foxglove

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One of my great pleasures at the moment is observing, photographing and finding out more about, the wildflowers where I live. I’m surrounded by lots of different kinds of environments – hedgerow, water, woodland, heath, mountain – and these are full of so many wonderful flora, some of which I had never noticed or knew the names of until recently. Just opposite our house is a path that forms part of the West Highland Way. This path is lined with an old wall, and growing around and through this wall, some foxgloves have recently been putting on a spectacular show. I decided I had to take some photographs of them yesterday.

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I think I am starting to understand the allure of botanical drawing. Sadly, I cannot draw for toffee, but I am certainly enjoying capturing the detail of my local flora with my camera.


In other news:

I had great fun reading the animal names in the comments to the previous post! After excluding those who couldn’t enter, the randomly selected winners of the Toft party tickets are Pootle the cat and Iris the hawk . . . ahem . . . I mean Lucy and Janine. Congratulations! Could you please email me at info@katedaviesdesigns.com to arrange your prize?

33 responses

  1. The patterns on the inside of the foxglove remind me of “Stone Circles” by Kaffe Fassett. You are an artist with a camera!

  2. Pootle! Oh I used to love The Flumps when I was wee.

    I love foxgloves. I like that their beauty hides their deadly secret.

  3. I grew up in a small village in rural Suffolk in the seventies, every week this lovely old gentleman would turn up and him and a teacher would take some of the children out for a walk around our village. He’d point out all the different trees and flowers, stop us and make us listen to different bird song…. we’d pick a couple of the flowers or leaves and take them back to the class room and draw and paint them, we also had little notebooks so sometimes we’d be drawing something or other, or jotting down one of his little sayings. Halfway through the walk he’d produce a packet of polo mints and we’d all get to have one, then solemnly suck them while we carried on walking. We all became pretty good at knowing which plants were poisonous (I think I spent half my childhood playing on the common land which surrounded our village, it was full of broom and gorse, along with foxgloves, lords and ladies, stinging nettles….) and which plants were “good”… ahhh dock leaf, I will always love your soothing cool after the burn of a nettle!
    The walks would often be in all weathers, and could be a bit grissly…we’d see farmers fences with magpies, and weasels hung up by the farmer or gamekeepers. But we’d also get to pull little bits of sheep’s wool from the barbed wire or wooden posts, they’d be a bit whiffy but so lovely to touch and have in your pocket to rub with your fingers.
    I’m always amazed at what plants I can still recognise after all these years.
    Your photos are so beautiful… I love foxgloves, I think they’ll always be my favourite.

  4. Except for one year in Southport, we always lived in the country. My two brothers and I roamed freely, probably terrorizing the neighbours! Ericka’s comment brought back all those wonderful memories from 65 years ago. My surviving brother lives in Cornwall and my great pleasure is to walk the lanes and cliff paths with him, still identifying the wild flowers, etc. Will the lovely foxglove photos morph into a Fair Isle pattern, Kate?

  5. I have a cabin on a small (about an acre) island on the south east coast of Sweden. It’s been in the family for years and sometime in the 30ies my great grandmother planted some foxgloves there. They have since naturalised and their blossoming is a treat every year.
    By the way, in Swedish they’re called thimble flower (fingerborgsblomma) and the literal translation from Swedish would be finger fortress flower :)

  6. I agree, I would love to be able to draw and paint botanical specimens and capture the beauty of nature on paper
    Caz

  7. Ah, those very same Foxglove plants grow here though they establish themselves as ‘wild’ after only planting once (which I did a few years ago) now they reseed all around my garden, making friends with tomatoes and basil…. clustering around water faucets…. I love them. You always have done a fine job capturing the flowers’ best in your shots. Lovely , thanks.

  8. I have found that foxgloves love being disturbed, A ditch that has been cleared or a mountainside that has had the gorse burnt off will produce a fantastic vibrant colony of foxgloves the following year.

  9. Too late for the contest, but I wanted to tell you about the basset hound we had when I was a kid in the late ’50′s……..she was called Betsy, after the doll that drank water and then wet her diapers, Betsy Wetsy! As Betts got older, she morphed into plain Betsy and eventually into the very dignified old lady Bess. She was a sweet tempered old girl, and we loved her in all her incarnations.

    Our current dog is a rescue mutt terrier called Liza, after Eliza Doolittle. My son said “She looks a little scruffy now, but she might be a real lady some day.” She has remained scruffy…..her rough coat never looks brushed, even when it has been, but in temperament she is definitely a very ladylike pup.

    Barbara M. In NH

  10. I have heard of Foxgloves but never seen them. They are lovely and the colors are beautiful. Wish we had some here in New Mexico. You’re pictures are always wonderful wish I had a book full of them.

  11. I love foxgloves. They grow along the major east-west highway near us, and as we drive along it in June I have a lot of fun looking for the first ones and saying, “foxglove!” This game is of course more challenging early in the season, and is better if you have a partner who is driving and who also enjoys the game!

    Also, I didn’t want to clutter up your giveaway as I am an ocean and a continent away from being able to enjoy the prize! But…my two favorite cat names are “Trout” and “Fierce.” (Not mine, but rather a friend’s sister’s pets.)

  12. Hi Kate, do you use a tripod when taking your beautiful pics?? I can never get a pin sharp image as I have a bit of a tremor but have so far resisted a tripod (I’m a bit self conscious – silly me!) but am thinking it might be time to bite the bullet!

  13. ALL the names I know from nurse:
    Gardener’s garters, Shepherd’s purse,
    Bachelor’s buttons, Lady’s smock,
    And the Lady Hollyhock.

    Your lovely photos made me think of this poem from RL Stevenson

  14. In French, foxgloves are ‘digitales’ and I love make jokes about that (especially linked to my research with new media)! Your walkings are always beautiful and inspiring!

  15. And I’ve heard they dye wool green! I haven’t tried but I’m planning to, won’t have enough flowers this season though.

  16. I know knitters are often inspired by what surrounds them and I hope that sometime we can see a design by you inspired by these wildflowers around you. You certainly have captured my attention when you write about the things you see – reminds me to stop and look too!

  17. Totally off topic here, tho’ I love the foxgloves. I’ve just discovered needle felting. It may become an addiction. What say you about this? For me it’s another technique for using wonderful wool. I’d love to have you look into felting…..history, uses, women’s expressions….and share your unique & scholarly insights.

  18. Hi Kate. I have foxgloves in my garden. You need to sit & watch the Bumble Bees feeding from them, it is amazing & comical at the same time.

  19. Foxgloves, in Swedish, Fingerborgsblomma. Fingerborg mean Thimble in English. A lovely flower that you can’t have to much of in your garden. (But it is poisonous, so if you have small children, you should take extra care)

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