|"foxglove tree" in my local park|
I was soon brought to my senses though, as they were missing the mesmerising markings in the throat which lead the bees or folks (fairies) to the nectar deep inside the glove.
|first signs of foxgloves this spring - not one black bean aphid in sight ...|
To think I almost decided to give up growing foxgloves after ten specimens nurtured for two years were attacked by black bean aphids last summer, which reproduced faster than I could wash them off. Fearing that it would take years for the ecology in the garden to rebalance in my favour, I couldn't face watching the sap being sucked out of the leaves and buds, crumpling them to submission a second time. However, it was the sight of healthy self-seeded offspring from the infested plants which taught me that life goes on regardless and prompted me to hand-rear foxgloves of my own again in addition.
|the biggest so far this year - reared by hand in my foxglove "nursery"|
Until today I have left a patch of the woodland untouched after planting the first foxgloves in 2010. Delegating to mother nature the responsibility to create harmony beyond my own imagination.
The seeds of the parent foxgloves germinated simultaneously under controlled conditions indoors. Their flowering last year passed in a relatively short time coinciding with the bluebells and the falling cherry blossoms, leaving me pining for more. The next generation came to life at different times depending on the spots where they fell in the woodland; the display during the past few weeks ranged from early plants which have lost most of their gloves to later plants which are still in bud. I've taken hundreds of photos since late spring but can't definitely label one as the point of climax, when all the plants in the woodland resonated together.
|offspring from two foxgloves planted in the woodland in 2010 ...|
Maybe harmony can't or rather shouldn't be sustained (dare I say that my heart stopped skipping a beat). The emerging roses, weigela and buttercups made odd companions with the foxgloves; the shade offered by the cherry's young leaves forced the spires to grow spindly reaching for sunlight.
|... and here they are without those pesky roses in the way|
I had reached a state of acceptance (or apathy) when we experienced a bout of heavy winds and rain which is still ongoing.
|... after a battering|
My hybrid foxgloves excelsior have been bred to grow flowers around the stem which enables them to stand upright whereas their ancestors, species foxgloves, have flowers on one side of the stem only which gives them a bowed appearance. After recent winds and rain I understood why - bowing saves at least one side of the hybrid's flowers.
The foxgloves were battered but realising that this could be my chance, this morning I cut off all the flower spires to energise the side shoots together.
What lies between dissonance and harmony ? : acceptance then anticipation - yes, the twinkle in my eye is back again.