The Foxgloves Return


It’s been a while since I’ve posted about Foxgloves. But today I went for a walk in the field where this blog all began with Esme’s Adventure with Foxgloves.

The foxgloves are out in force. Even more so than last year. They’re everywhere and they’re beautiful.

I thought I’d reached a point of coping with it all. I make jokes. I’m flippant. 

Sometimes people comment about how relaxed I am about it. I’m not. Beneath the surface I’m traumatised and frightened. The What-Ifs still haunt me. But less often than before.

This morning has made me somber.

Esme was with me on the wander. I held her hand and pointed at the flowers.

“Can I touch them?” I asked her.

“Yes.” She said, “Beautiful flowers.”

“Beautiful flowers, but they make you very sick. Don’t touch.” She nodded as though she understood. 

We came to another clump, “Can I touch these ones?”

“Yes.” She said firmly.

“No,” I repeated, “They make you sick. Ouch. Don’t touch.”

She nodded again.

Every time I asked if I could touch them, she said yes, and I despaired.

But she’s still only two. My tiny idiot is still small.

I’ve kept on top of the encroaching foxgloves in the garden. It hasn’t been easy. But they’re under my control now.

I don’t want to control nature. I don’t want to control the beautiful wildflowers in the field. I don’t want the bumble bees to stop bumbling into them. I don’t want the caterpillars to move on. I want it all to carry on as it did before it changed my world.

I want my tiny idiot to stick to her evolutionary programming that tells us not to eat things that taste that bitter.

But she’s decided to take a different path, and I’m going to have to parent the child in front of me.

As for her, she is great. She’s wonderful and perfect and infuriating.

It’s a bank holiday weekend, and we’re going to spend it outside, as so many will.

Can I just make one small request? Could you have one quick double check around the garden if you do have small children. Just a casual glance. 

If you’re planting foxgloves, I don’t blame you, they’re gorgeous, then just take a moment to think about putting them somewhere small children can’t get to them. 

Remind your children not to eat things they find outside. Don’t assume they remember you saying it last year, like I did.


Author: Rhi

Writer, poet, playwright and blogger, and as of three years ago, diagnosed as autistic too. Just one more label to add to the multitude.

12 thoughts on “The Foxgloves Return”

  1. I’m so glad I stumbled across your blog today. I have been slightly obsessed with foxgloves for years and have them popping up all over the garden and letting them grow wherever they sprout, refusing to thin them out or move them. I also have a 10 month old baby who I enjoy watching crawling around the garden and interacting with everything. He was stood up against and large pot and pulling the leaves off an hydrangea plant a few days ago, the same pot which has a foxglove or 2 inside. I knew they were poisonous but thought the worst they could do was give an upset stomach so reading your previous post has left me feeling a bit numb and quite guilty. He’s at an age where absolutely everything goes in his mouth… even if he doesn’t like the taste he will often have a 2nd go just to make sure!

    Thank you for taking the time to share your story and I’m glad Esme is OK. I’m off to shift dozens of foxgloves to the back of the border and will admire them with the baby out of harms way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Gary, it’s for exactly this reason that I decided to start the blog. It was only when I realised that people had no idea just how dangerous they were, that I thought “ok, this might be painful, but I need to share this”.

      Foxgloves are beautiful and I’m still a big fan of them. The bees love them too. We have some in the hedgerows (behind a fence).

      I’m pleased to report that Esme can now recognise them just by their leaves and tells me to be careful and not eat them. She’s finally out the other side of that dangerous stage.

      Foxgloves are hardy, and they’ll happily spread again one day, when children are older.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment. It makes it all worthwhile.


  2. Hi Rhi, I’ve just been reading your blog. I’m pleased to hear Esme has recovered after eating foxglove leaves.
    A few years ago I went round to see a friend I hadn’t seen for a while, and took round some beers. We were just chatting about plants; he has an interest in herbs. He started to tell me that he thought he could use foxglove leaves to stimulate his heart. At this point, I could hardly believe what he was telling me. He had taken two leaves a night for a week, though never felt any I’ll effects. On the Saturday night he decided to binge on some leaves, later spending the night throwing up. In the morning he took himself to the local hospital. After a severe telling off, he was sent by ambulance to another hospital and was kept there for about three days. He was in his early 40s when this happened.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow. Thanks for sharing, Dunc. I’m so glad he got to hospital before it was all too late. Terrifying! I’ve noticed a few articles online that talk about the benefits, without pointing out (or really stressing!) just how poisonous they are.

      They’re amazing plants, with amazing properties. They’re beautiful and useful. But unprocessed they’re very dangerous.

      So pleased your story has a happy ending too!


  3. Yeah, I’ve forgotten to make it clear – good you mentioned it in your reply – it will be done entirely on a non-profit basis. If the opposite had been the case, there would have been many more materials and translations ( But it is not. I try to do my best investing my free time and language skills to make a difference, though I am fully aware of how minuscule it is. I can’t deny that reading your blog and translating the dialogue is twice beneficial to myself, as I get a closer look at every thought trying to find a suitable equivalent in a language that in some ways follow a logic, that is slightly different to that of English)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Translation is enormously difficult! I love the way different languages have different words for different concepts that don’t properly translate. It’s a real skill to get it somewhere close.


  4. Hello, Rhi. As I was skimming through some articles on Asperger’s Syndrome on the Net, I came across your imaginary (probably not that much though) dialogue between a neurotypical person and an aspie here: I have to admit that it is extremely well-written, you have a rare gift of pinning down the thoughts that are racing through the mind of many an Aspie again and again, but few are those who have an ability of coining them so well. There is an obvious lack of materials that are less academic than Atwood volumes and more practical and personal than loosely formulated survival guidelines. It makes your contribution all the more valuable, thank you again. I have created an account on WordPress with the sole purpose of asking you whether you find it acceptable if I, with your permission, preserving the copyright and a link to the original source, translate the above-mentioned material into Russian to be uploaded on, a web-site that (as you easily can deduce from the name) is dedicated to people’s awareness of disorders on the autistic spectrum. The materials on the subject in Russian are unfortunately scarce and few, I would be glad if I could share your view of things with those who do not speak English well enough to be able to read it on your blog. Sincerely yours, AJM


    1. Hello AJM, so long as there is a link to my blog and I am recognised as the author, with you as translator, then I am happy for you to reproduce the article on a non-profit basis.

      Thank you for your kind words. I very much appreciate them.



      1. Thank you ever so much once again! Yes, I will be the one to translate it. If you don’t mind, I could send you a link to the entry on (as soon as they upload the translation), so that you can see the final result for yourself. Shall they refer your as Rhi or is there another name/nickname you would like to appear under instead (apart from the URL-link)? And – just a little question, if I may. When you write about a “bead mat”, what is it exactly? Is it a big piece of material with velvety texture that you carry around or do you cut it into tiny stripes or pieces so you can touch it unnoticed when you need to ground or calm yourself? Thanks in advance, AJM


      2. Rhi is fine.

        A beadmat is several rows of beads, more like jewellery than fabric. But you could say fabric instead, since I use that too 🙂


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