A single leaf identifies each of three Putty root orchids (Aplectrum hyemale, below) successfully transplanted. I suspect this has required no particular expertise, though I attempted as much as is possible to duplicate conditions of a local forest where these are scattered about. The leaf, only one per orchid, will persist through winter, but fade long before the small flowering stalk appears in late spring.
Little encouragement is required, of course, but this has inspired purchase of a few dozen more, as well as a dozen Rattlesnake plantain orchids (Goodyera pubescens) from a native plant supplier. I will figure spots for them upon delivery, which will be a bit challenging to find places where the small flowers can be seen.
On this drizzly, dark morning, the last day of the calendar year, there is no better reason to celebrate, though there is optimism that the coming year cannot be as wet as the one that is ending. Rain is very much appreciated, but enough is enough. No doubt, after a yearly increase of almost thirty inches, local gardeners will be whining about drought if any spell of dry weather extends more than a few weeks. I will be overjoyed to walk into the lower third of the garden without worrying that boots will be sucked off my feet in the muck.
Temperatures in recent weeks have been mild, with a day or two rising to sixty degrees, but mostly hovering around fifty (Fahrenheit). Mahonias and camellias continue to flower without severe cold, but hellebores with fat buds have made little progress in the relative warmth, and are not likely to bloom for weeks.
Flowering of hybrid daphnes (Daphne x transatlantica, above) ended several weeks ago, when overnight temperatures regularly dropped into the low twenties. But, buds tease of imminent blooms that are not likely unless our winter becomes unusually mild.