Thursday, April 07, 2011

heavenly hollyhocks

Fifteen years ago I planted a tub full of hollyhock seeds 
that I had brought back from a trip to California.
I literally harvested the dried seed pods off the hollyhock stalks at a Christian College 
and then threw them in the ground when I got back to Phoenix.

Months later they started growing,
but I wasn't sure what I had planted where, so I had no idea they were hollyhocks...

... until much to my surprise, every color, shape and size hollyhock began to bloom.
And I mean every variety and color imaginable!
We were stunned and so was everyone that drove by our home.
Our hollyhocks became the talk of the neighborhood.
And I became known as that "hollyhock lady".

 I have rarely planted a hollyhock seed since.
Once you plant a crop of hollyhocks, they reseed year after year.
And then you can transplant them anywhere you want.
They grow in our backyard now.

This year none of the crinoline (can-can) variety have boomed.
They have always been my favorite. (as you can see from my blog banner)
But that's not to say they won't bloom next year.
Oh and don't hesitate to ask permission to harvest seeds from hollyhocks as you travel.
I may not plant many seeds any more... 
but I love adding a new variety that I have found here and there.
For instance, on one vacation in Wisconsin my eye caught a pale yellow hollyhock.
We immediately stopped to see if any of the stalks had dried seed pods,
so I could harvest and replant when we got home.
Well, the farmer was more than willing to let me take his seeds back to Phoenix, Arizona.
In fact, he was quite honored!

I'm linking my Hollyhock story to ~


MommaMindy said...

I brought hollyhock seeds with me to the PNW and have been so disappointed that we don't have enough sun to grow them here. After a few years, I gave up trying. Thanks for sharing your beautiful pics, I miss seeing those beautiful blooms.

Deb said...

I grew these in Central Oregon and am surprised they grow down here in Az - hum...maybe I'll try it - thanks!!

Cindy (Applestone Cottage) said...

Your hollyhocks are just gorgeous Linda!
I would to plant some, thanks for the inspiration!
We are finally getting some spring here! I am over the top happy, 60's and the snow has melted!

Lydia said...

Your hollyhocks are LOVELY. I shall have to try. Thank you for the inspiration. Blessings