A lot of people ask me what's my favorite flower and it's a hard question for me to answer. I think there are many flowers I like and like equally. I think it's more of a color thing for me than the acutal flower. I love deep, rich blues and purples. I think my Rhododendron 'Purple Passion' is in the top 5. But this plant is probably is in my top 5, if not at the very top - Hydrangea macrophylla 'Alpengluhen'. It's a lesser known hydrangea but if you get a design by me, you get this plant. The colors work in both hot color palettes as well as cool ones. I'm underwhelmed by the washed out light blues of the lace caps and the Nikko Blue and Endless Summer. They're okay but they don't make me stop in my tracks like 'Alpengluhen' does. It blooms later and much longer than 'Nikko Blue' does and the colors change on 'Alpengluhen' as the flower matures as you can see in these different pics below.
As the flowers go past maturity, they turn maroon red and dry that color on the bush. The foliage and flowers of 'Alpengluhen' are much more substantial than on other hydrangeas. They almost are waxy in look and that lends well in the hot sun of summer. They will weep if it is really hot but not as badly as some of the other varieties. Since the flowers are thicker, they do well as cut flowers and for drying.
I'm not a big fan of hosta flowers but thought these guys were neat and it was a cool angle. Well played, Hosta and Alpengluhen!