13 December 2014

Garden Visitors for 12-13-14 ♥ ♥ ♥

Anna's Hummingbird, female.
Winter resident on Shaw Island,
Courtesy of Wikipedia.

Anna's Hummingbird, male.
Winter resident on Shaw Island,
Courtesy of Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
For two successive years the "winged winter jewel" known as the Anna's Hummingbird has been observed in at least two Shaw Island winter gardens. Both genders calmly enjoying Mahonia and Viburnum bodnantense flowers with backup of a feeder with sugar solution.
      For many years this hummingbird has been staying through the winter on San Juan, Orcas and Lopez Islands. Perhaps they are finally attracted to Shaw Island shores by tropical scent in the air from fragrant garden plants displaying luscious winter blooms.        
      Ciscoe Morris writes that this tiny bird needs to eat half its weight every day to survive, and encourages us to help them out with plant specimens they enjoy. Listed below are some of Ciscoe's recommendations that we can easily grow and plants that are commonly found at local nurseries.
Tall, winter blooming Mahonia x "Charity"
Shaw Island Community Building garden.
Planted along south fence line in the 1990s
by the volunteer garden crew.
Photo December 2014.

For expert advice on growing this Mahonia bred in N. Ireland, see this link

Hardy Fuchsia (F. magellanica); late fall bloomer in Mary Lou's garden.
witch hazel
Lonicera fragrantissima (winter honeysuckle)
Viburnum bodnantense
Sarcococca (sweet box)

If our gardens can provide a diversity of nectar plants, shelter, appropriate water sources, and if we can eliminate or greatly reduce the use of insecticides and herbicides, we will be able to experience hosting the jewel box hummingbirds all the year through. May they stay on Shaw for the Christmas Bird Count.

10 November 2014

🐝 🐝 🐝 MONEY PLANT (Lunaria annua)

LUNARIA ANNUA dried seed pods
 Mideke porcelain pot.
Shaw Island 2014.
Common names: Money Plant, Honesty, Silver Dollars.

Source: This plant has been growing on Shaw Island with two long-time islanders, Gwen Yansen and Mary Lou. Since the number of gardening years they have enjoyed on Shaw added together tops 100, let us list Lunaria annua as a Shaw Island Heritage Plant. The plant could have been introduced to the island by previous owners of their early established gardens, the Biendl and the Fowler families.

Native: The Balkans and SW Asia;  naturalized through the temperate climate of the world.

Life cycle: Herbaceous Biennial. References list it in both categories, but internationally known author/gardener Christopher Lloyd suggests it has a "stupid" specific epithet. If grown properly it makes large, well-branched plants in the second year.

Nomenclature: The name Lunaria means “moon-shaped,” referring to the seedpods. In SE Asia it is called “money plant” and in the US it is commonly known as “silver dollars.” In French, it is known as Monnaie du pape (“the Pope’s money”) In Denmark, it is known as judaspenge, an illusion to the story of Judas Iscariot and the 30 pieces of silver he was paid for betraying Christ.

Tolerates: Shaw Island deer have let me grow this plant at the Gatehouse garden mixed in with Carol's foxgloves. 

Height: 2 to 3-ft
"Money Plant"
A ceramic pot of this biennial growing from
Gatehouse seeds.
Angel's, Shaw Island, spring 2018.
Bloom: Mid spring-summer, fragrant, magenta-purple. A favorite for honey bees.

Growing Region: USDA Zone–– down to 4a.

The degree of Difficulty: EASY

Propagation: from seed. Direct sowing with a depth of 1/4". Spacing 4-6". Then at maturity thin 12-18".

Days to Sprout: 14-28.

Uses: Vital nectar plant for bees, butterflies, and birds. Cottage garden, flower arranging, flower borders, butterfly and wildlife gardens. Esteemed gardener/author Christopher Lloyd, in his book Cottage Garden, Prentice-Hall (1990), suggests Lunaria as a specimen we should grow. 

