Foxgloves, wild and tame

Foxgloves are among my favourite plants.  I love them in gardens and in the wild.  This seems to be a good year for them.

Along the road toward Buttermere. That’s Crummock Water through the bars of the gate.

The towering spikes of pink, with their drooping speckled trumpets, are standing tall in hedgerows, along waterways, and dotted amongst the bracken on the fells.  I’m particularly fond of finding patches with a good dark backdrop – leaves or a wall – it shows their elegant shape so well.

Sheltering along a stacked stone wall

Foxgloves are biennials (or short-lived perennials) and they don’t bloom until their second season.  I guess this is why there are swathes of them blooming along where the flood of December 2015 deposited silt and gravel.  The seeds must have been stirred up and deposited by the waters.  Beauty from destruction.

Bank of foxgloves blooming on a bank of stones gouged out by the floodwaters of Rannerdale Beck.

Please be aware that all digitalis (Latin name of the foxgloves) contain the chemical digitalin and all parts of the plant are toxic if eaten.  Contact with the coarse foliage may irritate the skin and eyes, so do be careful and wear gloves if handling foxgloves.

The common foxglove in Britain is digitalis purpurea, though there are around 20 other species around the globe.  Through the science/art of hybridization, there are many choices for our gardens.  This year, in our cottage garden, we are growing a variety called ‘Dalmation Mixed’ and we hope they self seed!

Hybridized and in my garden, the statuesque digitalis purpurea ‘Dalmation Mixed’

Bees love foxgloves.  I love to watch the bees bumble up into the blossoms.

Which do you prefer, wild or tame?  Or are you like me, equally fond of both?


Herdy Girl


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