Vegetable Garden

One little “weed”

May 16, 2012

I referred to my one little “weed” in my last video blog but if you missed it, here it is…

Foxglove - Digitalis purpurea

Any ideas? I hadn’t a clue what it was when I first spotted it growing in my ‘roots’ bed. It was certainly nothing I’d ever planted or seen growing in my veg beds before.

I was intrigued – what could this stray little plant be? I didn’t pull it out as I had been doing all morning with the creeping buttercups and dandelions.

I let it be until it had been identified as a friend or foe.

Foxglove - Digitalis purpurea leavesI racked my brain – what had been growing in this patch in previous years? Nothing we’d ever planted of that I was certain. So I headed indoors with a cup of tea, fired up the PC and spent a half hour or so googling “weed” images but came up a blank. Hmmm dilemma, what to do now? Thank goodness for friendly gardeners – I sent off a picture to a gardening guru friend for some professional help – they were thrown too given it’s location. However, a couple of days later a simple text reply came back and I laughed, as no doubt they had too…

Haha! How could I have missed it? My little ‘weed’ was none other than a foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)! These biannual plants are currently popping up all around our hedgerows but I hadn’t dreamed of or expected to find one in my veg patch and it had me completely thrown.

Foxglove flower

Image courtesy of foxglovelane.com

Foxgloves are such pretty plants, the bees love them and as Ralph Waldo Emerson said

“What is a Weed? A plant who’s virtues have never been discovered”

Well in this case the foxglove’s virtues have most definitely been discovered – both ornamental and medicinally. I have no plans to use it for the later – extracts from it are used to treat heart conditions making it toxic to those of us who aren’t chemists. I love to see flowers growing in vegetable gardens though – from nasturtiums to marigolds, Calendula to borage. They attract insects and give vegetable gardens character and colour. My foxglove will be just another addition – albeit a stunning one.

“A weed is just a flower growing in the wrong place”

So as I’ve decided that all the stray foxgloves are staying exactly where nature intended them to be, that now puts them firmly in the flower category …

Do you have a favourite flower growing in your garden that others might classify as a weed?

5 Comments

  • Reply Foxglove Lane May 16, 2012 at 10:26 pm

    Hehe, I always leave them I think they are our most spectacular wild flower. This year I can see a huge number of them coming up on the lane, they will flower in June, magnificently as always. Lovely post Dee:~)

    • Reply greensideupveg May 18, 2012 at 5:55 pm

      Thanks Catherine. Am so glad I didn’t just pull it out – always pays to hold a breath before we make those snap decisions. Looking forward to seeing it and the others popping up alongside my polytunnel flower now 🙂

  • Reply La Vie en Rose May 18, 2012 at 4:42 pm

    When I saw it I thought it was a foxglove! I ADORE them, I love the way they pop up all over the place – like your veg patch!! They are just starting to come out in my garden, in the wild hedge boundary. Gorgeous!

  • Reply Ena Ronayne (@plantmad) May 19, 2012 at 12:03 am

    only seeing this now Dee otherwise would have advised. Foxgloves are one of my favourite ‘weeds’ and currently looking very smart amongst my libertias and grasses in my front garden

    • Reply greensideupveg May 20, 2012 at 9:56 am

      I just love seeing them in the hedgerows Ena and am delighted some have decided to randomly set up home in my garden!

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