Alstroemerias #131AR, 137AR & 134BR

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May 30, 2020

Commonly called Lilies Of The Incas, Peruvian Lily, Princess Lily or Parrot Lily, Alstroemerias are named after Swedish botanist Baron Klas von Alstroemer. Originally from the cool mountainous regions of The Andes, most species originated in either central Chile or eastern Brazil, though they have become naturalized in the United States and several other countries. Those species from Chile are winter growing plants, whereas those from Brazil bloom during the summer.

Alstroemerias, a staple of most bouquets of flowers, are a member of the Alstroemeriaceae plant family, with fifty different species. They flower in a variety of colors, including purple, red, orange, pink and white, blooming between June and October. Each bloom has three sepals, three petals, six stamens and a style. With three to five flowers on each stem, they provide a full appearance as cut flowers. Cut flowers will last up to two weeks. An interesting bit of information about these plants is that their leaves appear to grow upside down. Each leaf twists as it grows out from the stem, and as such, the bottom ends up face upward.

Alstroemerias are considered an easy plant to grow. Hardy perennials, they love the full morning sun, and some shade during hot afternoons. Thriving in zones six through ten, these plants may stop producing flowers if their root systems get too hot. Their roots develop tubers, allowing the plant to store both water and nutrients, letting them survive in periods of drought. These tubers also enable a gardener to divide the plant easily. Liking a well-drained soil, too much water can cause the tubers to rot; Alstroemerias are also thought to be deer resistant.

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 #227AR, 230CR, 241CR & 226AR

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May 23, 2020

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

Lilies #7570CR, 7571CR, 7549AR & 7562BR

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May 16, 2020

Lilies, whose scientific name is Lilium, has more than one hundred gorgeous species in its family. However, there are many plants that have Lily in their common name; yet not all are true Lilies. A few examples of this misnomer are Day Lilies, Calla Lilies, Peace Lilies, Water Lilies and Lilies Of The Valley. 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.

There are a number of different sub-species of Lilies, such as Oriental, Asiatic, Trumpet, Martagon, Longiflorum, Candidum and several others. The most commonly grown are the Orientals and the Asiatics, especially for gardeners in more northern regions. Both the Oriental and Asiatic sub-species are hybrids. They are possibly my most favorite flower to photograph, as their design and colors makes it so easy to do so. Friends might think I am a little nuts when I tell them that they like having their picture taken, as they are so photogenic.

Asiatic Lilies, who gets its name because they are native to central and eastern Asia, are probably the easiest to grow, reproduce effortlessly and are very winter hardy. A healthy bulb can often double in size from one season to the next, and produces many smaller bulblets near the surface of the soil. Asiatics can reach heights up to six feet tall and have long, slim, glossy leaves, all the while producing flowers in a wide variety of colors, including white, pink, plum, yellow, orange and red. The one color in which they do not bloom is true blue. Blooming in June and July (depending on one’s region), the flowers produce no fragrance, unlike that of Orientals. Another distinguishing difference between the two is its petals. Whereas Asiatics have smooth edges, Orientals are rough.

Oriental Lilies, native to Japan, are a little harder to grow and tend to reproduce much more slowly, mainly by bulblets sprouting near the surface of the soil. They look somewhat like a football when they first surface from the soil, rather pointy, and its leaves hugging the stem tightly. Their deep green leaves are wider, further apart and less numerous than those of the Asiatics, which first come into sight similar to an artichoke in appearance. Orientals are usually taller than Asiatics, reaching a height up to eight feet tall. Because of their height, many refer to them as Tree Lilies.

Orientals tend to bloom in pastel shades of white, yellow and pink, although some such as Stargazers and Starfighters produce very deep pink blooms. One more characteristic difference between the two types is that Orientals often will be rimmed with a different color, or having two or three colors, whereas the Asiatics most often have just a single color, although there are some exceptions. This sub-specie of Lilies also blooms after Asiatics, usually in August and September, again depending on your region. Other sub-species, such as Trumpets, bloom even later, so it is possible to have Lilies blooming all summer long by planting different varieties.

Most Lilies are very easy to grow. They are not especially particular about soil neither type nor pH level. Their only requirement is a well-draining 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
Earth

Chrysanthemums #536AR, 456BR & 537BR

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May 9, 2020

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, pompom, 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
Earth

Will COVID-19 Help Elect Joe Biden Or Re-Elect Donald Trump?

May 6, 2020

With the president pressuring the fifty governors to open up their states from self-imposed stay-at-home economic shutdown, in an attempt to improve his probability to win re-election, steps need to be taken now to insure all Americans get the opportunity to cast a ballot safely in the November 3 election, an election that just might be the most crucial in this nation’s history.

