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”

Wild And Cultivated Primulas

Primroses growing wild

It’s a relatively small step from these pale yellow primroses (primula vulgaris) I found growing wild to the pink double below. Both plants are romantic in their way.

Double pink primula

The fresh pink and cream colouring of this cultivated double gradually gives way to a faded parma violet as the flower ages. I can see how, for some, this might seem a flaw, but for me it adds an old world charm.  Continue reading “Wild And Cultivated Primulas”

Butterfly sipping nectar: is this just a cold transaction?

Butterfly in wildflowers

It’s tempting to assume other living things experience the world pretty much as we do. While resizing this picture, I was thinking how much fun butterflies must have in a flower meadow – swinging on flowers while they sip a little nectar, perhaps comparing flavours and seeking out the ones they like best, then fluttering off to the next field…  Continue reading “Butterfly sipping nectar: is this just a cold transaction?”