Thursday, June 18, 2009

If you believe in magic

As for the elves, having sought them in vain among foxglove leaves and bells, under mushrooms and beneath the ground-ivy mantling wall nooks, I had at length made up my mind to the sad truth, that they were all gone out of England to some savage country where the woods were wilder and thicker, and the population more scant.
~ Charlotte Bronte (from Jane Eyre)

There is something mysterious and otherworldly about foxgloves. It isn't too hard to imagine the faerie folk might just materialize in these photos. You can almost make out their shadows in the twilight gloom beyond the trees at the bottom of the garden. Listen carefully and you can hear the tinkling of tiny bells.

Most of us have a 'bottom of the garden' . A spot not as well manicured, perhaps a little wild and overgrown. In these spots the faeries live and wait for the human folk to sleep. On moonlit nights, they dance and sing and ring their bells. If perchance you should meet a stranger in your garden, a wizened old woman or a beautiful child, do be pleasant and kind for this stranger may be a faerie in disguise. It is never a good thing to anger the magic ones.

Afar from our lawn and our levee,
O sister of sorrowful gaze!
Where the roses in scarlet are heavy
And dream of the end of their days,
You move in another dominion
And hang o'er the historied stone:
Unpruned in your beautiful pinion
Who wander and whisper alone.

~ Author unknown

Where? Where are the fairies?
Where can we find them?
We've seen the fairy rings
They leave behind them!
When they have danced all night,
Where do they go?
Lark, in the sky above,
Say, do you know?
Is it a secret no one is telling?
Why, in your garden
Surely they're dwelling!
No need for journeying,
Seeking afar:
Where there are flowers,
There fairies are!

~ Author Unknown

Foxglove is steeped in superstition and myth. Faeries gave magical gloves to foxes to make them silent hunters and to help them escape death at the hands of angry farmers who's chickens they killed . The fay folk wear them to enhance their own magical spells and charms.

In your garden, foxgloves will lean toward a supernatural presence or spirit. This, of course, is a very helpful tool that will allow you to locate unseen beings lurking among the lilies and the roses;)

Foxgloves will prevent those pesky faeries from stealing your children. Child stealing is something faeries are always trying to do.

Of course you must never bring foxgloves into your home. Very potent bad luck. In addition the wee people don't appreciate damage to their plant and will seek revenge. Foxgloves do bring good luck to other plants growing near them. The magical strength of the foxglove is shared with surrounding plants. If neighboring plants are crops, fruits or vegetables they will store well when harvested.

Have a magical week, everyone.


A Wild Thing said...

I hope your beautiful foxgloves stood tall in the storms last night, they missed us slightly, but my sweetcorn patch is flat as a pancake from the last storm!

Bring on the next storm Ms.Summer...

Sherri said...

I love foxgloves and so does my husband. Yours are beautiful!

Rose said...

Alas, there is no magic in my garden this year--the foxgloves didn't come back, and all my toads have probably eaten the fairies:)

A fun post, Marnie--certainly appropriate just after the Summer Solstice. I imagine the fairies danced and sang all night around your beautiful foxgloves.

Monica the Garden Faerie said...

Ooh, I love foxgloves and mushrooms. You know, being a faerie and all! :)

ShySongbird said...

What a lovely 'magical' post, I did enjoy that Marnie, I must go and have a peek and see if I can spy a fairy, I only have one Foxglove this year, but there might just be a fairy near it ;)

Beautiful photos and lovely words!

Unknown said...

What beautiful words and pictures.

flydragon said...

Ha, love this post:) With only one foxglove in my garden this year, but a whole lot of 'bottom of the garden' spots, and a few fairy rings in the lawn, I'm very disappointed that I haven't been able to see any of the faerie folks that I know must be lurking here.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Sharon, sadly, the foxgloves are now propped up with branches. We had a real gully washer of a storm that pretty much laid plants out.

Sherri, they are among my favorites too.

Well Rose, you know the only remedy to your situation. Somebody has got to get out there a kiss a few of those toads. Step forward girl;)

Hi Monica, I'll have to stop by some moonlit night and see if you are indeed dancing round the foxgloves;)

Songbird, I'm sure you will find at least one fairy hiding near your foxglove.

Good morning RainGardener, thank you.


BeadedTail said...