Bloom time: Spring to Summer flowers. If the flowers are not picked for bouquets there is autumn interest with flat, translucent, round and papery seed cases resembling little moons. These can be brought inside for use in dry arrangements or they can be left in the garden where they will re-seed.
Lunaria annua at Priona Garden
by Scott Weber.
A Piet Oudolf inspired garden tour to Holland and Germany,
 September 2015.
Notes: Some sources say to direct sow in fall and some say to wait until spring. In the PNW climate, I’m sure we can take our pick. Needs no pampering. It prefers partial shade but will tolerate full sun. Seems happiest growing among other plants. Lunaria develops thick storage roots, deep tap roots, so if kept in small pots for any length of time this prevents roots developing and will cause distress. Requires moist soil.
      Once established it will continue to produce a display each year.
      Artist Claude Monet grew this flower at his famous Clos Normand Garden, at Giverny.


Before the days of sophisticated dried flowers, "Honesty" was popular at Christmas and New Year's; after it had been arranged it would often stay in the vase for months.
      Now there is keener interest in the winter garden and the seed pods of the Silver Dollars can add interest to a bleak winter landscape.
      The key to getting good “silver pennies” is to make sure that the seed pods are perfectly dry. Cut the stems bearing seed pods and hang in bunches upside down in an airy room to dry. Once dry, gently remove the outer seed casing before using them for arrangements.

      In October, I brought some seed pods inside to dry. It was a delight to see them transform from rag-tag battleship gray to clean, translucent, silvery white.

Favorite reference for research on Lunaria annua;

“Honesty, or money plant, is one of those plants that is always appreciated but rarely used to its full potential. True, it is valued as a dried flower––for its silvery seed heads that look like coins––and for the wild garden, especially in its delightful but underused white form.
      In naturalistic or woodland situations some seedlings are best left where they sow themselves. In any shady situation planted with less delicate woodlanders, they can be allowed to do their own thing.
      The purple honesty looks excellent with white or yellow tulips.
       Lunaria will self-sow perfectly in perennial plantings. The gardener can take a hand in the look of the planting by removing self-sown seedlings from inappropriate positions and moving them to more advantageous ones.”
      The above quote from Discovering Annuals. Rice, Graham. Prentice-Hall. 1990. 
Lunaria (Money Plant)
Fat, fresh seeds for sale under the Viking Dragon
at the Gatehouse, Squaw Bay Road, Shaw Island.

04 November 2014

🌿 MARY LOU's Nasturtiums 🌿


Eye to eye in November,
with the luxury of greenhouse quarters.
Shaw Island, WA. 2014.
No enhanced image, the Nasturtiums
come fully packed with color.
No one needs an introduction to the well known botanical specimen, Tropaeolum majus. Nasturtiums are one of the most foolproof and versatile of all summer annuals. This variety gets star status for being a long time friend of gardener Mary Lou, of Shaw. If you read further you will see why the famed artist, gardener Claude Monet, gets top billing along with our island neighbor.

Common Name: Mary Lou's Trailing Nasturtiums
Life cycle: Hardy Annual
Growing region: Zone 1-10.
Degree of Difficulty: EASY
Bloom time: Mid summer to autumn frost.
Flower description: The newly collected seeds are from Mary Lou's very happy, trailing Nasturtium. There are a few of a medium yellow shade, perhaps with odds of 10%. One can choose to rogue out if one of the colors doesn't suit your design. The solid orange suits me to the ground; the official varietal name is not known, so it is hereby "Mary Lou's," of course.

Origin: Originally from South American Andes from Bolivia north to Columbia. It was first cultivated in Peru and introduced to Europe in the 16th C by the Spanish conquistadors. There are dwarf varieties (Nanum) and this offered seed, which is the trailing (Majus) form.

Germination: 7-21 days. Distinctive seedlings can be told from nearby weed seedlings quite easily.

Cultivation: Sow direct where they are to grow instead of transplanting.
They prefer well-drained soil in full sun of the Northwest, but are difficult to keep flowering in the hot sun of the south. They will tolerate some drought but bloom best when watered in their growing season. Several sources say Nasturtiums do better with soil of moderate to low fertility.


