Digitalis purpurea (mixed)
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.
Extremely attractive to bees.
One of the few wildflowers to be well received in the garden.
Days to sprout: 14-21.
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.
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.