Foxgloves have been a real hit in the garden at Genus HQ this year. From time to time we’ve had the occasional self sown specimen that has popped up in the border or along the edge of the gravel paths but last year we decided that we’d like to see more of their biennial spires and in recent weeks we’ve been reaping the rewards.
Seeds were sown in the summer last year, and subsequently pricked out into 9cm pots where they were grown on and transplanted into the borders at the start of this year. Flowering in early summer and holding their heads well above the burgeoning borders they have been a real winner for us, something we hope to repeat and possibly improve on next year.
With so many options to choose from we’re rather spoilt for choice. There’s captivating ‘Pam’s Choice’ with its beautiful blotched throat of purple on white and the stunning ‘Excelsior Hybrids’ boasting tall robust stems with flowers in a range of purples and whites that completely encircle the stems. Digitalis purpurea alba is the white form of our wild native foxglove and can look stunning in shaded corners where it’s delicate flowers glow in the evening light. Digitalis purpurea var. gloxinioides, 'The Shirley' has a long name and an equally long flower spike. Five feet is common but given the right conditions eight feet isn’t uncommon.
Digitalis Monstrosa will be the real talking point in the garden. In many ways it’s much like a regular foxglove but its crowning glory is the terminal flower. Less of a glove and more of a flat plate the almost circular flower will stop visitors in their tracks. The propensity to produce this unusual flower is known as pelorism and the good news for gardeners is that it’s a genetic trait that is passed on in the seeds and consequently is available in seed form. We can’t believe we’re already thinking of next year but it’s always exciting to plan ahead and try something just a little bit different.