All along, medical experts have been opining that a second wave of the coronavirus will strike come fall, and considering everyone of the thirty states that have started opening up their economies this past Friday are in violation of the president’s virus task-force guidelines (i.e., fourteen days of declining new cases (several states had their highest number the day before opening) and extensive testing (there isn‘t, as the U.S. ranks forty-second worldwide per capita)), the only thing that experts might be wrong about is that it will probably occur much sooner. During the 1918-1920 incorrectly named “Spanish Flu” pandemic, in which an estimated 50 million people died, including 675,000 Americans, it was the second wave that was responsible for the most casualties. That second wave was blamed on massive troops movements during the final year of World War I.

If these educated predictions come true, our state and national politicians need to start preparing for the coming election in which mail-in voting just might be the only safe way for all Americans to cast their ballots. Unlike Wisconsin, which forced its citizens to stand in line for several hours to cast a ballot during their recent primary, Ohio took the opposite approach, conducting their primary mostly by mail-in voting. Despite optimistic rhetoric espoused by members of the Republican Party, I tend to listen to medical experts and their warnings are dire. As such, I recently wrote Ohio’s Secretary Of State, expressing my concern regarding the November general election.

I concluded my letter to Secretary Frank LaRose with the assumption that mail-in voting, and especially mailing out ballots to all registered voters, in lieu of having to submit an application to receive a mail-in ballot, will never happen, and we both know the reason why. Let the president explain why; “Republicans should fight very hard when it comes to statewide mail-in voting. Democrats are clamoring for it. Tremendous potential for voter fraud, and for whatever reason, doesn’t work out well for Republicans.”

The following is my letter to Secretary LaRose.

Steven H. Spring

 

April 24, 2020

The Honorable Frank LaRose
Secretary Of State
The State Of Ohio
22 North Fourth Street, 16th Floor
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Dear Secretary LaRose,

Having submitted my mail-in ballot a couple of weeks ago, and especially after reading an article in the April 22nd Columbus Dispatch with the headline “Mail-in voter turnout looks low,” I wanted to write to express my concern regarding the upcoming November 3rd general election. As a life-long political junkie, growing up on the south-side of Columbus, the 1968 Hubert Humphrey vs. Richard Nixon contest was the first that I can remember, as I became a teenager eight days after that election.

Even though I watch roughly ten hours of news daily (less during weekends before COVID-19 put an end to all sporting events) and the first thing I do every morning is to read the paper, I had no idea that I needed to submit an application to receive a mail-in ballot until my next door neighbor told me. That might be because I no longer watch local news, with its “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality. Since the vast majority of Americans no longer read a newspaper or watches much televised news, if any, that might explain why only twenty-two percent of Ohioans who are registered have already voted.

Even during non-pandemic times, the percentage of Americans who vote is usually dismal, especially so during non-presidential election years. People in other countries risk their lives in order to cast a ballot, yet the majority of Americans could care less. If twenty-two percent of registered Ohioans have voted this primary election, what is the percentage of eligible voters having done so? I first raised this question with then Secretary Of State Robert Taft way back in 1996.

Our government officials, both national and state, should be doing everything possible to make it easier for Americans to vote, yet be it purging of voter rolls, eliminating polling locations and the number of voting machines, cutting back the number of early voting days or photo ID requirements, one political party is doing everything they can to prevent citizens from doing so. During the past two presidential elections, many Americans waited in line for hours, some up to eight, to vote.

What occurred up in Wisconsin a couple of weeks ago during their primary was a disgrace, when the Republican-controlled legislature overturned Governor Tony Evers executive order instituting state-wide mail-in voting because of the pandemic, which was eventually ruled in the Republicans favor by the United States Supreme Court after going through first the Wisconsin Supreme Court and then the United States District Court.

With numerous medical experts opining that a second wave of coronavirus will attack our nation this fall, which based on the results of the so-called “Spanish Flu” pandemic of 1918-1920, could be disastrous since we are barely capable of handling the initial wave, I write to urge you to have your office ready for another mail-in ballot election and have all Ohioans be aware of what it takes to vote in this manner. Instead of having voters submit an application in order to receive a ballot, why not just mail a ballot to all registered voters.

We both know that will never happen, and the reason why.

Sincerely,

Steven H. Spring


Copy: Governor Mike DeWine
Representative Warren Davidson
Senator Sherrod Brown
Senator Rob Portman

Tulips #231BR, 237BR, 236CR & 266AR

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May 2, 2020

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