Foxgloves forever

I planted a bunch of foxgloves seeds  last year, and they proved a big hit with visiting bees when they blossomed in my back garden this summer. My flowers were a bit pampered – the were sprouted in a greenhouse, sheltered from the worst of the winter weather, and planted in a sheltered part of my garden in the city.

The foxgloves growing on Mweelrea have a harder life. The highest mountain in Connacht is a rugged and exposed spot, and a testing environment for any wildlife. Two weeks ago, a group of us from the Galway Walking Club hike the mountain and descended by the Ramp, a steep valley path overlooked by huge cliffs straight from Lord of the Rings. The Ramp is a breath-taking environment at any time, but the presence of hundreds of foxgloves in full flower just added to the magical quality of the hike. Unlike my tall back-garden foxgloves (one of them has reached nearly two metres in height), the foxgloves in the mountain are smaller. They were also still in the middle of their flowering cycle, whereas my city flowers have disappeared, to be replaced by seed pods.

Descending the Ramp on Mweelrea.