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.


Nepeta deserves a post all its own. There isn't a harder working plant in my garden. It performs in heavy clay and in the gravel garden in horrible, dry conditions. I don't divide it often so some of my clumps are almost 4 feet in width but it's easy to shear back if it gets out of bounds. It self seeds a little in my garden. I have clumps between the stones in my wall which is very attractive. Self seeding isn't a problem and I actually wish it would seed more. Nepeta smothers any weeds that come within its reach so it makes my life a lot easier.

It begins blooming about mid-spring and continues all summer, all the while alive with bees and cabbage butterflies. A perfect plant for concealing the ugly feet of rose bushes, hiding the remains of spring bulbs or cascading over walls. I wouldn't be without its pools of hazy blue in my gardens.

The photos below are Walkers Low.

I can identify with Donna Carroll Batton, the author of this cute poem.

That Time Again

The floors need scrubbing, waxing too
This quick, once-over, just won't do

Quickly rushed through wash and dry
The ironing is piled high

The dinner's late, half-cooked again
I haven't baked since who knows when

The dust is gathering 'neath the bed
And cobwebs dangle overhead

By now you think I'm one, big flop
Among the ranks of pail and mop

But this just happens once a year
When garden planting time is here