An e-mail last week from my dad on Vancouver Island had a photo attached of his gigantic Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus syriacus) – its first flower had opened, a lovely pure white with a burgundy red eye. Three days ago my own Rose of Sharon bloomed for the first time ever, and it’s remarkably similar to my dad’s! My still tiny shrub was purchased at a yard sale last spring – it looks to have a dozen or so flower buds – I’m looking forward to future years when it’ll be as large as the one in B.C. – I’ve heard that hummingbirds love them!
My glorious stand of pastel hued Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea) was no match for the strong winds we had last weekend….they toppled over as one, snapping several of the tallest stalks. I collected a few seed pods that I hope are ripe enough before cutting them off and adding them to the burn pile (don’t want to risk spreading rust through the compost pile). I was able to tie up a half dozen or so to continue their display for a few more weeks and provide enough seeds for sowing and sharing.
Fun fact – both the Hollyhock and Rose of Sharon are members of the Mallow family (taxonomically speaking). And in the same area of the garden as these Hollyhocks and Rose of Sharon is the perennial commonly called Mallow (Malva moschata)– it arrived uninvited but has made for a very long lasting display of beautiful pink flowers all summer. They’re blooming in white or pink in several places around the yard and make a great filler.