Studies say this annual is among the best "flower trap" for attracting predatory insects.
Attractive to Hummingbirds.

Uses: Cottage and informal gardens; hanging baskets, tubs, and containers. Ideal for children.
Good for filling bare spots or along the edges of your flower and vegetable beds.
Flowers, leaves, and seeds are all edible for peppery additions to salads.

My favorite reference for this Tropaeolum study;
Russell, Vivian. Monet's Garden, Through the Seasons at Giverny
New York. Stewart, Tabori & Chang. 1995. 

"The piece de resistance of Claude Monet's Giverny––unique to Giverny––is the carpet of trailing nasturtiums leading the way along the Grande Allée toward the front door. This effect was already in place in 1892, according to a photograph from that date, and was probably used even earlier. How was it conceived? One can only guess. On fine, warm days the family lunched on the wooden green veranda that ran the length of the house, under a canopy of Virginia creeper, roses, wisteria, and aristolochia. Monet always sat with his back to the house, facing the garden and gazing down the Grande Allée. He would have noticed in other situations the creeping, trailing habit of climbing nasturtiums and their capacity for covering the ground far beyond where their roots are anchored, and being a canny and resourceful character, he may have thought that this would solve the problem of the Grande Allée. The sturdy, reliable nasturtiums were planted on either side and allowed to creep toward one another and toward the light in the middle of the path. By September, only a narrow sinuous path was visible between the sea of undulating leaves, brilliantly translucent in the sun and making waves of frothy acid-green on which floated orange flowers. The whole concept was not that far removed from the water lilies that would later float on his pond. Even the disk-like leaves of the nasturtiums echo the shape of the water-lily pads that were to come.
      At Giverny today, great care is taken to make sure the nasturtiums perform on cue. The seeds are planted in spring directly in the soil along the Grande Allée after being soaked for 24 hours in warm water. The seeds, two planted every 2 inches, are supplied wholesale by weight, and identified as nothing grander than 'medium high,' 'high climbing,' and so on. Although extra sowings are made in the greenhouses simultaneously in case the seeds fail in the main garden, they have always proven dependable and so far, have carpeted the whole of the Grande Allée by mid-September every year.
      Nasturtiums figure prominently in Monet's late summer and fall garden, and as with all the favorites of his early years, he remained faithful to them, growing annual and perennial varieties over many years. He grew some––probably annuals rather than perennials––up the tuteurs in the island beds in front of his house and in his paintbox beds."

A quote below from a favorite American garden writer, the famous gardener/author, Celia Thaxter (1835-1894) who chose to garden on Appledore Island, ME., operate one of the first summer resorts in the country, and surround herself with guest artists such as the great painter Childe Hassam (1859-1935.)

"In the case of Nasturtiums––these are among the most beautiful and decorative of all––every one is twice as valuable if given the support it demands. Nasturtiums, which seem with endless good-nature ready to adapt themselves to any conditions of existence, except, perhaps, being expected to live in a swamp, it is not so important that they should have something upon which to climb. A very good way is to put them near a rock one wishes to have covered, or to let them run down a bank upon which nothing else cares to grow. They will clothe such places with wild and beautiful luxuriance of green leaves and glowing flowers."
Thaxter, Celia. An Island Garden; Houghton, Mifflin, & Co. 1894. 
There is a special reprint published in 1977 by John M. Kingsbury, Director of Shoals Marine Laboratory who also took charge of the restoration of Thaxter's garden.
To tour her garden under the care of U of NH and Cornell, see this link

Fresh crop of these seeds, at the
Gatehouse, Squaw Bay Road.

31 October 2014


Shaw Island grown pumpkins 2014.

Please see the Univ of WA Press blog for review of  
PUMPKIN, the Curious History of an American Icon.
Ott, Cindy, 2013.

