Category Archives: Flora

Friday Flower Fiesta (3-13-15)—Happy Friday the Thirteenth!

Friday Flower Fiesta

San Diego has had a very long rainy season this year, possibly the longest I’ve experienced since 1993 when I moved here. It started early this winter, with .37 inch in November 2014, 3.95 inches in December, .42 inch in January 2015, .04 inch in February, and .89 inch so far in March. We even had hail earlier this month!

The rain, spread out over several months, means that plants have a better opportunity to drink up some of that water. When that happens, every plant seems to bloom whether or not it’s that plant’s blooming season.

Here is a representative collection of Photographic Art stamps made from pictures taken this past week.

Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Golden chalice vine

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchid

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Flowering maple

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Peace lily

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Paintbrush lily

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Primrose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Foxglove

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bromeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Rose

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Hibiscus

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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But it’s so pretty….

Did you know?

Landscapes in San Diego are awash in pink right now and it has nothing to do with breast cancer awareness. It’s from a tree. Looks like this:

Pink trumpet tree

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

That picture was taken yesterday as I was traipsing around the new sections of the expanded and expanding Japanese Friendship Garden in Balboa Park.

I have been enamored of the tree for several years but it doesn’t seem to be stocked by the plant nurseries, and I never could find out the name of the tree….

….until yesterday.

The tree was everywhere, and everywhere I saw one, I would stop to see if there was a nameplate nearby. Finally, in an odd location in Balboa Park, I found a dying tree with a few flowers on it, and a nameplate at the base.

The nameplate reads Pink Trumpet Tree (Tabebuia impetiginosa).

Pink trumpet tree

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

However, with the advent of genome tracing and such, apparently this tree has been reassigned to the Hydroanthus genus and is now considered to be Hydroanthus impetiginosus. It’s still a pink trumpet tree, though!

The pink trumpet tree ranges from northern Mexico (which could include southern California!) south to the northern part of Argentina. It is believed to be indigenous to Trinidad and Tobago.

Unfortunately, the pink trumpet tree is a major cause of deforestation in the Amazon. Yes, you read that correctly. It’s wood is popular for flooring and decking but it does not grow in concentrated stands, tending to be scattered throughout the forest. Thus, in order to get to individual trees, logging roads have to be built long distances through prime rain forest. Once the pink trumpet tree is harvested, the logging roads make great roads for others to come in and clear the forest for agricultural uses. Computer modeling predicts that the pink trumpet tree is headed for extinction in the wild.

Other facts about the pink trumpet tree:

► It is the national tree of Paraguay.

► The inner bark is dried, shredded, and boiled to create a bitter herbal tea known as lapacho. The tea eases coughing for those with a cold or the flue, as well as “smoker’s cough.”

► Recent research indicates that the main active ingredient in lapacho is toxic enough to kill fetuses in pregnant rats in doses of 100 mg/kg of body weight.

Lapacho induces clastogenic genetic damage in rats, meaning that it causes chromosome sections to be deleted, added to, or re-arranged, leading to mutageneis, carcinogenesis, and cancer. Known clastogens which you might recognize by name include benzene and arsenic.

But it’s so pretty….

Pink trumpet tree

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (3-6-15)—February flowers

Friday Flower Fiesta

A collection of Photographic Art stamps made from pictures taken in February 2015.

Red, white and blue flowers

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Flower art

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Yucca

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

What is it?

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Aeonium

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Euphorbia

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bromeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchid tree

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Monkey bush

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Daisy

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Iceland poppy

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Aloe

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (2-27-15)—LLAP

Friday Flower Fiesta

A little something different for today’s Friday Flower Fiesta.

Up until September 2004, my name was Russel Ray Kirk, and I was a fanatic about all things “Star Trek.” In fact, put “Star” in the title—e.g., “Star Wars,” “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” etc.—and you were assured of having at least one die-hard fan.

