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Oh dear, isn't a school about educating children? Many native plants have some levels of toxicity - I grew up in the countryside and we were taught from a young age which plants we should not eat and which we could suck the nectar from (primroses and cowslips). We went on Nature Walks where we were shown what was what. We had holly and ivy to decorate the school at Christmas, but they are toxic, and picked bunches of daffodils in the spring, but they're toxic too.
Sorry, that's probably not very helpful - but education is not about wrapping children in cotton wool - and I know it's not your fault - sorry.
Hiya reb - another foxglove lover here - and I've been loving them since I was three and my granny showed me how to put them on my fingers and run around being a fairy (fox gloves = fairy folk's gloves). She would then call me indoors to eat my lunch, and I probably didn't wash my hands and probably neither had she. Amazingly enough she lived to 89 and I'm retiring later this year (I talk about it quite a lot - you'll probably get bored with it before I do). We have foxgloves popping up all over the place in this garden, plus there are the posh ones I sow from seed. We have them pop up in the veg plot - some I've transplanted elsewhere and some I've left and they're just coming into flower amongst the broad beans and they look lovely (and they attract the bees to pollenate the beans). I've got some in the herb bed too, but believe it or not we can tell the difference so we don't pick them and put them in our soup.
The way some people go on about poisonous plants it's amazing the human race is still here!
You'll all be fine - but tell your teenagers that if they don't pick their clothes up off the floor and put them in the washing bin, you'll make them some Foxglove Soup
And that gave me an idea, so I googled Thompson & Morgan and mimulus, and look what they stock http://www.thompson-morgan.com/flowers/flower-plants/perennial-and-biennial-plants/mimulus-x-hybridus-magic-rainbow/p4101TM
Not quite what I was thinking of, and not quite what we have here masquerading as a harebell, but what do you think? I think we might have a second cousin here http://www.interseeds.co.uk/mimulus-bounty-red-25-seeds-10572-p.asp
If you click on the picture you can zoom in. Not sure about their description of it as being yellow tho'
I seem to remember quite a smallish mimulus with similar leaves - I'm going to ask Mr Google
Not many things flower in the winter - some shrubs do but they cost a bit more - but you can soon start looking at some bulb catalogues and choosing daffs, narcissus, crocus etc to plant in Sept/Oct ready to flower from February onwards. Then you can plant tulip bulbs in Nov and Dec.
Coleus are really easy to grow from seeds, even for a beginner (don't want to sound patronising, but I grew them every year as a young child, potted them on and sold them to raise pocket money). You can get packets of mixed seeds quite cheaply, then as they grow you can choose the colours and patterns you like best, keep them and then sell/give away/swap the others with other gardeners.
or there are some suppliers in the UK who supply individual colours/types http://www.mr-fothergills.co.uk/catalogue/flower-seed/page/4/range/C?gclid=COzEyNXB0rcCFYTJtAodliAAsQ
There are suppliers in the USA who sell some amazing varieties but I don't know whether they ship to the UK http://www.swallowtailgardenseeds.com/annuals/coleus.html
You could sow some now, they grow quite quickly, but they are not hardy - you must over-winter them indoors in warm conditions. They are not long lived plants but if you take cuttings every year from your favourite plants you can keep propogating them. Such fun
I think its only a definite maybe ....
Mimulus? of some sort ....
Grey squirrels, definitely - they do it to the feeders at my workplace - the only way I can keep them away from the feeders is to hang them by long wires from high branches of the trees, far enough from other trees and bushes to make it impossible for them to jump onto them - doesn't stop them trying tho'
The piece that was bitten out might have happened after the feeder was on the ground - do you have badgers in the neighbourhood?