Cuttings

Dear Foxgloves,

ILLUSTRATION BY CHELSEA PETERS

In truth, it was your name that first I fell in love with. Foxgloves—so utterly, gloriously Beatrix Potteresque! How could I but be enchanted by such a title? Indeed, if any woodland creature wore gloves, it would surely be the stylish Vulpes vulpes. True, your flowers (flowerlets?) are far too small for fox paws, but never mind the size discrepancy—the name is perfect. One simply cannot love pinks or poppies, petunias or coneflowers the way that one can love a flower called foxglove.

And you yourself are all your name promises: all elegance and old English charm, with just a touch of fairytale enchantment. I fully expect to find a pair of dapper field mice sipping tea beneath foxglove parasols on drowsy summer mornings, he in his top hat and monocle, she in her pearls and lace. And though they will bow and curtsy and vanish in a scurry when they see me, you will know, and I will know, and we will share this little garden secret.

In confidence I’ll share with you that I did wonder. I did waver. Was it wise to place a poisonous plant so near the mild-mannered kitchen herbs? Silliness, I know, but it did seem somehow wrong. But in the end, as you now know, it was not enough to stop me. (So you and I will share this, too, this tiny secret scandal.) It was love, after all. (And you were an heirloom!) (And hardy, too!) Truly, you are no insipid beauty. Even now, the rest of the garden frosted, snow dusted, and faded away, you stand in wondrous, verdant defiance. I cannot wait for next Summer’s gorgeous, stately spires (and—wink—the arrival of the well-dressed mice!).

—By Rachel Lancashire of Ennismore, Ontario.


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