Anyway, all this rottenness is to explain why I have so few pictures this time around and why so many are blurry, dark, washed out from phone flash, or otherwise odd-looking. Luckily, I do have a backlog of photos saved on my hard drive that I need to post before I buy a new camera. I was really hoping my next big purchase would be a new laptop, to replace my 6 & 7 year old dinosaurs, which operate as if they were trapped in tar.
I'll be jumping back and forth between flowers and foliage in this post, because it's late and I want to get to bed at a reasonable hour tonight. The rain greens up the foliage of Alyssum spinosum, but as soon as it dries it returns to a beautiful blue-grey. The old flower stalks have faded from gold to buff, but continues to form a spiny cloud around the foliage.
A trick for getting phones (and point and shoot cameras) to focus when they want to look past something is to put your hand behind it. You should have seen how blurry this Ceropegia woodii 'Variegata' bloom was before I backed it with a hand. Like this succulent, many of my blooms are currently in the greenhouse or in the house.
Lapageria rosea continues to bloom in the greenhouse, surrounded here by several tillandsias.
Blurry, but I enjoyed the color combination in this photo of the green kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva-ursi), Rhododendron 'PJM', and yellow Achillea foliage with brown seed heads poking through the top of the Rhododendron. The yarrow was an accidental transplant that hitchhiked along with a Penstemon serrulatus. I had originally intended to weed it out, but it's grown on me. I really like the dried seed heads, and I'm now planning to add more varieties of yarrow to the garden.
The kinnikinnick has grown marvelously this year, and will keep looking marvelous all winter now that the deer can't defoliate it during the cold season. This shoot is growing across the side of Stump St. Helens, looking perfectly natural, as if it were growing in a burned area out in the wild. If it weren't slightly blurry, I'd be tempted to use this photo as my new banner at the top of the page. Maybe I'll try to recapture it once I get a new camera.
I've long since forgotten the name of this chartreuse-leaved Erica (aka heath) cultivar. I had also forgotten that the color intensifies in cold weather. The chartreuse brightens to an almost white-yellow, and the tips take on a coral pink blush.
Other heaths, represented by the photo below, have been opening their brilliant white blooms since October, but are really reaching their prime now.
I've forgotten the cultivar of this Calluna vulgaris, as well. It could be 'Wickwar Flame' or 'Firefly', or another cultivar that turns orange red in cool weather. How many reliably hardy evergreens are there for the PNW that turn such brilliant colors?
Lacking in settled grace due to being divided and relocated, the basal foliage of Rudbeckia fulgida 'Goldsturm' is still producing brilliant shades from yellow to dark red, and green!
The last flush of growth from summer on this Osmanthus heterophyllus 'Goshiki' is positively brilliant against the darker green older foliage.
Daphne x transatlantica 'Blafra' Eternal Fragrance is still bloooming, as is the 'Summer Ice' I added earlier this year (not shown).
This is the time of year I value my indoor plants most, and several are currently in bloom, with more on the way. Phragmipedium Olaf Gruss appears to be on it's final bloom. Flowering sequentially with one to three blooms open at a time, this round of blooms has lasted four months, starting in August. This is still a young plant. Once it becomes a clump with many growths, it will be able to produce multiple bloom spikes at a time and will last even longer.
Blooms in the works and foliage to enjoy right now! Phalaenopsis schilleriana is one of a group of moth orchids with foliage fantastically mottled in silver, purple and green, with solid purple reverses. This is a purple-flowered form.
My phone did a great job focusing on this Paphiopedilum Hsinying Alien, and the flash didn't startle it any worse than the one on my camera would have.
My Thanksgiving and Christmas cacti had been in the greenhouse until this weekend. They were looking a bit pouty in the cool greenhouse, so I decided to bring them inside. This one has been slowly opening blooms for over a month.
More blooms to be, this time belong to a dwarf form of Billbergia nutans. This form is hardy in North Carolina in zone 7b, provided it has perfect drainage and you don't mind it looking mostly dead. I'm keeping mine inside during the winter to enjoy its reliable winter blooms. It was also in the greenhouse until recently, and might already be in bloom if I had brought it inside sooner.
Vanda Moonlight Firefly (formerly Ascofinetia) is getting closer to opening its pale yellow-orange blooms. It also has two more inflorescences still hidden in the leaves.
Phalaenopsis Rong Guan Mary is putting out a strong new inflorescence after spending summer in the greenhouse. I finally cut the old spike off to force the plant to take a break. It had been blooming from the same spike for over a year. But the roots had deteriorated because the potting medium had broken down and I wasn't around to repot it, so it needed some R&R. I guess it decided break time is over.
Vandachostylis (formerly Neostylis) Lou Sneary 'Bluebird' developed three bloom stalks this summer and started blooming in August. This is the last and smallest of those spikes. I thought this would be the end of the show for now, but a fourth spike just started poking out from the base of the leaves, which you can see just above the flower next to the yellow tag. It should be back to blooming after a fairly brief interlude when the current blooms fade.
And finally, for my vignette this week, I was struck by the sharp contrast of old, brown flower stalks against bright blue-grey foliage on this Phlomis fruticosa at Cistus Nursery. Color aside, the textures in this vignette captivated me. The fan of sword-shaped iris(?) leaves takes it even further. Texture is often overlooked in favor of color in the garden, and I plan to try to overcome that tendency in my own garden.