Throughout my youth and up until I changed my name to Russel Ray, I was also known by a nickname that was first bestowed on me in late 1966, “Captain Kirk.” I was only 11 but I couldn’t quit talking about Captain Kirk. He fascinated me, as did “Star Trek.” I anticipated each week for the next couple of years, and summers were a real bummer for me.

As I got older, my logic earned me another nickname, “Spock.”

The death of Leonard Nimoy today at age 83 takes me back to Friday, June 4, 1982, when I stood in line to be one of the first to see “Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan.” A few hours later, my thinking about “me” and “us” had changed, all because of something “Spock” said in the movie: “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.” Those words spoke to me about why I pay taxes for schools (I have never had a child in school!), roads, police, fire fighters, libraries, and so much more. Today, “us” extends to the Affordable Care Act—The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Life is about more than just me and my needs or wants.

Today, as Jim was in the hospital recovering from minor surgery, the nurse asked us if we had heard about Leonard Nimoy. We had not, but he didn’t have to say anything else.

I never got to watch “Star Trek” on Thursday nights at 8:30 in September 1966. Way too late for an 11 year old with homework. Fortunately, it was shown in our little farming & ranching community on Friday afternoons at 3:30. School got out at 3:00. You know where I was from 3:30 to 4:30.

Leonard Nimoy’s death is one of the three saddest days in my life (I’m lucky, I know), the other two being the murder of John Lennon and the death of my best friend, Ken Lewis, when he was just 32.

Rest in peace, Leonard Nimoy, but may you live on through Spock for millions of future generations. May they live long and prosper.

In memory of Leonard Nimoy

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (2-20-15)—Orchids are blooming everywhere!

Friday Flower Fiesta

Sunday is National Margarita Day…………

Wait.

This is a Friday Flower Fiesta post……….

Nevermind.

Wait.

Don’t “nevermind.”

Instead, keep in mind that Sunday is National Margarita Day! Margaritas for everyone!

Now on to our Friday Flower Fiesta featuring orchids this week.

Why orchids?

Because if you go to the Botanical Building in Balboa Park right now, it is full of blooming orchids. It’s an orchid orgasm. Wait. Did I just say that?

Botanical Building in San Diego's Balboa Park

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids at the Botanic Building in Balboa Park, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids at the Botanic Building in Balboa Park, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids at the Botanic Building in Balboa Park, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids at the Botanic Building in Balboa Park, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids at the Botanic Building in Balboa Park, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids at the Botanic Building in Balboa Park, San Diego

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchid

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchid from the 2014 San Diego County Fair

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Orchids at the San Diego Zoo

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (2-13-15)—Happy Friday the 13th!

Friday Flower Fiesta

These are more Photographic Art, significantly photoshopped using Photoshop and various Topaz plug-ins.

Eucalyptus flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Eucalyptus flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cactus flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cactus flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Cactus flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

African tulip tree

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Epiphyllum flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Alstroemeria flower

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Roses

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Iceland poppy

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

img_9164 daisy stamp

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Yucca

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The last two are my favorites this week.

For comparison, here are the original pictures of the last two:

Daisies

Yucca

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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Friday Flower Fiesta (2-6-15)—Bromeliads

Friday Flower Fiesta

Spring sprung here in San Diego around January 2.

A sprung spring means that it’s bromeliad season.

The best places to see lots of unusual bromeliads are the San Diego Zoo, which is an internationally recognized arboretum and botanical garden as well as a zoo, and the Botanical Building in Balboa Park.

Here are a selection of bromeliads from both places, although these are pictures from the past that I cataloged today after finding them in my “these-are-really-bad-pictures-but-maybe-some-day-you-can-make-something-out-of-them-in-photoshop” folder.

Bromeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bromeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bromeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bromeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bromeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bomeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bomeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bomeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bomeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

Bomeliad

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The last picture uses the “out of bounds” effect. If you’re interested in learning how to create that effect, see my tutorial from October 22, 2013: Creating the out of bounds effect in Photoshop.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

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