Saturday, June 2, 2012

Quick Pix: Flowers Gone Wild...

Digitalis Purpurea, otherwise known as "Foxglove" is one flower I am always surprised at seeing this time of year.  It is a true biennial, needing two years to complete its growth and flowering cycle.  The first year it's only  small leafy plant, the second year it sends up tall stalks of these beautiful flowers.  This variety reseeds itself, so I never really know if and where the plants will show up.  This year, the flowers went "wild" by growing outside the flower bed, but close enough to the edge that the mower didn't catch them.

I love this flower, so happy in a cottage garden...who would have ever thought it came from northern Africa?  Well, it did, besides parts of Europe where they tamed it and put it in their Victorian gardens.  
With all its beauty, it has a deadly is extremely poisonous, that is, all parts of the plant.    So, if you have small children, you wouldn't want them playing in your yard and chewing on any part of this plant. But there is light to even this dark side; carefully refined extracts of this plant are used in medicine; natural and general to help out the heart muscle.  It helps to control the heart rate and to increase the ability of the heart to contract.  Not a bad thing for such a "wild" flower?

So, go ahead and plant this wild beauty as it only blooms a short time in late Spring and it is so worth the planting (I've grown mine while raising our two boys and they are still alive and kicking!)  But remember it's wild African roots and only look, chewing!!


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