26 September 2014

🌿 Gwen's Sweet Pea 🌿

Lathyrus latifolius
Hand thrown porcelain pot by Louis Mideke

Shaw Island, Summer 2014
      From a photograph documenting the day, we know that in the late 1960s, Gwen Yansen, with a maiden name of Jones, traveled to the small island of Jones, SJC, with Babs and Coonie Cameron. Their mission was to gather wild-collected seeds of flower specimens for the woodland garden being planted for the new Library and Historical Society. 
      We all know that Gwen loved flowers, but with a healthy love of books, she also contributed as a trustee on the first board of directors to help round up supportive charter members.
      The native, Lathyrus latifolius vine enjoyed a prominent place in Gwen's own garden overlooking Wasp Pass, but I neglected to ask if she adopted a plant from the wild, or started one from purchased seed.
       Gwen grew her perennial Sweet Pea specimen for at least twenty years, on its own 7-ft iron support with the vine staying right where it was planted, displaying good manners, without making babies, perhaps due to deadheading of the old blooms, which she knew to be important. 
      For a good portion of this summer of 2014, several friends and one young apprentice botanist know I've been prowling and researching wild Sweet Peas--not classified as a beach pea, or a vetching.* 
      Mary Lou, another great island gardener used to give her annual Sweet Peas an early start by sowing them in the autumn season, in a warm southerly location next to her house. She remembers that wild Sweet Peas used to grow along Shaw Island ditches before our roads were so well maintained by the County Road crew. 
Lathyrus latifolius
Blooms of summer '14.
     This naturalized, roadside wildflower was introduced from Southern Europe into English gardens before 1635, and came with immigrants to North America. Now throughout the west, the plant is an example of the adage that "we can't have it all." The perennial vine, with healthy foliage all through the hot, dry simmer of '14, is long-lived, salt-spray and wind tolerant, it has a long bloom season with fine flowers for cutting, a gorgeous magenta rose color, keeps its roots in a tidy clump, displays resistance to deer and drought. It won the prestigious RHS Award of Garden Merit, but alas, it lacks fragrance.
      According to seed specialist, Renee Shepherd, this species can be trained as an attractive and reliable perennial hedge plant, much more drought tolerant than the annual sweet peas. Here is a link to her site.
Pre-soak seeds and sow in containers for placement in a cold frame in Sept/Oct or store seeds in the refrigerator for sowing in early spring. 
Prone to diseases if seedlings are over watered.
Enjoys the sun.
Some good culture notes here

*Favored reference for this Lathyrus study; 
Clark, Lewis J. Wild Flowers of the Pacific Northwest from Alaska to Northern California; Sidney, B.C., Gray Publishing Ltd. 1976.

The sweet pea packets are processed and 
on the rack at the Gatehouse,
 Squaw Bay Road, Shaw Island.

21 September 2014

Mary Lou's Siberian IRIS

E. B. "Bert" Fowler & Dorcas Marold Fowler farmhouse
established on Shaw Island in the 1880s.

I.d. of people on file.
 Photograph date c. 1905.
Click to enlarge.
Former farm of friends Don & Mary Lou Clark.
The genus is certain when we list this heritage plant as being an Iris. There are over 200 species, however, Mary Lou thinks this is a Siberian Iris. It is not what early-timers called a "flag," or of the Bearded Iris, type growing from thick rhizomes. Nor has it been an Iris to spread into monster clumps needing frequent division like some Siberian Iris. Seems like well-behaved might be an appropriate description.
      It is a given for the plant to be hardy to Zone Range 8 and possibly colder.
      Mary Lou has gardened on Shaw Island since 1946; she thinks this Iris was growing on the farm when she arrived with Don. 
      E. B."Bert" Fowler and Dorcas Marold Fowler homesteaded the farm to earn the first patent deed in the 1880s; their daughter Alice Fowler Owens, with her husband and children, were the next residents before Mary Lou and Don arrived. 
      If one needed to reach this farm by switchboard through the early, private Shaw Island Phone Co-Op, one cranked out "two longs" on the wall phone. 
Mary Lou's Iris
Photo of Art by Sue Morse,
summer visitor to Shaw Island.

