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‘The Watchman’ Hollyhock

July 9th, 2010

Last year I purchase some seeds from Botanical Interests for ‘The Watchman’ Hollyhock. I mean how can you not want to grow a flower in your garden described as “towers of black satin”. Thomas Jefferson grew these in his gardens at Monticello, and now that I have one blooming I can clearly see why.

Last year I attempted to start the seeds, but didn’t get any germination or so I thought. I emptied the containers that contained the seeds into the front flowerbed and I noticed a week or two that one of the hollyhocks was black. I guess one of them germinated sometime last summer. You may remember that I used the floating method, which worked wonderfully. I was able to get 4 of the seeds to germinate. That means I’ll have more of these in my garden next summer (hollyhocks rarely bloom the same year they’re started unless they’re started very early).

This is how ‘The Watchman’ is described: From a distance, the dark color of The Watchman is as black as the moonless night sky, but on closer inspection you can see its rich purplish burgundy cast. In 1629, John Parkinson described black hollyhocks as being of a dark red like black blood. Thomas Jefferson grew them at his Monticello estate and loved them nearly as much as he did his roses. Seductive towers of flowers for bees and butterflies, they make an excellent backdrop for pink, red, yellow, or white flowers, and fences. (Botanical Interests)

These dark blooms will be a wonderful addition to my front foundation border. I think they’ll look particularity wonderful with my greenish white ‘Annabelle’ hydrangea and all the other pink and purple flowers that dominate this space.

Do you have any dark flowers in your garden?

Reading & Watching

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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.