Death-trap Corner

In my post on Sunday, After the Storm…, I christened a slightly wild and unkempt area of the garden ‘Death-trap Corner’.  It earned its name due to several toxic plant species, a few stingers, lots of spikes and spines, and some spring-loaded rose snares.

Well reader, such is my dedication to this blog, I braved the area again to bring you this post.

First come the foxgloves, Digitalis purpurea ‘Excelsior’, which have self-seeded liberally.  They take on a few different colours: pink, pale lilac, white and buttermilk.  The speckles at the throat of foxgloves are to attract bees and other pollinators, and they are never without a buzzing little visitor.  Foxgloves waggle all day long.


The peony here was rescued from near smothering this year.  It was being hemmed in on the one side by Rosa ‘Royal Jubilee’ (GLORY BE, what a rose this is.  The street party is being set up as we speak!) and on the other by the Gallica rose ‘Charles de Mills’.  Charles has been brutally pegged down, and seems to be enjoying his new prostate position, as he too is about to burst into flower.  In fact here is the first one:

Gallica rose ‘Charles de Mills’

There is another peony, ‘White Charm’ which is ridiculously beautiful.  Here is the first tantalising peep, from behind silken sheets:


And then full-on peony explosion:


It is loaded with buds.  When it first emerges, the white petaloids (botanical term for jaggedy little petals at the centre) are more cream.  They bleach to pure white in the sun.  I love the ribbons of pink.  It is also fragrant.


And yes I did get stung on the bum by the nettles as I leaned over (in shorts) to take this photo.

Nettles, for those in the Southern hemisphere, have tiny little prickles along the edge of their serrated leaves, that give a little sting if you brush past them.  I must be getting old and leathery, because they really don’t bother me that much any more.  The after-tingle is almost pleasant.  But I can remember being stung to tears as a child.

Stephen tells me that his gran told him that getting stung by nettles keeps arthritis at bay.  So there’s a bright side to everything.


In Death-trap Corner there are also opium poppies, Papaver orientale ‘Allegro’.  But I cannot for the life of me capture their colour accurately.  The sun shines through their pleated petals and gives a lovely variation of tone, but the camera just cancels out this subtlety to give a blanket of uniform orange.  So I am snubbing them.

Let’s make do with a couple more foxglove pics.  The next one is towering over my head.



Excuse me but that sun-lounger is calling me now.  Where is my book?  My sunglasses?  My iced tea?

Do you have a ‘Death-trap Corner’ in your garden?  I would love to hear your horror stories!

My aim on this site is to share the sense of wonder I get from gardening and being outdoors. 

If you would like to join the joy, click on the ‘Follow’ button at the end of this post. You will receive an email each time I post a little pop of wonder. 

30 Comments Add yours

  1. Emma Cownie says:

    What a fab garden you have – peonies are great value so big and colourful. I wonder if that’s true about nettles, perhaps we should all be drinking nettle tea?

  2. rogerandlis says:

    Well, it might be Death-trap Corner but it’s still full of beauty and utter charm, Ali – and the butterflies will enjoy the nettles! What gorgeous peonies and roses you have and those foxgloves are fantastic. Our personal corner of doom has a classic metal bedstead-and-bits-of-old-freezer fence (previous owner didn’t waste a thing) and is a steep area of buried rubble. Yuk! It would take several years of work and tons of topsoil to sort out so instead we’re knocking back the brambles and encouraging the wildflowers – foxgloves included – to move in and to take over. So far, so good! It’s an area we can pretty much ignore now which is great because I agree a person needs their sun lounger time . . . 🙂

    1. Ali says:

      Yes, we do need to do a certain amount of living with what we’ve got, and letting nature take over with some areas of the garden, don’t we?

  3. janesmudgeegarden says:

    We have nettles here too! When we had our olive farm we had a Death Trap area under some trees where nettles grew in expansive abundance, if there’s such a thing. I pulled them all out by hand- glove covered of course- but suffered stinging wrists many times where the gloves parted company with my sleeves. Your death trap corner looks really lovely.

    1. Ali says:

      I can live with a few brambles and nettles for that authentic cottage garden look!

  4. Tish Farrell says:

    That first shot is a treasure – foxgloves and white peony. Often wonder why roses have to be quite so mean at close quarters. It quite put me off having them for a time.

  5. Oh this did make me laugh Ali! Death trap corner looks stunning and haven’t the Dow gloves done well this year? Mine are huge too! That peony….sigh

    1. Ali says:

      A peony has done its job if it makes you sigh!

  6. I love your garden Ali. It does look inviting and that padded sun lounger…

    1. Ali says:

      I do struggle to actually sit down for long, but sometimes I force myself!

  7. pommepal says:

    Yes you definitely need to take time in the sun lounger to enjoy the roses and all the other beauties you have in all corners of your garden

  8. I only have a small garden at the moment and have just bought two foxgloves. The lovely peachy one and the lilac one. I love them sat out on my decking just outside my kitchen window. They give a lovely bit of height to the area.

    1. Ali says:

      They’re really useful for that. I have some peachy ones to grow from seed – I love them.

  9. I’ve got a pretty similar shady corner. Foxgloves, lily of the valley and brambles for added spikes.

  10. Heyjude says:

    My wild spot is full of brambles as well as nettles. But I am told it is good to leave places for nature to enjoy. If only I could encourage the wild foxgloves to set up home there. I now have peony envy – that ‘White Charm’ is a beauty! And as someone who is definitely suffering from arthritis in this humid weather perhaps I should start sticking my hands in the nettles – or are you supposed to make nettle soup?

      1. Heyjude says:

        Well I got stung this morning pulling babies out of the gravel – not sure that would cure much though. I shall have a read of the article, thank you for the link.

  11. Angel says:

    Lol the artichokes at the allotment always get me!!!

    1. Ali says:

      Artichokes are quite solid, aren’t they? We have never grown globe artichokes, only Jerusalem artichokes. With unfortunate consequences. I’ve limited Stevie to two plants this year.

  12. Oh my goodness I can see a corner of what I assume is your greenhouse and it looks terribly glamorous, any chance on a post letting us tour that? Also that peony blew me away. I know this will sound odd but it almost looks fake with all that glorious colour and texture, what a stunner!

    1. Ali says:

      I can’t take any credit for the contents of the greenhouse, but yes, I will write a post about the greenhouse and the veg garden – was just thinking about that this morning!

  13. Eliza Waters says:

    I am not fond of nettles, but I hear they are superfood. Maybe I ought to see if grabbing a handful will help my aching joints?
    Your peonies and roses are so gorgeous – I love the mixed color peony the best.

    1. Ali says:

      It is one of my favourites. I have two others with mingled centres, ‘Gay Paree’ and ‘Nellie Shaylor’, but ‘White Cap’ is my favourite.

  14. Clare Pooley says:

    We don’t have just one nettle and bramble spot we have lots, especially since our building work started we haven’t been able to get to certain areas of the garden. I have rheumatoid and osteo arthritis and I can recommend a good nettle sting to ease the discomfort of joint pain. Some nettles do seem to be stronger than others and I also remember crying with pain when I was stung as a little girl.

    1. Ali says:

      Thanks Clare, that is good to know! I’ve always felt the stings get weaker later in the summer (or rather that young fresh nettles have a more powerful sting) – wonder if this is right?

      1. Clare Pooley says:

        I am sure that is right!

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