Evolution Of A Photograph: Chrysanthemums #178D, 178C, 178B, 178A & 178

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

August 29, 2015

Whenever I post photographs under the heading “Evolution Of A Photograph,” I always want to post the photos in the proper order of the evolution, as to show the actual progression of the original image.  However, in order to catch your eye, I post the photos in reverse order, since no one would click on the original, bland photo.  I would have liked to have retained the leaves from the original image in the final photograph, however greatly darkening the image to bring out the colors in the bloom caused them to disappear.  Digital photography, however, is a marvelous thing!

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

Columbine #241BR, 242AR, 248B, 236BR & 249AR

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

August 22, 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

The Continuing Saga In The Life And Bizarre Times Of Miss. Rose

Iris #271ARAugust 15, 2015

Regular viewers of this blog page might remember my post from last summer in which I described how I had given away to a neighbor a pretty good size cluster of Iris bulbs, which ended up producing what I thought was the prettiest Iris bloom I had ever seen. Last spring, after doing some yard work for Miss. Rose, I came home with a rather large cache of flowers, including two large clumps of Irises.

Because my garden space is quite limited and the gardens were already quite full, I knew before leaving her house that I was going to give these clumps of Irises to two neighbors, both of whom I helped get started with their own gardens earlier that spring. After all, these were most likely just your typical Irises, the basic light blue/dark blue (I’m colorblind, so the typical Iris might be light purple/dark purple).

A couple of weeks later, while walking by one of the neighbor’s yard, I saw that the Iris I had given him had a single bloom. When I saw his bloom up close, I realized that I had made a huge mistake in giving him this flower, as it was the most beautiful Iris I have ever seen, a gorgeous yellow bloom that seemed much more elegant than the typical Iris. When talking to Miss. Rose a few days later, I happened to tell her this story. As soon as I mentioned a yellow Iris, she knew immediately what I was talking about, as she told me that she had wondered what happened to her yellow Iris. When I was telling this tale to the other neighbor, he asked if Rose wanted the Iris back. I told him, f*ck Miss. Rose, I wanted it back. My neighbor offered to give back his Iris to Rose, but a gift is a gift. And, as I told him, if he ever moved that Iris would be mine again. He teased me all summer long about how beautiful his Iris was.

Later on that summer, while talking to Rose, she mentioned that she had acquired the Iris from her granddaughter, that her granddaughter had a lot more of this beautiful flower, and that she wanted them thinned out. Needless to say, Miss. Rose and I went over to her granddaughter’s house, who just happens to live right around the corner from me to do some yard work, and for both of us to get our own bulbs of this gorgeous flower.

This summer, my yellow Irises were quite stunning; however, my neighbor’s cluster of Irises produced the biggest blooms I have ever seen. His blooms were two, if not three times the size of a normal Iris. And again, he liked to tease me about his Irises. How he ended up once again with the most spectacular Iris I have ever seen is beyond me. He must be living right.

This last comment is an inside joke for dear Miss. Rose, as whenever she might complain about something not going right, I always tell her she must not be living right. I did learn a very valuable lesson, that being never give away any flower unless I know exactly what it is!

Steven H. Spring

The World’s Most Fabulous Whiner (Not To Be Confused With Winner)

August 12, 2015

Donald Trump has said many amusing and some very ugly comments during the past several months after declaring his run for the Republican presidential nomination. However, what he said Tuesday might be the most telltale sign regarding his enormous ego, that being “I am the most fabulous whiner. I do whine because I want to win….I am a whiner and I’m a whiner and I keep whining and whining until I win.”

As the world’s greatest “whatever,” to borrow the controversial word he uttered about Fox News television host and debate moderator Megyn Kelly, declaring himself the world’s greatest whiner should come as no surprise. However, Trump sounds just like a very spoiled rich child not getting his way. Is this really who we want as the next president of the United States?

I don’t think so.

