You might have noticed some perennials seemed to move too rapidly through their growing and flowering cycles this summer. That was their response to the extreme and prolonged heat, lasting for approximately eight weeks, and forcing plants to set seed and shut down to preserve their energies. But with the return of cool nights and reliable moisture, some perennials have returned to offer a few unexpected blooms. While cleaning the front bed, I discovered two lovely foxgloves with new flowers.
The straw foxglove (Digitalis grandiflora, Zone 3, sometimes known as D. ambigua) is a charming, meadow-like plant that can develop a thick and long-blooming clump that’s reliably perennial. Its pointy wands of pale yellow bells (with brown netting in the throats) grow two to three feet (60 to 90 cm) tall, somewhat shorter than other foxgloves and pleasing in every way. I also found some flowers of D. purpurea ‘Camelot Rose’, reminding me how gorgeous these D. purpurea hybrids can be, and I must get more. Their thick rosettes of foliage are low and make a good groundcover. They grow in partial shade to full sun, providing the soil is kept consistently moist. D. purpurea and its hybrids are often biennial plants, but sometimes will change to perennial behaviour if happy in their circumstances. And when conditions are ideal (organic soil, consistent moisture and moderate temperatures), one can hope for self-sown seedlings.
Other posts by Judith this week:
Posts from Judith last week: