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Friday, June 06, 2008

Foxglove Fantasy

This morning is the calm before the storm. It's cool, damp, overcast and perfect garden weather. The storm on the horizon is not a rain or wind storm, tomorrows forecast is for temperatures to soar to the mid 90's (35 celsius) and stay there for several days. Many of my poor spring perennials will surely suffer.

Right now our biennial Digitalis purpurea (Foxgloves) are bursting into bloom all over the garden. Luckily, I remember to let these beauties scatter seeds everywhere so I always have a large population of them. To be honest, I actually weed out many of them just before they begin blooming as I have too many of them!

In this opening photo I wonder if you can see the mutant scape coming up on this one plant. It's super fat and yet super thin. As it starts to bloom I will need to take more photos.

Here's a stepped back view of this area, you can see all the bloom scapes just beginning to open up their glorious flowers.

Further along in this part of the garden all the blooms are of a similar color. I try to remember to cut back the darkest purple blooms and only let the white and pale lavender blooms go to seed. The dark color though must be dominant as the majority of blooms are always dark purple.

Behind the biennial variety of Digitalis is the perennial sibling Digitalis lutea. It has pale yellow blooms and with the heatwave that is coming, I expect them to open up any day now.

I wish the perennial variety was a bit more prolific, I'm only up to three plantings of them so far.

In the herb bed are these huge white specimen. I could stand there for hours staring at them.

As a closing sneak peek, here's a Tradescantia (spiderwort) that just began blooming. I have no idea if this is a named variety or a seedling that popped up but the flowers are larger than any other in my garden and their color is wonderful.

So many gardeners have told me that they cannot get their foxgloves to reseed or reappear in their gardens. I guess my advice is to not cultivate the area near them or cover it with too much mulch. By the way, past experience tells me that they grow like crazy in a garden heavily amended with composted manure.

Do foxgloves grow for you?

15 comments:

Sue Swift said...

No, sadly they don't. They germinate fine but later the heat is too much for them. Sad because I love them, and i'd fill the balcony with them if I could.

Pinky said...

Ah, I think you have solved a mystery in my garden. My 80 y/o "flower lady" down the street shares her foxglove that she is hoeing out with me. She has tons. Mine never do reseed but grow wonderfully after bringing them home from her place. The mystery...she has used composted horse manure for years and years...me never. Thanks for sharing your gardens and ideas!
~~Karleen

zvrk said...

Oh, yes, they do!
Two years ago I made sure I shook all my foxglove ripe seed heads. Thousands, and thousands. I have given numerous seedling to friends and still have lots left!

Wanita said...

I haven't tried growing floxglove yet, but they are beautiful.

Your gardens are very beautiful. I really enjoy your blog.

Gail said...

Can't get them to grow and so I will enjoy yours...they are lovely. I think I need to get more compost into this garden in general...with all the clay, I can't keep up..Where can I find a horse owner to share their composted manure!

Lisa in CA said...

This is the first year I have tried growing them. It is blooming nicely, I hope the heat doesn't kill it off, though.

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

I thought the mutant in the first shot was a post! That is quite odd. I've always loved Foxgloves, but I made the mistake of planting the biennial here. It died out after a few years. I really should get the yellow perennial form.

Cinj said...

I'm not sure that I have ever tried growing foxglove before, although I planted a bunch of new plants that I'd never grown before last summer. It's a possibility I suppose!

You always have such lovely looking gardens when I stop by to visit. I can't wait until my perrineals burst forth into bloom. I only have 2 so far that are blooming.

Hoot Owl Hollow Nursery said...

I have foxgloves seeding all over the gardens and do weed out hundreds, probably thousands each year. I transplant some of the smaller ones to places I want them and let them reseed. I'd hate to be without them. I never know just what colors will show up, but this year have white, dark rose, pink and lavender in addition to the yellow perennial ones which do seem to multiply more slowly. By the way, that wide scape is called fasciated. I sometimes get them on hostas though I've never seen one on a hosta with the leaves on it like yours has.
Jane

joey said...

Fair warning! Keep a close eye on Tradescantia (spiderwort) ... a 'love/hate' garden relationship. They provide subtle color and form in a quiet spot but become 'too happy' and invite relatives that invade your garden!

cindee said...

Mine never re-seed. I wish they did. They grow well when I plant seedlings just never see them after the blooming year. I always cut the dead flowers off. Maybe that is why? Yours are beautiful

Hermes said...

Thanks, I love Foxgloves as they remind me of drives through the lanes of Devon and Cornwall. I have the National Collection not far from me :

http://www.thebotanicnursery.com/foxgloves.htm

and I must go and vist them and take some pictures.

Beth said...

My friend loves her foxglove but I haven't been so adventuresome to try them. We have such windy days here that I would be afraid that they would be destroyed with a good storm. Do you have to stake them?

garden girl said...

I have the perennial yellow ones. Not as showy as your pink ones, but they do come back every year. No babies though (yet.)

RJS said...

So pleased to see your mutant foxglove! I have two out of five plants that are normal, two that look like yours and one that looks really deformed. It's about 12cm across the 'scape'and so far, the top is so twisted and confused, I am not sure if it will be able to flower or not. I live in Hamilton, New Zealand and I'm really interested to know why it's like that. Any ideas?