Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Plants I Know and Love: #2 Hollyhocks

Good morning. Gold Country Sis Tina here, running a bit late. I am blaming my computer since it is old, slow and I only have dial up. But better late than never as they say...

This blog is about my Hollyhocks. I love them. They are easy to grow, tall, beautiful. I grow them every year. They are perennials, so they give off a great display of flowers for two years and then they die back, but that is okay, because they have put out so many seeds during their short life that they have fathered many more little plants to take their place

The plant above is a "volunteer" hollyhock which came up in the middle of my compost bin in my orchard. It is a red single old fashioned hollyhock and is unbelievably beautiful. This past summer was it's last year and I got hundreds of seeds from it. There are also all kinds of little baby volunteer plants coming up around where it grew that I will transplant to other places when I get the chance (i.e. recuperate from my surgery!) But they will grow happily where they are until then, because they are hardy little buggers.

This is a closeup of my lovely compost heap volunteer.

One more shot because it was so lovely and I appreciated it so much. The only problem with it was I didn't get to use my compost for two years because it was growing smack dab in the middle of the whole bin.

In front of my house I have grown several lovely kinds of Hollyhocks. I tend to like the old fashioned single types the best, but I have grown the doubles and also the shorter type, if I like the colors.

Above is a lovely double Hollyhock. It is one of the shorter variety.

The dark hollyhock shown above was one of the prettiest I've grown. I saved seeds from it but haven't been able to recreate the same color yet.

These yellow/white hollyhocks were quite showy. They also were very prolific with seeds.

Unfortunately for me, and the hollyhocks, deer love to eat them. At my house, they like to wait until there is a beautiful display of flowers that I want to show off to my neighbors and friends. Then they come in on an early morning and eat every last one of them, except the ones they can't reach. But they also pull them down and eat them if they can. They also like to wait until the seeds are just ready for me to harvest and then eat all the seeds.

These hollyhocks tried hard to be out of reach of the deer, but they too were eaten not long after I took this photo.
This beautiful pink single is trying to grow behind a fence but the deer stick their heads right in and have a snack. They can stretch a long way, and they really like to eat hollyhocks!
In spite of the deer, the hollyhocks and I keep trying and some years we get a great display. Sometimes I only have a couple of plants that survive, and other times I have a wonderful display for at least a few weeks. This year was not a good year for the hollyhocks. It was a great year for the deer.
This red single old fashioned hollyhock was lucky because it was far enough behind the fence to survive.
Next year I will try again, and I keep hoping for a fence around the house so that I can have a nice flower garden that isn't just grown for deer fodder. I have a lot of little volunteer plants waiting for my convalescence to end so that I can transplant them around the house and yard. I am looking forward a great display in 2010.


Heidi Ann said...

Oh, I SO enjoyed this post, Tina! Your hollyhocks in their colorful array of hues are beautiful, and your saga of the struggle with the deer , though sad regarding the fate of the flowers, was entertaining!

Tina Dawn said...

Hi Heidi. Sorry I had a problem with the posting of this yesterday morning and didn't know until this morning. At least it is on here now! Thank you for enjoying my posts! Love T

yosemite faith said...

my dad had hollyhocks all along the house where we lived above his office. they are great and i love being reminded of my wonderful dad who died too young and apprecaited nature so much! hope you are feeling better every day tina. the 17th was the one year anniversary of johns surgery to put in 2 stents after his surprise heart attack on the 14th. he is doing really well and i am sure you will be too!