Courtesy of Mary Lou©

Flower Color: Blue-Purple.

The plants that produced the seeds for sale were grown by Mary Lou in what seems to be relative isolation from cross-breeding with any other Iris.

For maximum freshness, please keep seed refrigerated in its original packet until you have time to plant.
Expert notes for Iris seed germination can be found on this link
Grow in full sun to light, dappled shade.

Out of stock.

06 September 2014


Picea sitchensis, 
native to Shaw Island, WA.

Largest of the world’s spruce family, seldom found far from moist, maritime air. Lifespan of over 700-years. Grows in a narrow strip along the north Pacific coast, including Shaw Island, WA.

Seed starting:

Soak in water, then let stand for 24 hrs. No stratification needed. Sow 1/8" deep, tamp the soil, mulch the seed bed. Can be sensitive to excess moisture.


Likes deep, moist, well-aerated soils—poor on swampy soil. Tolerant of ocean spray.
Great notes on the history of this Spruce can be found here

Freshly harvested seeds will be for sale again at the Gatehouse, on Squaw Bay Road.

29 August 2014

🐝 🐝 🐝 "Evening Primrose" (Oenothera biennis)

Angel's "Evening Primrose"
Shaw Island, 

photo date, summer 2014.

Common name: "Evening Primrose," "King's Cure-All"

Life cycle: Biennial

Growing region: Zone 4 to 9

Height: 4-6-ft.

Bloom time: Late Spring-Summer

Flower description: Clear yellow; showy; fragrant; short-lived; June-August.

Habitat: full sun; well-drained soils; 1 and 2-yr old plants grow together in localized clumps––sea-level to 2,000-ft.

According to the Xerces Society, this plant has special value for native bees.
Great description here:

Seed packets for sale at the
Gatehouse, Squaw Bay Road.

🌿 Golden Feverfew 🌿 (TANACETUM parthenium 'Aureum' )

Golden Feverfew
Growing on Shaw Island 2016.

TANACETUM parthenium ‘Aureum’

Common name: Golden Feverfew

Type: Hardy perennial herb
Growing region: USDA Zone: 5 to 7
Height: .75 to 1-ft.
Bloom time: June to October
Sun: full sun.
Water: medium
Maintenance: medium
Suggested use: annual, naturalize.
Flower: showy.
Tolerates: drought.
Foliage: Chartreuse, aromatic.


Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soils in full sun. Prefers moist, humusy soils with good drainage. Sometimes considered to be a biennial, but will usually remain in the garden through self-seeding that I’ve never considered invasive. Autumn or spring planting. Shear the spent blossoms immediately after blooming if you choose to avoid self-seeding.


Grown in medicinal gardens for centuries. Contains pyrethrin, a natural insect repellent. Suited to container growing, especially around outdoor seating areas, naturalized areas or cottage gardens where it can be allowed to freely self-seed. The Golden Feverfew is very easy to weed out if you choose. May be used in rock gardens, edging, or bedding plant. An excellent companion to roses. 
Golden Feverfew
On the rack at the Gatehouse, Squaw Bay Road

🌿 CAMAS 🌿 (CAMASSIA quamash)

This photo taken on Yellow Island, WA.
A nature preserve.

Common name: Camas

Life cycle: Hardy Bulb.

Growing region: Zones 4 to 9.

Height: 12-24 inches.

Flowers: Late spring.

Bloom description: blue-violet (rarely white.) Showy; April-June. 

Habitat: moist soils, at least in early spring, prairies; meadows; grassy flats. Occurs both sides of the Cascades. 

Tolerates: Summer drought.


“Camassia species deserves wider use in perennial gardens or for naturalizing in woodland settings. They are used more extensively in Europe than in the USA, where they are native.  These long-lived bulbs are easy to establish.
The bulbs were an important food for Native Americans, and territorial battles were fought over quamash fields. The Lewis and Clark expedition also depended on boiled bulbs for food during their journey west. 
There are six species of Camassia native to N. America. There are two species native to the San Juans. 

