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Hello Hollyhocks

July 15th, 2014

Last year I started seeds for a few different types of hollyhocks.  Since they are a biennial, they didn’t bloom last year.  These kinds of plants definitely take patience.  It’s well worth the wait, they are stunning.
hollyhocks 2
When I was little, my favorite flowers were hollyhocks. There was a garden on a road we traveled frequently and they always planted hollyhocks against their simple cinderblock garage. They were stunning every year. I loved their height and simplicity, such a classic cottage garden flower.  When I first started to garden they were one of the first seeds I sowed.  I’ve been growing them for about 15 years now.
hollyhocks 3
In my Ohio garden I had double hollyhocks, I haven’t planted any of those yet. The flowers on the double hollyhocks are definitely more pronounced since they are so ruffled.  The flowers on the single hollyhocks seem to by shy and like to hide beneath the big heard shaped leaves.  I love both the single and the double flowers, though if I had to choose just one I’d probably choose the singles.
One of the lovely things about the double hollyhocks is the buds they produce. They are simple amazing to watch as they slowly open up revealing the ruffles of color beneath the green buds.
I planted three different kinds in shades of black, pink and purple.  The funny thing that I started these in a flat and the chickens overturned it.  As a result, I have hollyhocks blooming in what was the edging in front of the rock wall that holds back the foundation garden by the front door.  Who said all the tall flowers have to be in the back of the border?  They actually look quite nice here.  As you can see I have surrounded them with cardboard and mulch because they area they are in will become a perennial border.  I think they will fit right in with a few other plants at their feet.  Behind them I’m thinking of planting a climbing rose to scramble up the porch wall and an ‘Annabelle’ Hydrangea to add big blooms of white.
‘The Watchman’ is one of my favorite colors when it comes to hollyhocks, it’s a deep purple that looks black. This year they are really dark black, the ones I had back in Ohio were more purple.  I’ve grown them for many year and yet each summer I’m stunned by their velvety black blossoms.  You really can’t walk by the plant without stopping to admire it’s blooms.
hollyhocks 1
Growing hollyhocks from seed is so easy, here’s my post on the easy way to start them. It does require patient since you have to wait two years before being rewarded with beautiful flowers.  Unfortunately not many people seem to grow them any more, perhaps it’s because leaf miners and Japanese beetles love their leaves.  Even in their tattered eaten state they are just as beautiful.  I highly recommend adding a few to your garden, you definitely won’t regret it.

Do you have any flowers you remember noticing when you were a kid? Do you grow them in your garden? 

3 Comments to “Hello Hollyhocks”
  1. Nebraska Dave on July 15, 2014 at 8:42 am

    Susy, my Mom was great for gardening and having flower gardens. When we moved into town from the country, we moved into a fixer upper house. We worked on the house and yard all summer before actually moving. The outside yards which were many included a grape arbor, a rock garden with fish pond and bridge, a turn around driveway, and a small yard man’s house. There was a total of five different yard areas with an additional 1 1/2 acres behind the grass yard areas. The trees were gloriously old with lumps and bumps made for climbing. All that to say that the five yards were filled with flower beds. Flowers every where but no yard man to nurture their existence. Being pre teen at the time yard care and maintenance was not on the ToDo list. I would love to re live those years just to experience the flowers and plants that were in those yards.

    My favorite flowers over the years have been my grandmother’s hollyhocks, Black-eyed Susan, Iris, Peonies, Tulips, Daffodils, and Crocus. I have yet to be able to grow with any success Hollyhocks or Black-eyed Susan. I finally gave up but you are inspiring me to try again. If I remember right, the Hollyhocks self seed every year and are not a root propagation kind of plant. I did discover that there are two kinds of Black-eyed Susan and one is annual. I discovered that fact after I gave up trying to grow them and suspect that might have been the problem.

    Have a great flowering day at the Maine homestead.

    Reply to Nebraska Dave's comment

  2. Colleen on July 17, 2014 at 12:29 am

    As a child my grandmother was my inspiration to learn about gardening. She grew lots of flowers in her garden, sweet peas, snapdragons, iris, daisy, roses, hydrangea, carnation, tulips, forget-me-nots, daffodils, violas, peonies, and some of her favorites, dahlias, all of which I now grow in my own gardens.

    Thanks for sharing photos of your beautiful hollyhocks. I must try to grow some!

    Reply to Colleen's comment

  3. Adriana Hashinaga on July 24, 2014 at 7:43 am

    Growing up in Peru and Brasil I remember my mom growing beautiful orchids. When my husband and I bought our first house we found a backyard full of lovely old fashioned hollyhocks and have loved growing them ever since. I save seeds from them when we moved to VT. A few years ago, I started growing a beautiful pale yellow from seeds I saved from a house on Sutton Island in Maine. I can send you some seeds later on if you are interested.

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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