Monday, May 31, 2010

It poured with rain this morning.  The sky lowered and the clouds opened up and down it came!  The wind rose and the power went out for a short time.

About two hours later the clouds disappeared, the sun shone, the temperature was about 62 degrees Fahrenheit and the breeze, while very strong, was actually warm!

The digitalis is blooming.  I've always liked foxgloves and all the ones growing in our garden are volunteers.  Most years I save seeds and scatter them about where I'd like new plants to grow.  That doesn't always work out, as every gardener knows.  Plants will grow best where they want to, not necessarily where you want them to!

It was too windy for the bees to discover this group of foxgloves.  They really relish them, burrowing way down inside the flower.

Inside the flower the stamens are coated heavily with pollen and the bee, in search of the nectar, brushes up against the pollen and carries it to the next foxglove flower.

Some of the pollen from the first flower sticks to the pistils of the second flower and presto!

The bee gets nectar and pollen to feed the young bees to carry on the colony.  The flower is pollinated, sets seed, and makes new flowers in a year or so (digitalis is a biennial).  We have the beautiful flowers and the wonderful honey.  Thank you, little sweet bee and pretty flower.

This cutaway view shows the inside of the flower.  You can easily see the pollen treasure.  Do you think the purple spots are there to lead the bees inside?

Digitalis purpurea grows very well in temperate marine climates.  It is poisonous and before flowering it may be mistaken for other, edible,  plants.

Several years ago a group of garden club members made a tea of what they believed was comfrey.  In actuality is was digitalis and, alas, some members of the club sickened and died from the effects of digitalis's cardiac stimulating properties.

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