When I read the description: “palest pink, with a hint of warm champagne color” is how I remember it – I had to have it.
Yet, as with so many kinds of desire, I found that when I’d realized my dream, it came with a whimper, and not a bang. The difference between D. purpurea ‘Champagne’ and D. purpurea is detectable by the naked eye, but only just.
While I loved the grouping of the pink(ish) foxglove with rose ‘Sharifa Asma’, and the beautiful vining Dioscorea batatas (pictured at the top of the page), I just wasn’t convinced that this particular foxglove looked all that different from the wild type.
And in this one, a more normal wild version of foxglove is on the left, while the paler ‘Champagne’ is on the right. Trouble is – they came from the same packet of seed. I didn’t plant any plain wild purpureas there, and made a point of planting seedlings into separate containers by type. Since D. purpurea seems to sport a lot, it’s entirely possible that one of the seedlings just reverted back to wild type. It’s also possible that other seedlings might have been more markedly different from the wild-type, more like the description of my dreams.
But I have too small a garden to get really scientific about this, and so I just struck ‘Champagne’ from my roster. I haven’t planted it since.
This year, I planted a Digitalis purpurea ssp. ‘Heywoodii’ (Silver Fox and Pink Champagne are two of its cultivar names – could this be the very same seed under another name?). I got the seeds from J.L. Hudson. They are silver-down-leaved hardy biennials from southern Portugal, where it grows on granite outcroppings. I’m guessing these outcroppings might be in the mountains, because this digitalis is short: about 30″ tall. (So maybe it is a different kind of seed; my ‘Champagne’ grew at least 5 feet tall.) Some sources say D. p. ‘Heywoodii’ has a tendency to go perennial, which always attracts me. The flowers are crowded in loose spikes and the color, says the seed packet, is “creamy white blushed pink”. Hope springs eternal.
Next post: Strawberry foxglove. Not as big a deal as I’d hoped.