consumed in moderation by Native Americans as a condiment and are said to be very sweet. However, the seeds and root of the plant are very poisonous and if consumed can be fatal.

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