Thursday, July 15, 2010

Everything's Coming Up Hollyhocks

The hollyhocks have arrived in full regalia, showing off in a variety of colors. Despite the deer having nipped off some of the young buds earlier in the summer, they survived and are thriving.

I have since discovered Liquid Fence, which has a pretty powerful odor upon application and then dissipates for humans, remaining potent enough to repel the deer and rabbits. I recently failed, however, to re-apply after a particularly heavy rain and so, two mornings ago, they helped themselves to my barely-budding cosmos, as well.

I love seeing the pair as they feast in the field just down the road, where they spend most of their evenings. Recently, after a storm blew through, as Coleman and Britta drove away, they report that the female paused to check them out, not too far from their open car window. They took a couple of pictures with their phone camera and sent them to me. She had stepped closer, curiously turned her head a little bit sideways, as though engaging in some after-the-storm camaraderie. 

I spent a couple of hours in my veggie garden this morning, trying to gain the upper hand over the weeds, who seem to be vying for control. The Johnny Jump Ups I've managed to work around, for the most part, not really qualifying as a weed, but then what does? I'm working on not being overly sentimental about these plants, but also recognize and honor their place in the world, and in my garden. The day I was giving serious thought to how I might deal with them, as I listened for what the best course of action would be, a lone bumblebee came into the garden and pushed his nose deep into the face of one. It was as if the bee and the flower were showing me how it works, their working together for good. I simply could not go forward with my plan of decimation.

The following day, my neighbor came by and we walked out to the garden together. The JJU's were in full array, covering about a fourth of my garden, the part that had not been planted this year. He remarked how beautiful they were and we agreed the scene had an almost Monet-like quality to it. I was tempted to get my camera, but some moments are best savored in the moment, no record except that which remains in memory.

I have several hollyhocks lining the perimeter of the vegetable garden, just inside the fence. My weeding has been focusing on the veggies, so I'm grateful these girls don't seem to mind sharing their space with a few weeds. I talk to them as I work, expressing gratitude for their beauty, talk about how to share the space, not leaving any to feel ostracized by the group. They have their own personalities and are so pretty.

When I was a child, my grandmother had several lining her porch.  My cousins played with them as if they were small dolls. Upside down they created rather nice gowns. I thought at the time it was pretty stupid. Couldn't see it. They were just hollyhocks to me. Nice to look at, but not dolls. Now, I understand it a bit more. They do make rather nice companions.

I'm afraid I got a bit camera happy, but they all deserve attention, so here are a few more I'd like to share:

They seem to be getting along well with the cabbages.


  1. You reminded me..I used to play dolls with hollyhocks too! Wow...hadn't thought of that in years. Your gardens look wonderful and you sound happy! :)

  2. Bee-U-ti-ful!!! I love Hollyhocks. There's just nothing prettier than an old fashioned hollyhock. I think I'll plant some. I agree with do sound happy. Lovely.

  3. Thank you, ladies. I am happy. It's summer and Life is good.

  4. I haven't seen hollyhocks in ages. And I can't place where we had them...or maybe they were in the neighbor's you've got me racking my brain! PS, our trip to Star Lake will be in a few weeks.

  5. I have always wanted to grown those and never have. they are so gorgeous....I think now I might have to. Great pictures!

  6. Hollyhocks and cabbages. Really green up there. Yes, playing with them like they were dolls -- that's stupid. Course, I dressed up like a cowboy one day, Indian the next. Never could make up my mind -- Little Beaver or Gene Autry. My cousin always had to be Roy Rogers. That's okay, I always thought Roy was too clean. Liked Gabby, though.

    Really beautiful garden. You have a great place. Hollyhocks very colorful, aren't they?

  7. Nancy and Kathy, Much gratitude to both of you for reading and commenting. What a great time of year.

    Jack, I bet kids don't play Cowboys and Indians anymore...

  8. I hope kids play cowboys and Indians still somewhere, maybe in Montana or Wyoming. Oh those hollyhocks, so many and so beautiful. I had a few in my last garden, the dark one was called black, maybe mine was little darker, a white one, and a double pink one and one called purple whirlygig or something like that. Oh I really must get to a botanical garden or something I am truly missing my garden seeing your photos, what a lovely spot you have moved, makes me want to paint plein aire and I don't know a thing about it but your gardens would be the perfect spot.

  9. Linda, Yes, plein aire, at it's finest. :)