Steven H. Spring

Lilies #1618AR, 1617AR, 1615AR & 1581AR

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

August 8, 2015

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 Obama

As an habitual writer of letters, it does not take much prodding for me to do so.  After seeing a new commercial pleading for donations to help provide adequate medical treatment for America’s wounded service men and women, I just had to write President Obama (and send copies to my three Congressmen, one of which is the Speaker of the House of Representatives) to express my outrage regarding this travesty.

Steven H. Spring

 

August 8, 2015

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

Dear President Obama,

This past Sunday night, while watching a program on the making of arguably The Who’s greatest album, Quadrophenia on the Palladia television network, I saw a commercial pleading for a donation of sixty cents a day to help fund the Paralyzed Veterans Of America organization. For years now, I have opined that seeing Trace Adkins beg for donations for the Wounded Warriors Project is a disgrace for the wealthiest nation in the history of planet Earth.

America and especially Congress should be embarrassed and ashamed for not one, but now two organizations having to beg Americans for donations to help our wounded military men and women. We can go to war seemingly every other month, or at least talk of doing so, yet we cannot afford to provide adequate medical care for our wounded service members? Since President George H. W. Bush attacked Iraq in the first Gulf War in 1990 over that nation’s invasion of Kuwait, there have been only two years that we have not been engaged in some sort of war, 1997 and 2000. Osama bin Laden stated in an interview that his horrific attack of America on September 11, 2001 was in response to our nation leaving military personal in Saudi Arabia, the most holy of land to Muslims. Since this nation’s founding two hundred and thirty-nine years ago, we have been engaged in war two hundred and twenty-two years, an appalling ninety-three percent of the time.

In my writings over the past two decades regarding military issues, I always like to quote former president and five-star general Dwight Eisenhower, who in his January 17, 1961 farewell address to the nation warned the country to beware of the mighty military-industrial complex. President Eisenhower stated “…we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.” Coming from a five-star general, America should have listened.

War is big business and the only way the military-industrial complex stays in business and remains profitable is by this nation engaging in war. We have become so engaged in war that Northrop Grumman, the fifth largest defense contractor in the world has taken to advertising its weapons of mass destruction on television. Who exactly are their potential customers? For all of our numerous military skirmishes, what exactly have we accomplished? As a nation, we live in constant fear of another September 11th attack; all the while, we are despised by much of the world.

It is our military endeavors that are bankrupting this nation. With an annual defense budget of nearly $900 billion, we spend nearly as much on our military as the rest of the world combined. When combined with our intelligence agencies, we spend nearly $1.5 trillion on defense and intelligence related expenditures every year. Moreover, this amount does not include America’s newly created ultra secret intelligence budget.

Since September 11, 2001, our government has built up such a top-secret network of intelligence agencies that no one knows how much it cost, how many it employs or how many agencies it runs. The defense budget itself has nearly doubled since 2000, all the while our country is falling apart at the seams, be it our rapidly aging and decaying infrastructure system, crumbling inner cities that have become battlegrounds or a failing public school system. America is bankrupting itself and it is not from our spending on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. It is from our imperialistic attitude and our attempt to dominate the world we call Earth.

In a rather sad, ironic twist, America is by far the world’s largest arms dealer, selling nearly as many armaments as the rest of the world combined. Thus, not only are we bankrupting ourselves with our military spending, but we are also heavily arming the rest of the world. One must remember that America armed Saddam Hussein when he was at war with Iran in the 1980s and we armed Osama bin Laden when he fought the Russians in Afghanistan, also during the ‘80s. America has a very long, extensive history of arming and supporting malevolence dictators and lunatics, in the name of what is best for this country, not necessarily what is best for the rest of the world.

As a nation founded on the genocide of its indigenous people, we have long ago become the world’s biggest bully.

Sincerely,

Steven H. Spring
C.: TalkingLoudAndSayingNothingParts3and4.WordPress.com
Speaker of the House John Boehner
Senator Sherrod Brown
Senator Rob Portman

Lilies #1619AR, 1564BR, 1565AR, 1569R, 1570AR & 1561BR

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

August 1, 2015

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