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For foxgloves next spring....

For foxgloves next spring . . . For color in a shady spot, few plants can match the stately foxgloves (Digitalis). If you'd like to have some blooming next spring and summer, this is the time to put out plants. Most nurseries offer foxgloves in sixpacks now.

Foxgloves are generally biennials (they bloom in their second year from seed, then die), but they self-sow so readily that they'll soon be permanent residents in your garden.

Common foxglove (D. purpurea) comes in a range of sizes, from towering old-fashioned kinds to ones no taller than 3 feet. Colors range from pale pink and white through apricot, rose, and purple. The bell-like blooms have attractive markings of a contrasting color inside.

The tallest strain, Shirley, reaches 6 feet. For especially full-flowered spikes about 5 feet tall, choose the Excelsior strain, shown above.

In flower beds or perennial borders, try the Excelsior strain. In more natural situations--woodland or roadside gardens, for instance--Shirley looks better.

You might also want to experiment with other foxgloves, such as yellow foxglove (D. grandiflora). Sometimes a perennial, it has blooms marked with brown on spikes that reach 2 to 3 feet high. A dwarf variety, 'Temple Bells', reaches only 12 to 15 inches tall.

Foxgloves prefer rich soil and do well in areas that get full to light shade.

If you can't find the kinds you want at your local nursery, check mail-order nurseries. One that offers a wide selection is Thompson & Morgan, Box 1308, Jackson, N.J. 08527; catalog free.
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Date:Jul 1, 1988
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