Home Gardening Foxglove in the Locust Tree

Foxglove in the Locust Tree

Foxglove in the Locust Tree

Foxglove growing in an unlikely place.

foxglove in locust tree closeup
Each season brings new surprises, a changing of the guard so to speak, when petals fall, snowflakes melt or swallows sail. Last year, I noticed a sweet sprout of a surprise growing in the fork of my old black locust tree. A closer look confirmed a foxglove had taken root in the most unlikely and challenging of garden beds. Since foxgloves are biennial, I knew its floral spike would be another year away, that is if it survived its precarious perch.

This spring the sprout bolted skyward like it was rooted in the richest garden soil around. (I know there’s a life metaphor in here somewhere.) The aged bark of the locust is a gnarly foil to the soft, fuzzy green leaves and pepto-bismol pink flowers of the foxglove.

The only trouble is, my hammock is on the wrong side.


  1. I think that’s because you’re supposed to have someone take a photo with you in the hammock with the foxglove

  2. I’m reminded of the “nurse trees” in the Hoh rain forest. When they die, they fall to the forest floor and become nutrition for a new generation of trees!

  3. How gorgeous Tom! I love foxglove, and have found a few that have popped up in my gardens, likely from the winds carrying the seeds. They are most welcome.

  4. Don’t you love volunteers like this? How wonderful. Foxgloves always make me happy, and they are a bit of a challenge here in the high desert. My favorite volunteers have been a little rash of morels, erupting mysteriously in the middle of my vegetable garden. How on earth—–? Then I remembered that the previous fall I had edged my beds with old bricks donated from a friend’s demolition of an old chimney in Eugene. Aha! Morel spores must have been imported from wetter climes! The other wonderful volunteer was a clump of pine drops, which just appeared out of nowhere in the middle of my garden one year. No other pine drops in the middle of suburbia — so they must have lain dormant in the soil beneath my huge old ponderosa pines, and decided for reasons of their own, to grow for me that particular year. In the mysterious way common to pine drops, they reappeared the following year 50 feet away in a distant part of the yard. The third year, somewhere else, and then they vanished, never to be seen again. I love these little visits from nature’s emissaries — I alway wonder, as with your foxglove, what the bigger message is.


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