Digitalis Purpurea: The Essence of Summer

Foxglove and bee

The summer solstice seems an appropriate time to feature one of Britain’s most evocative wild flowers: Digitalis purpurea. Close ups of their spots, hairs and pouting flower lips, combined with dire warnings of their toxicity, help explain why so much lore has been wound around them.

Colourful folk names variously link them to fairies, dragons and witches, while scholars dispute the derivation of their commonest name, foxglove.

Continue reading “Digitalis Purpurea: The Essence of Summer”

Recreating Rappaccini’s Garden: an Eden of Poisonous Flowers

Floral tapestry

Spotted foxglove

I’ve been looking for pictures of plants to bring to life the garden created by Rappaccini, the twisted plant breeder of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s fable, and ‘as true a man of science as ever distilled his own heart in an alembic’. Rappaccini, like Frankenstein, used science to create a monster: his beguiling, innocent, but deadly daughter Beatrice. He and his daughter tend a collection of poisonous plants with heady, intoxicating fragrances that can wither and kill.   Continue reading “Recreating Rappaccini’s Garden: an Eden of Poisonous Flowers”

Weekly photo challenge: bluebell blur

Bluebell meadow

Bluebells. For me, they’re a sign of home. My tiny garden is so full of the sturdy, Spanish ones that I can’t plant anything else without digging a few up, no matter how careful I try to be.

We stumbled upon these ones growing wild on Darwen moor, not far from Sunnyhurst Woods, on our way to the Jubilee Tower last spring. A field of bluebells is enough to stop even the most experienced of ramblers in their tracks. It makes me happy to think that this year’s flowers aren’t far away now. Continue reading “Weekly photo challenge: bluebell blur”