Saturday, May 28, 2011

Digitalis (foxglove) gallery

In the photo above you are looking at a number of wonderful perennials and woody shrubs that clearly work together sensationally. In the background you have the bluish foliage of the Rosa glauca on one side and the rounded Berberis thunbergii on the other with those fun purple lollipops of ornamental Allium bulbs which get planted in fall for this great spring show. Then the variegated (fancy botanical terms meaning 2-tone, most often referring to leaves that are green and white) Miscanthus and the Hydrangea macrophylla, the rest of the backdrop for the Iris sibirica and those rocketing blossoms, Digitalis purpurea.

Foxglove as they are commonly known, Digitalis purpurea is a biennial, which is a plant that goes through it's entire life cycle in two years. In the first year the plant produces it's roots and a basal rosette of foliage. It is then in the plants second year that it will produce this tall spike of gorgeous bell shaped flowers. After that the flowers will go to seed and the plant will die away, hoping the dropped seed will take and lead to their next reincarnation in the garden. Every year in the Conservatory Garden Curator Diane Schaub likes to incorporate a few dozen foxglove into the perennial beds to give them that extra spring punch.

Here are a few "hort porn" macro shots I shot the other day.
You can see the intricate markings on the flower which guide in their specific pollinators, which I assume to be bees.
This mix, ranging from white to peach to pink to this stronger rosy shade, is sold in the trade under the name 'Excelsior'.

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