June 1806 Meriwether Lewis came down into the Nisqually prairie and said these famous words:

"The quamash is now in blume and from the colour of its bloom at a short distance it resembles lakes of fine clear water, so completely in this deception that on first sight I could have sworn that it was water!"

One of my favourite reference books for researching this specimen, partly because the author took space to include the well-known Lewis quote, in her fine book:
A Christmas 2014 gift from dear friends.
Only available from within
Northwest Indian communities
Published by The Northwest Indian College
Vanessa Cooper-360-392-4343.
the North American Native Plant Society has good notes here.

Camas quamash seeds will be at the
Gatehouse, Squaw  Bay Road

🌿 ANGEL'S ROSE CAMPION ALBA (LYCHNIS coronaria "alba") 🌿

White Rose Campion
(Lychnis coronaria 'Alba')
Photo dated May 2015.
With a little salt splash added––
Growing on the berm of the beach on East Passage
at Point Robinson Lighthouse, Maury Island, WA.,
a historical place protected and restored by volunteers, now
owned by the Vashon Parks Department.
Easily accessed Keeper's Quarters are available for rent!
If you care to read a history timeline about this early light
named by Captain Wilkes Expedition see the link 

Friends of Pt. Robinson Lighthouse

Lychnis coronaria ‘alba’  

Herbaceous biennial favorite grown by Angel on Shaw Island.

Common name:  White Rose Campion 

Native Region: Southern Europe
Growing Region: Zone 4 to 8
Preferred Climate: Temperate
The white form of Rose Campion comes reliably true from seed and makes an attractive accent in the garden. Actually, I think it seems rather elegant at times. This erect, woolly, silver-gray plant produces a succession of long-stalked, white flowers from late spring through the summer and into autumn if deadheaded. This biennial reseeds itself reliably, but doesn't become thuggish and may survive as short-lived perennial. Height 24-36-inches; spread 18-inches.

Tolerates: deer, drought, dry soil, rocky soil.

Culture: Easily grown in average, medium, well-drained soil in full sun, but will take some light shade. Prefers moist soil, but will tolerate some dryness. 


Sow seed in situ in spring, or start in containers in cold-frame. Since it is classified as a self-seeder, seeds can be cast out successfully in the autumn. Nothing ever seems to bother this plant.

Another Shaw Island connection: Elizabeth Jones grew the magenta colored cultivar in her garden, where this writer observed them growing happily without deer fence protection. 

The nickname is Red Campion but it is "Alba," meaning white.
Fresh crop of these seeds are on the rack,  
Gatehouse, Squaw Bay Road.

🌿 Gwen's "Welsh Poppies" 🌿 (Papaver cambricum)

Papaver cambricum
"Gwen's Welsh Poppies" 
Photo: 1980s, Shaw Island, WA.

Common name: Welsh Poppies

Type: Perennial

Native region: Western Europe

Growing Region: USDA Zone 6-8

Preferred Climate: Temperate.

Maintenance: Low.

Tolerates: Will grow in damp or dry conditions.

If you are looking for an easy Papaver to grow, this is it. A tap-rooted hardy perennial, this plant produces a succession of yellow to orange blooms that will brighten any garden. Height, 18 inches.


For maximum freshness, please keep seed refrigerated in its original packaging until it is time to plant. Sow seeds where they are to be grown in spring or fall. Easy to just broadcast out. Grow in humusy, moist but well-drained slightly acidic soil in sun to part shade.
Easy, reliable, undemanding.

Grown at the well-known, exuberant Great Dixter estate garden in southern England, at the Washington State Extension display garden in Mount Vernon, WA., and then found her way across the saltwater to live happily on Shaw Island for, at least, the last 35 years. 

fresh Shaw Island seed harvest of 2018.
Botanists have officially changed the name from
Meconopsis cambrica under which we had
previously listed this specimen.

