Flowers #178B, 186CR, 191BR, 179B, 177B & 192CR

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March 28, 2015

The Yucca plant in these photographs is a specie of broadleaf, flowering evergreen whose botanical name is Yucca Filamentosa. It is native to the beaches and sand dunes of southeastern United States, growing as far north as Maryland and as far west as Louisiana. It has also been naturalized to regions in France, Italy and Turkey. A member of the Asparagaceae family, it is commonly called Adam’s Needle, Spanish Bayonet, Needle Palm or just plain Yucca, which is what I know it as. Though it resembles a small palm, it is more closely related to lilies.

Native Yuccas grow in dry, sandy or even rocky conditions, growing best in well-drained soil. They prefer the full sun, but tolerates the shade, and will even grow in complete shade. It is both deer and rabbit tolerate, and also handles drought well. Its rigid, sword-shaped, sharp-tipped three-inch wide green leaves (with blue overtones) grow to a length of nearly three feet long. The leaves form a foliage cluster approximately two to three feet in both height and width, and all originate from the taproot, taking the form of a rosette. The leaves are adorned with long, curly fibers that peel back as the leaf grows longer and longer.

The Yucca plant is solely pollinated by the Yucca Moth, which relies on the plant exclusively for its survival. In late spring, an erect spike of a flowering stalk grows up from the center of the rosette, though many plants will not bloom for several years. The flower cluster is called an inflorescence, and is made up of several dozen individual two-inch long, creamy-white bell-shaped flowers growing downward. The typical stalk grows up to a height of four to six feet tall, although they can get as tall as twelve feet, depending on your region. These stalks grow taller in warmer climates, and shorter in colder regions. The bloom time, as always, depending on your region, ranges from June through August.

These stalks should be pruned after all the blooms die. However, the blossoms should be allowed to mature into pods that split open, releasing several seeds. There is some debate as to whether or not the plant dies after blooming. Some say yes, others no. Two summers ago, one of my Yuccas did die over the winter after blooming. However, the plant in these photos seems to have survived the winter. I’m no botanist, and far from being very knowledgeable, but my guess is that maybe this has more to due with the age of the plant than just the typical bloom cycle. If your Yucca does die, this plant also propagates with many seedlings growing up from the taproot and broken pieces of roots. This works out well as Yuccas have deep taproots, and I know for a fact it can be very difficult to dig up the entire root system. Young, small Yuccas can spout up from the roots in a few months or the following year.

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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Lilies #611D, 605C, 603B, 610B, 598C & 613C

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March 21, 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

Roses #45C, 51B, 33D, 36D, 25C & 46C

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March 14, 2015

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

Lilies #665C, 689C, 664C, 671B, 678C, 670C, 690B & 686C

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March 7, 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