Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Heavenly Hollies

Heirloom Hollyhocks can grow to 10, 12 feet or higher. Some of my Mom's Hollyhocks topped out at 16-18 feet.

When I was a little girl, Mom and I would visit her sister's farm every August to pick chokecherries. While she was there she'd also wander about the Hollyhocks, pluck seed pods and stick them in her pocket.

Back home she'd walk into our big garden, crumble the pods, sprinkle the seeds on the ground and, that was it.

Next summer, young Hollies would reach a couple of feet tall and put forth their first flowers.

The older Hollies provided a gigantic flowering forest for little girls with big imaginations.

When I bought my house, I purchased hybridized Hollies but they just never had the wild, farm garden look I was used to.

So... I did what any enterprising daughter would do. I paid a visit to Mom and stole some of hers!

Hollyhocks add big personality to your garden but they are hellacious reseeders. Cutting down stalks before seed pods dry helps keep them in check.

Heirloom Hollyhocks are generally single flowered, tall and lanky compared to hybridized varieties.

In well-tended gardens, Hollyhocks experience a disease called rust. (Which is why I never have that problem!)

Rust takes a foothold during the winter. Cutting down Hollys in fall and removing debris can save them from rust.

Flowers can only go to seed if they are left on the stem, undisturbed. Pluck Hollyhock pods from the stems when dry.

I have lots of heirloom Hollyhock seeds that have been flowering in my family's gardens for over half a century. If you want some, send me a note. I would love to spread some cheer by sharing these seeds. :)


Iron Needles said...

I remember Momma making 'hollyhock ladies' out of a larger bloom (for a skirt) and a smaller bloom (for the bodice, I think)in Grandma's garden. At least I think I sort of remember. I tried with the few blooms I have right now, and mine don't seem to go together right. Do you have any such experience?

Anonymous said...

Lemme ask my husband! I personally love single hollies much more than the fancied up doubles & triples. Do you have any yellow hollyhock seeds?? I've seen some in catalogs, and am thinking of trying them out.

Wunx~ said...

I'll trade you some more feverfew plants for some hollyhock seed. I especially like that last black one (hint, hint.)

Christie said...

I am a long-time lurker of your site, but I've never left a comment - until now. And that is because I'd love some hollyhock seeds. I'm a freak for hollyhocks. I anxiously await the seeds so I can sprinkle them around my yard. (I'm a freak - did I already say that?) I'd gladly send you a SASE or whatever. I'm close by too - SLC. Anyway - here's my email: if you'd like to contact me about how to get them to me.

Granny J said...

Another hollyhock freak here, living at 5400 ft. where the hollies love it! I did manage to collect some yellow, so if you have a mix of other colors & are still willing to send it, tell me what I have to do...grannyj at