Thursday, April 26, 2012

Foxgloves in the Rain

Thursday, April 26, 2012
Isabella/Susan reporting:

Just to prove that yes, the weather forecast was sadly right, and it did rain today here in Colonial Williamsburg. But even that couldn't dampen the spectacular colors of these foxgloves - a quintissential flower for old-fashioned flower gardens.

Why the name foxgloves? Here are some interesting suggestions from English botany: or Coloured figures of British plants, by Sir James Edward Smith, James Sowerby, & George Shaw (1814):

"...the name foxglove is a very ancient one and exists in a list of plants as old as the time of Edward III. The 'folks' of our ancestors were the fairies and nothing is more likely than that the pretty coloured bells of the plant would be designated 'folksgloves,' afterwards, 'foxglove.' In Wales it is declared to be a favourite lurking-place of the fairies, who are said to occasion a snapping sound when children, holding one end of the bell, suddenly strike the other on the hand to hear the clap of fairy thunder, with which the indignant fairy makes her escape from her injured retreat. In south Scotland it is called 'bloody fingers' more northward, 'deadman's bells' whilst in Wales it is known as 'fairy-folks-fingers' or 'lambs-tongue-leave'."


Glamour Drops said...

Such a curious name, which only adds to the charm of these gorgeous flowers. I have them in the white version in my front garden, and they flower for weeks and weeks in early summer. Stunning. Especially at twilight, when their moody spikes are particularly enchanting.

Laurel Ann (Austenprose) said...

Love foxgloves. I planted a strawberry color this year. Thanks for the historical info on the name.

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