Friday, July 09, 2010

Hollyhock Lottery

Welcome to my part of the Garden Party!

You sow zinnia seeds and you know exactly what you'll get. Ditto for sweet peas and cosmos and coreopsis. But hollyhocks from a neighbor? Unpredictable at best.

I planted the seeds and watched them grow for two years, hoping for a pleasant surprise. (Keeping my fingers crossed that one would be a clone of my long-gone favorite pink hollyhock.) Just this week they've started to bloom and I'm finding out what colors they are at long last.

First to bloom: a neon yellow/chartreuse.
Interesting color is the wrong place--it clashed with the apricot- and peach-colored roses in the same bed.

Result: a hard-hearted gardener removed it.
Then some wonderful colors appeared like a pink touched by orchid--a keeper.
and a berry red
right next to a peach hollyhock
which is an usual combination but really works (for me anyway).

Sadly the one hollyhock that was growing like a refugee from the rainforest turned out to be a color I call Dead Red
A maroon so deep that it's almost black. Those dark colors just don't appeal to me and the rhododendron underneath seems to be happy to breathe freely and gather a little sunshine now that the hollyhock is gone.

So, I'm still hoping for one nice sweet pink to make me smile, but I'm happy that most of the colors so far are playing nicely in the garden.



  1. Funny how nature is always letting us know who's the boss! Mother nature wants to be the artist.
    I have a hard time with color combination in my garden...I sometimes will go out and dead head masses just because they don't quite work with the neighboring flowers. I'm sure mother nature is cool with it though since the cut ones become better looking in arrangements for the inside of the house.
    Happy holly hocking...and may you find the pink your heart desires.

  2. I don't care what color they are, hollyhocks are one of the best friends of a gardener. Old fashioned, spiky and towering, even when their leaves start to "disintegrate", they are rather lovely in their lacy patterns. Hopefully, you will one day get the color you wish for!

  3. They are so beautiful--thank you for posting the photos! I have some hollyhock seed that my mother gave me, which I planted in a terrace bed that is next to the sidewalk and curb strip. Over time, the hollyhocks have reseeded into the curb strip! I never water then, and they just bloom away down there and look very pretty! Because I live in a rainy climate, mine get a disease called rust on the leaves, but I just try to remember to pick those off and all is well.

  4. Very beautiful! Hopefully you will see your pink one too one day!

  5. Love hollyhocks- especially the old-fashioned single varieties like yours. Sadly, my one plant died this last winter and I didn't replant. Looking at yours makes me want to now, though! Thanks for sharing at the TGP!

  6. Hollyhock lottery is right! the bees are so indicriminate in their polinating that is is impossible to guess what the seeds will produce. I have several lovely pinks, near a fringed white, so I am hoping for some fringed pink flowers, but will settle for whatever I get.