In this worst of all possible gardening years some plants appear to have taken advantage. Foxgloves have seeded themselves everywhere, and are now in flower. I’ve never seen so many. If they weren’t such a common wild flower, I would be nurturing them carefully because they make for wonderful patches of colour just when the June flowers are going past their best. As it is, I ruthlessly pull the seedlings out of the borders without a second thought and throw them on the compost heap.
The guide marks for the bumble bees give the flower its interest. In a bee’s vision the blotches may line up perfectly, but even with human eyes you can see the landing pad and the surrounding dots which help the bee focus on the right spot. Each flower has a slightly different pattern – is this random, or is it a sophisticated way to attract short-sighted bees as well as the normal ones?
sophisticated version of the common yellow flag iris, iris pseudacorus. It’s marginally less robust as well, which is fine by me, as the wild yellow version forms large clumps very rapidly – whereas this is more discreet.
My favourite is iris laevigata, especially at this tightly-furled stage. It’s a Japanese iris, and is happiest growing with its roots in water. It has the best blue of all the big bog irises, but I find the full flower fractionally out of proportion to the rest of the plant. A mere quibble I know.
And finally, iris chrysographes, the one iris no one should be without, because the deep velvety purple-black is not only striking in its own right, but usefully sets off almost every other colour you can grow it against. The RHS says it needs well-drained soil, but if my experience is anything to go by, this is nonsense. I grow it in everything from fertile loam to sodden yellow clay. Providing you have a tinge of acid in the soil, it will do just fine.