🌿 Carol's Foxgloves 🌿 (DIGITALIS PURPUREA)

Digitalis purpurea (mixed)
Carol’s Foxgloves
Shaw Island, WA.
Photo courtesy of Carol.

Native Region: Europe

Growing Region: USDA Zone 4-9

Preferred Climate: Suited to a wide range of conditions.

Description: Mixed colors of white, shell pink to deep rose, lavender, and purple. This is one of the truly grand, old-fashioned flowers of that almost mythical English Cottage Garden, that so many people strive to recreate. This biennial produces attractive rosettes of large leaves the first year, with tall spikes of flowers 3 to 6-ft or more in height the 2nd year. Handsome, large spikes and drooping bell-shaped blooms spotted inside, during their second year. 
Extremely attractive to bees.

Maintenance: Easy if watered in dry weather. Grow in almost any soil but prefers humus-rich soil in partial shade.

Tolerates: Shaw Island DEER.

Foxgloves growing on the north shore
in the Stitt family garden, Shaw Island.
L-R:  Mae, Dave M. Stitt visiting his parents,
 David P. (1862-1949) and Bertie Stitt,

 4th July 1937. 
Click photo to enlarge.
Courtesy of William B. Evans, a Stitt relative, 

 and helpful history informant for Shaw Island archivists.
      Medicinal: A classic example of a drug derived from a plant formerly used by folklorists and herbalists.
One of the few wildflowers to be well received in the garden. 
The whole foxglove plant is extremely poisonous. Fortunately, it tastes very bitter and causes irritation of the membranes in the mouth. It also causes diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, so if it does go in, it soon comes out.

Sowing: outdoors September to October on the surface as the seeds need light to germinate, in pots or in-situ. 
Days to sprout: 14-21.

Notes: Carol imported her original seeds from Saltspring Island, Gulf Island Archipelago, BC.Digitalis viability is 2-3 years so keep the seed in the fridge if you didn't get a chance to cast them out after purchase.

Foxglove flowers in an arrangement supposedly make the other flowers last longer.
According to Elizabeth Murray in Monet's Passion, this flower is grown at the painter's garden at Giverny.
Foxgloves (Digitalis purpurea)
flanked by Linaria, 

Angel's garden, Shaw Island, 2003.

 Digitalis is an introduced species, but becoming "almost native." The bees would like to see more in cultivation.

My favorite book for research on this particular specimen:

"The best of all foxgloves is the wild species of woods and banks––it is almost impertinent to try to 'improve' a plant of such elegance and charm. A hardy biennial, with rosettes of leaves at the base, the flower is too well-known to need lengthy description. It has drooping tubes of flowers up one side of the stalk in mid-summer. The flowers are in shades of purple, white, or sometimes a pure and lovely pink, richly spotted inside.
      The foxglove is very much a cottage plant, brought in from the wild over many centuries for herbal use, and is one of the few plants still used in modern medicine, a treatment for heart disease. The cottage paintings of Helen Allingham, a friend of Ruskin, Tennyson, and Browning, which now fetch high prices in the salesroom, nearly always have foxgloves waving among the roses and pansies by the cottage door.
      There is room for foxgloves in almost every garden which boasts a tree or a few shrubs, for it likes a little shade; it prefers light soil, with some humus. Being biennial, seed should be sown in two successive years to get continuity of flower; after which it will seed itself forever. The hybrid 'Excelsior' strain, which I deplore, has horizontal flowers clumsily crowded all around the stalk, but there is a pleasant perennial foxglove, D. grandiflora, with yellow flowers.
      Foxgloves look best scattered among plants as unpretentious as themselves and the tall, pink-flowered rose species, Rosa glauca, with leaves of soft blue-green on red stalks, makes a perfect background. 
      Foxgloves require no staking, no feeding, no dosing for disease, and the leaves provide winter ground cover. What more can any plant be asked to give?"

      Pg 93-94; Published by Summit Books, a Division of Simon and Schuster, New York. 1988.

Fresh foxglove seeds for sale
at the Gathehouse, Squaw Bay Road.