As the growing season progresses I find that some plants, even amongst dozens that may be blooming, steal the show. Lilac and Lupin in spring. Sunflowers (seeds sown late to ensure autumn flowers) and Asters in the fall and, before the bright orange Rudbeckia starts, the tall and serene majesty of Hollyhocks.
They’ve just starting blooming this past week in The County and you’ll see them in ditches and gardens everywhere. In the garden, they can provide a screen for something you want to hide. They can be a dramatic focal point to a driveway entrance. They can stand alone, in a clump, at the side of the road – a colourful distraction for Sunday drivers.
My favourite Hollyhocks are the ones I start from seed collected from friends’ and neighbours’ gardens. It just means more to see them sprouting from the soil. The waiting for the second year (because Hollyhocks are biennial and don’t bloom the first year), to see what colour they are, is worth it.
This year, I’m loving the pastel shades that have appeared for the first time. The flowers appear so delicate, yet are born on the six and seven foot stalks that make you take a second glance, make you want to walk over to appreciate them better. And provide motivation to start thinking about collecting seeds for next year.
That’s a show stopper.