Quilting, Farming, Variety

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Hollyhocks


have always been one of my favorite flowers, but I've never had very good luck in growing them.  The seeds usually germinate quickly, then the weather turns dry and the seedlings perish.  And if they do live, whenever their long stems are heavy with blooms, and a strong wind and rain comes, they fall over and are ruined.  It seems they do best growing up next to something, like an old shed or fence, anything to give them a little protection.  This year I had a clump growing in a corner between a chimney and a wall.  As you can see they grew really tall and we tied a cord to support them.

These were a beautiful, dark red; definitely going to save seeds from them.  I just knew from the shapes of the flowers and leaves that they were a kinfolk of the okra plant, and after a search on Wikipedia, found I was right; they are both members of the Mallow family, as is the hibiscus.

 
Perhaps the most common pest to a hollyhock is the leaf miner, which is the larva of an insect, such as a moth.  The larva lives in and eats the tissue of the plant.  They're protected from predators since they feed inside the leaves.  I had a choice between dusting the leaves, making them white and possibly killing bees, or leaving them as is; I chose the second.
 
 
Speaking of bees, hollyhocks are known for attracting bumble bees.  The farmer has told me this quick story many times:  He had a city cousin who knew how to fold the petals of a bloom around a visiting bumble bee, catching it inside.  The country cousin wasn't so lucky; the bee put out a powerful sting, right through the petals!
 
Have you had luck growing hollyhocks?  Have you ever tried to catch a bumble bee inside a bloom?
 
Charlotte
 
A little note added this Monday morning:  Judy left a comment referring us to "hollyhock dolls" on Google.  What a cute thing to do with a child!  So easy, and a lot of memories to be made.  BUT watch out for the bumblies!
 


15 comments:

  1. I have tried several years now to grow them. Last year I had more in the spring than I do right now - I think some died in the drought. I too have them in a sheltered area - in my case on one side of the workshop then if they get too tall I can rope them in for support. I hadn't noticed any bees, but you have a lot more flowers - mine just started to open this weekend. I want to plant more and see if they will get thicker. My leaves look the same as yours.

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  2. Having seen them in person, I can honestly say the pictures are gorgeous, but they don't even begin to show the delicate beauty of those flowers. I have always loved hollyhocks too. Never tried to grow them...maybe this fall I need to give them a try!

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  3. I used to make dolls out of hollyhock blossoms - google "hollyhock dolls" if you don't know what they look like. I have fond memories of playing with a ballroom full of beautifully dressed hollyhock ladies!

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  4. I've never tried to grow hollyhocks, although they're beautiful!
    Good luck with yours.
    Funny story about the cousins!

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  5. I've never had any luck growing them either. I did not know they were part of the Okra and Hibiscuis Family. I really love them. My mom used to have them everywhere but like you she had a green thumb.. Loved your story about the cousin.. Hope you have a nice week, Susie

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  6. I don't have much luck growing anything! I really don't have a green thumb. I do love hollyhocks. Your color is especially pretty!

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  7. I've never tried to grow hollyhocks. Yours are so pretty, love the color!

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  8. Those are beautiful, Charlotte! I've never tried to grow hollyhocks, but now that you mentioned how much the bees like them, I'm thinking maybe I should try so our honey bees will have something to work. Do they need full sun or can they be in the shade?

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  9. What a beautiful picture! I have never tried to grow hollyhocks, but I would love to try someday. I love red flowers. I used to have a big flower garden when I lived in California. I loved to grow roses and flowery vines and had many trellises set up around the fence line. Once I trained a blue plumbago bush to grow up the side of my little yellow house. It was so pretty and unusual looking. My attempts at flower gardening since moving here to Georgia have not been quite as successful. Between healing from my back injury and the bees, bugs, rabbits, deers and other flower eating critters, my garden looks a bit bare these days! :) But I do love pine trees and all the green open spaces. I hope you have a wonderful day ahead! With Love, Delisa :)

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  10. I have grown hollyhocks and love them but have decided not too as the leaves always turn all brown and ugly. Yours are beautiful. Nancy

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  11. Gorgeous Hollyhocks. They have a special charm of nostalgia about them for me. When I was a child, my Mom had a large variety of flowers, her hollyhocks was real beauties.

    I grew some once, but had to give them up when they were swarmed by Japanese beetles. It was awful that year, them buggers ate flowers and the garden. Thankfully, we haven't had a swarm of jb's since.

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  12. Absolutely beautiful hollyhocks you have there, the color is striking and there are a lot of flowers.

    I don't have a problem with leaf miners too much but rust and some caterpillar eats the leaves.

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  13. oh, I love Hollyhocks but have not grown them in years. I think I'll have to put them on the plant list for next year ... yours are so beautiful.

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  14. Beautiful hollyhocks, Charlotte. This brings back good memories for me of the hollyhocks that used to grow behind the house that I grew up in as a little girl.

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  15. I love hollyhocks but I struggle with getting them to look nice. I've got them again this year. In a new spot and hopefully if/when they get tall enough I can support them.

    I've noticed a tiny weevil that likes to heat the leaves. It takes a special kind of insecticide to kill them and I"m not sure if I want to do this for the sake of a pretty flower. Maybe if I'm very careful. The dark red flower that you have is the one I love too. Such a gorgeous color.

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