Plant of the Month: Fox­glove

Cheshire Life - - Man Of The Soil -

Fox­gloves rise from their basal rosettes this month, with the thim­ble-like flow­ers open­ing in se­quence from the bot­tom of the spike up. They do this to stay just above sur­round­ing fo­liage where the nec­tar-filled flow­ers have some shel­ter and are in the flight path of pass­ing bum­ble­bees. Clas­si­fied as bi­en­ni­als, fox­gloves – aka dig­i­talis – grow as a clump of leaves in their first sum­mer and flower the next, but if you scat­ter seeds now, be­fore the first hedgerow blooms open, you can steal a march and get them into flower for June next year. Good va­ri­eties in­clude Pam’s Choice, which has white blooms with a pur­ple throat, or the pas­tel-coloured Ex­cel­sior hy­brids.

tend to your straw­ber­ries.

Put straw or pine nee­dles be­low the swelling fruit to keep them clean and cover with a net to pro­tect them from the birds.

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