This plant is the result of a cross between the biennial d. purpurea and the perennial d. grandiflora. The common name is strawberry foxglove, as the flowers are always this rose pink with a buff overcast. Although perennial, it is often short lived, but can be easily grown from seed. The fairy lore mentions dancing, sleeping and the wearing of the flowers as hats, skirts and shirts. Some of the fashion forward fairies apply embroidery stitched with spider webbing to personalize their attire, especially using monograms of twirling initials.
Our little merry metal fairy sculture is sitting pretty in the gazebo. We have weeded it and swept the leaves, bark bits and little stones that always arise from the soil. It has been watered regularly and maintains that nice verdant color. Looks like we need to add a little topsoil to even it out before the big affair, we want no tripping or toe stubbing. An unhappy fairy can be a scary thing, we have heard.
In the area next to the gazebo that was a fire pit during the winter, we have placed one of our home made bowls with some flower scented water for a cooling dip on these hot muggy days. This may also attract some birds or butterflies looking for a thirst quenching sip. We will make sure that the water is changed frequently to discourage unwanted insect discovery.
wooly yarrow, Achillea tomentosa , fits the bill to a tee. Low growing and evergreen, this silver beauty offers bright yellow flowers in late spring. But the main appeal lies in the fuzzy leaves, densely matted and as soft as eiderdown. The fairies can take a nap, watch the clouds, or snuggle with their fairy children with a good story book before turning in.
leptinella, was added to the moss in the beginning of the garden making, just for some diversity. As you can see by clicking on the above photo, the moss itself is already diverse, but the ferny leaves of the leptinella, black and green leaf varieties were both planted, add another dimension to the area we call the wildflower garden.
gold spikemoss, Selaginella kraussiana. It has been planted in the garden several times without success. It now is grown in a planter that winters over in the greenhouse/sunroom and is thriving. The fairies don’t mind container gardens to frolic in, some of them even prefer the enclosure they provide.
Indian pinks, Spigelia marilandica, were a gift from ‘Claude, Da Mailman’, as our mail carrier signs his notes that are left with the plants he leaves occasionally on our doorstep. We are quite lucky to have struck up a conversation with him about gardening, something that happens whenever we are out in the front garden working. We learned he is an avid plantsman and hopes to really devote himself to his garden when he retires in a couple of years. He lives on acreage with woods and has given us several choice items. We have tried to give him quality plants also, I forget whose turn it is to gift, probably mine. This plant has flowers that are tubular in shape and about 2 inches long, Though called Indian Pink, they are bright scarlet on the outside. The scarlet opens up at the tip into a star-shape revealing a glowing yellow on the inside. This is among the favorites of the hummingbirds, and also their pals, the fairies.
In the garden, plants sprout in mysterious ways. This and other willow seedlings keep appearing in the garden even though we do not have a willow tree planted here. We did have two curly willows, which have been cut down due to a size issue, maybe the babies are related to them. We also have dappled willow, but these young tree seedling look nothing like them.
The Willow has always been known as a tree of dreaming, inspiration and enchantment. It was associated in Celtic legend with poets and spells of fascination and binding. The wind in the willows is the whisperings of a fairy in the ear of a poet. Are you reading this, offspring poets? Get thee to a willow tree! Sharing the soil with the seedling tree is a Korean tassel fern, Polystichum polyblepharum. Fern “seeds” are said to render one invisible if gathered on Midsummer’s Eve. This may be something we will need if we are to see the fairies on this magical night.
Venus’ looking glass, Triodanis perfoliata also known as Clasping Venus’ Looking-glass, formerly known as Specularia perfoliata. After exhaustive research it was learned that specularia means ‘mirror like’. After even more exhaustive research it was learned that the part of this plant that even remotely resembles a mirror are the seeds,they are slightly shiny. We believe that the fairies think themselves beautiful, and rightly so. A stem full of tiny mirrors seems appropriate for the admiration of the pointy ears so highly prized as a physical attribute by these magical beings.
A natural tussey mussey of dark reddish pink sweet william, dianthus barbatus will finish off this section of fairy mania. We will continue writing about the fae until the eve of the summer solstice has passed, along with other topics of seasonal interest.