Friday, 12 June 2015

#30DaysWild day 12: Foxglove Friday

Foxgloves are fabulous flowers, with their super tall spikes covered in up to 80 pinky purple bells with spotted insides. They're found in hedgerows and woodland and can cope with dappled sunlight or deep shade.

One of the best places to see them near us is a wood called the Sculpture Trail (although there haven't been any sculptures there for several years now!), so we decided to go and see if they were flowering yet.

They flower the second year of growth and seeds can remain dormant if conditions are unfavourable. This means the foxgloves tend to have really good years when you see masses of them, but they also can have bad years when you may only find a handful of flower spikes. What would we find this year ...

This year looks like a bumper year, although we were a week or two early. They are going to look amazing soon! Some are starting to flower, but many are still in tight bud, but you can see from the pictures how many flower spikes there are.

The bees were loving the flowers that were open.

Foxgloves are poisonous and the plants are used to extract a cardiac drug called digitalis. They have many alternative names in folklore, many of which refer to their toxic nature, such as dead men's bells and bloody fingers. The name foxglove is thought to come from folks (as in fairy folks) gloves as the flowers shape would fit perfectly on a fairy finger.

It was lovely walking through the woods, then it opened out on the edge of a local estate with wonderful views of the Chilterns and a herd of deer in the distance.
We followed the trail through the trees
We were being watched!

It opened out on some stunning views of the Chilterns

We could see deer in the distance
Looking forward to going back in a couple of weeks when the flowers will be further out. With the sun shining through the trees and lighting up the flowers, they are going to look brilliant.

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