Such beautiful foxgloves and the stories about them are wonderful! I didn't know there was so many myths about the foxglove so I found this all very interesting!

sweetbay said...

Foxgloves are indeed magical, aren't they? I didn't realize that they were so shrouded in myth. I'm also glad that I don't really care for cut flowers -- I didn't know it was bad luck to bring foxglove inside!

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Flydragon, I have a bottom of the garden and then there is the wilderness beyond;) Faeries in the wilderness will need more than magic to find their way out. Perhaps we aren't patient enough and need to spend more time just waiting for the faeries.

Hi BeadedTail, there are many folk tales about foxgloves from several different countries. Fun to research.

SweetBay, that is what old tales tell us. Isn't it always better to be safe that sorry? I'm joking of course;)


Chloe m said...

Thanks for the information about Foxgloves, I have one pending planting, and I better get planting it soon! I don't want my kids taken. ;)

Dog_geek said...

We have no foxgloves, but we do have several large fairy rings in some of the fields - I meant to take pictures of them earlier in the year, when they were more obvious before the fields greened up. Maybe next year!

The Birdlady said...

Beautiful - I do believe in magic, and I expect miracles!

the inadvertent farmer said...

There has never been a more charming flower! Kim

Connie said...

Your foxglove photos are wonderful! They are one of my favorite cottage garden flowers. I am disappointed that a pure white one that was perennial for me for many years, didn't return this year.

joey said...

I do believe I saw faerie eyes peeking through your stunning foxgloves. Another creative post, dear Marnie ... so you:)

Gail said...

I can't believe I missed this great post! I do believe, I do believe and the foxgloves are wonderful...gail

Anonymous said...

I've always found the flowers on the Foxgloves to be so charming with their little speckled faces. ;)

Nan and =^..^= said...

So beautiful!

Valerie the Pumpkin Patch Quilter said...

I love foxgloves...they have been one of my obsessions this year. I hope mine will look like yours some day! :)

Cordwood Cabin said...

Lovely foxglove folklore! I always think they look beautiful in those overgrown beds of old, tucked in with hollyhocks and snapdragons...

Kathleen said...

I missed this post too Marnie ~ how did it sneak by me? I'm a HUGE fan of foxgloves (I must be a believer too then, right?!!) but I struggle to get them to overwinter. Doesn't matter, they are so magical, I keep trying every year. You have so many nice photos and I love the fairy poems. As I child, I would spend many an hour in the my Mom's garden trying to spot one!

walk2write said...

As usual, Marnie, you've captivated me with your choice of quotes and plant lore. Is your foxglove biennial or perennial? I grew some in Illinois and was disappointed when they bloomed beautifully one year and had nothing the next. So I planted something else in the spot. Then someone told me about some of them being biennial. Thank goodness for blogging. It's saved me a lot of time, expense, and aggravation.

Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Rosey, stealing away the children isn't very nice.

Dog Geek, I'd love to see the rings. I had some last year.

Hi Helen, I hope you get your miracles.

Kim, I agree.

Hi Connie, I'd love a white one. How lovely standing in a shady spot.


Roses and Lilacs said...

Hi Joey, your eyes are sharper than most;)

Hi Gail, I believe too.

Racquel, I never thought of foxgloves having faces. I will look more closely.

Hi Nan, thank you.

Pumpkin Patch Quilter, some years the do much better than others. This year they had plenty of rain.

Hi Cordwood, I agree. Wish I could grow hollyhocks here.

Kathleen, they are very difficult plants for me also. I plan to collect the seed and start many plants later this year. Hopefully some will survive and bloom next spring.

Walk2Write, I think these are all bienniel. Some have to be started this year if there are to be foxgloves in next year's garden.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

Marnie, I always enjoy your quotes poems and stories. I especially enjoy the stories about the wee folk. I hope you have a wonderful week too.

kd said...

There is definitely the shimmer of magic throughout your garden, especially in "the bottom"! Lovely!

Pat said...

Never knew the folk lore about Foxgloves. Enteraining stories.
Pretty tiny bells...

Think I had some in my dense shade days. Didn't do well.

Randy said...

What wonderful tales of enchantment! :-)--Randy

Q said...

I must grow foxgloves one of these years. Yours are beautiful!
The way my summer has been this year all of my gardens are wild....

oldcrow61 said...

All true about the fairies. I have them in my garden and the surrounding woods.