What’s the Hurry?

Foxglove Gone To Seed
Foxglove Gone To Seed

It hardly seems more than a few days ago I was complaining to Global Warming, that if he didn’t get a move on he would miss his chance completely. Well, he took my advice to heart and we have had a week or so of blisteringly hot, and at times very humid, weather.

Spring was very late this year. I think she missed the bus to the station. She did manage to catch the next one, but by the time she arrived at the station the train had left. Of course, she caught another train as soon as she could but, instead of arriving with plenty of time, she only just managed to squeeze in before summer turned up.

Summer seems to be in a tearing rush as well. We have hardly had time to admire the flowers and already they are being pushed off the ends of their stalks by the seed pods. I have a feeling that winter left unfinished business behind him when he grumped off to the southern hemisphere and all the plants want to make sure they have time to complete the programme, before he decides to come back.

We come this way every other day and last time we passed here this foxglove still had a decent compliment of flowers.

Where have all the flowers gone – indeed.

One Good Turn


This picture is the result of this Foxglove growing in a convenient position, so that I was able to stick the camera right up its nose. The really interesting thing is the little hairs, almost like a turnstile across the entrance to each flower. The bee lands on the lip of the flower and, as all bees can’t resist a new puzzle – to take back to the beehive, they become intrigued by the pattern of dots ahead of them. They push inwards, trying to discover some system or reason for the pattern. Totally flummoxed, they give up and stop for a drink at the bar, there’s no one else in though, so they don’t stay long. They make their way out, not realising that their activity has been recorded by the computer and the statistics have already calculated what the bee will purchase on its next trip to the shops.

If you want someone to blame for all this, Clarence Saunders is your man. He worked in the wholesale grocery business, selling to small grocers. He decided to solve the twin horns of the small business dilemma, high overheads and getting paid (no change there then), he tried various ideas but in 1916 he set up his most successful, Piggly Wiggly. This was a grocer with limited staff, pre-packed goods, a turnstile at the entrance with a pile of shopping baskets nearby.

And of course, a cashier at the exit.

Fit For Foxes

Foxgloves About To Open
Foxgloves About To Open

You’d think that with a name like Foxgloves there would be no issues. Obviously, some of the naughtier fairies have given the foxes these gloves. The foxes can then tippy-toe into the chicken roost, without making so much noise that they alert the residents to their presence. Fairly straightforward you might assume, but not so. It would seem that if you search hard enough, even BG –  i.e. Before Google – you can find a word in some ancient language that sounds a bit like glove. Of course, we don’t know how they pronounced these words from long dead languages and that helps in translation.

The end result is that we have Fox Glew, or Fox Music. The music created for foxes by the fairies who played the bells that are formed by the flowers hanging from the stem of the plant. Here, we have a troop, or skulk, of foxes sitting in a circle round a patch of Foxgloves. The EmCee fairy: “and now, get on down, get on down, I say. Here’s nuuumber five this week. Lets Boogie!”.

Boringly, they could also be FairyFolksGloves shortened to FolksGloves, easily transmuted in to FoxGloves. Really? How unimaginative!

By the way, the most usual misfortune that befalls children and Foxgloves, is related to the children drinking the water from the vase containing the flowers.

The message is clear. Don’t pick the flowers. Leave them for all to enjoy.