Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Holly "Hobby", "hock" or "house" or is it Christmas?

  Welcome back my Wednesday Wizards!

I had a wonderful visit with my son and daughter in law and of course those two adorable grandsons! We even got to babysit one day ( boy am I out of shape!!!)
We had activity every moment it seemed! It had been since last Christmas that we saw them, so the youngest little "wild boy" Sam who just turned two, did not quite remember us, and it took a bit for him to warm up to us, but not to long. I will try to post a short tale and maybe a few photos of our visit. Again I could not get those two wiggly worms to sit together or even next to ME, long enough for a photo! Little Stinkers!

I so appreciate you understanding my not being able to post last week. And thanks so much to the wonderful readers who still took time to wish us a good time!
It really warmed my heart!

Now lets get back to our last quiz I left you with...
We did have a Winning Wednesday Wizard I will announce!!
First a reminder, it has been 2 weeks!  Last time clue...

white hollyhock full of pollen
click on all photos to enlarge, 
ask to copy please

This magenta ringed eye full of weeping pollen is open of business! It is flashing a sign too all who are hungry for fresh yummy , gooey pollen that the Hollyhock Diner is open!

The Hollyhock is a popular and common flower found in many traditional as well as non-traditional cottage gardens; hollyhocks are easy to grow and may even produce flowers in the first year, if planted early enough. The Alcea species of hollyhock produces tall flowers and should not be confused with Althaea (or Mallow); both plant species are botanically related and belong to the Malvaceae plant family but the Althea species of hollyhocks are shorter.

pink hollyhocks after rain


  Hollyhocks are hardy in zones 2-10. They are herbaceous biennials or short-lived perennials, they easily self-sow. But some species in some zones are considered annuals just the same. Hollyhocks have large 4-5” saucer shaped flowers for up to 2+ months in midsummer. By me they can start in mid to late June and flower into early August, depending on the growing season. They are available in a variety of colors such as yellow, red, purple, pink and white on large flower stalks up to 8’ tall! Some people have claims to have grown much taller ones. I never measured mine, but know they were at least 2 feet over my hubby's head, and he is just shy of 6 feet! It is a good idea to try and keep them spaced about 1-2 feet apart for air circulation (something I have yet to do, oops!)
Hollyhocks begin flowering low on the stalk, with blossoms opening progressively higher on the stem through the season. Unless you intend to collect seed, plants of biennial varieties can be removed when flowering ceases. Since neighboring hollyhocks readily cross-pollinate, seed gathered from groups of mixed-color plants seldom bears true. You may want to mark the stalk with the color of the bloom if you plan on harvesting seed and try to keep them separate, mine are mixed, came that way from the garden I harvested them from and scattered them in the ground without care to color. Wide spacing and single-color plantings are the best means (short of division) to ensure true-color descendants.
Rough textured heart shaped leaves are large and generally attractive.
The upright and slender, hollyhocks add a strong vertical interest to a garden space. They really are almost as easy to grown and add visual interest as sunflowers!  If I needed a dividing wall, I think it would be fun to have one of hollyhocks and sunflowers mixed in!
Deadheading wilted hollyhock flowers can encourage reblooming and should be done until the end of the season unless self-sown seedlings are desired. Many hollyhocks rarely require staking except in high-wind or very rainy areas (which was my dilemma this year, as I have told you many times.)
They are susceptible to rust, leaf spot, aphids and cut worms.
lacy hollyhock leaf

I think the aphids were the culprit at hand on my leaves, although a bit pretty, not very tidy looking.
Hollyhocks are easy to grow from seed that can be scattered outdoors in the late spring through early fall for blooms the following August. Division is not normally needed as individual hollyhock plants are short lived, however self-sowing happens frequently so hollyhock clumps are often perennial in nature (or in MY yard!) I have found some new plants around the corner in a different area that must of been blown by the wind or planted my the critter gardeners I have. When you are cutting off the brown (or ugly eaten) leaves or deadheading (always using a sharp snips) never compost any part of the hollyhock, as any of the susceptible diseases can contaminate the compost and make it unusable. Bag it up and toss it or if allowed in your area add it to the burn pile. At the end of the season cut the stalks close to the ground and do the same to them.

bug eating pollen
click on all photos to enlarge,
please ask to copy

If you look close in the top bloom their is a bug in there collecting the gooey pollen. 
I do not know what kind, just that it flies! 
Now just a few quick "Did you know?" about Hollyhocks and then I will announce the Winning Wednesday Wizard for this week.

Did You know

  • Hollyhocks were often planted next to outhouses long ago. Why, you ask?
    So that in the event visitors came calling, a lady need not announce in front of everyone her need to use the privy. (Toilet) As the hollyhocks were next to the outhouse, one merely asked where the hollyhocks were, and when pointed in the direction, did not need to reveal if she were going to admire the hollyhocks or do something else while there. Such a lady-like gesture! So if you have an outhouse, be sure to plant a few next to it even just for fun. I wonder if it would work indoors? ☺ A fun question to ask at the next family reunion of one of the elders to "see' if they remember what it means.

  • Deer don't like to eat Hollyhocks. So if you live in an area populated by garden diners, don't worry about your hollyhocks. What else do they find unappetizing? Bleeding heart, Calla lilies, Columbine, Larkspur, Evening Primrose, Foxglove, Iris, Lamb's Ears, Lavender, Marigold, Poppy, Coneflower, Sage, Thyme, Mullein, Wormwood and Zinnia just to name a few! Hollyhocks also can tolerate the toxins secreted from black walnut tree roots, so are a great choice to plant under black walnut trees! 

  • In 1921, Elizabeth Gest; pianist and composer, produced "HOLLYHOCKS"... a progressive series composition which goes as follows:
    The Hollyhocks stand straight and tall
    like captains in command. If they could walk, I'm sure they'd march like soldiers, to a band.
    From 'A Day in My Garden' by Elizabeth Gest

  • In Los Angeles exists a Hollyhock house....visit when you have a moment to browse! It was designed by Frank Lloyd Wright.

  • The name "Hollyhock" is a mixture of two words. HOC was often a term used for mallow, a smaller, though closely related species. Because it was brought about during the middle ages, thus the "holy" part. Combined, they form "HOLY HOC" or "HOCK" as we have come to know it. Althaea rosea has now become known in the genus Alcea. Genus Althaea / Alcea, family Malvaceae Named by Linnaeus, who used both Alcea (Latin) and Althea (Greek) from the Greek word meaning 'to cure'. Often said to have first reached Europe in the 16th century. It was them used as a medicinal and also a culinary herb. Hollyhocks are among the oldest cultivated plants.

  • The term "Old Fashioned Hollyhock" does not refer to just any hollyhock. The true old fashioned hollyhocks do indeed very much resemble a small Hibiscus flower, yet the foliage remains the typical Hollyhock foliage. You can't mistake an old fashioned for those of today's gardens, often blended, hybrid, etc. When you see a true old fashioned hock, you know it. I believe that is what I have and why I call them heirloom, plus the old garden I was allowed to harvest them from.  

  •     And now for this weeks Winning Wednesday Wizard...  

    Sukhmandir Kaur from A Guide to Sikhism 
    She is a repeat Wizard, please give her around of applause and visit to her blog as well ☺!   

    We still are having our bouts of heavy wind and rain. While we were gone the rain must of been very hard as my poor hollyhocks are no longer standing at attention as they normally do and are laying across the ground... I fear I will be cutting them early this year.

    Now a new teaser for next Wizards Wednesday !!! 
    Only one clue from me this week....
            it is not a plant from my yard!
    Put on those thinking caps..... here are a few photo clues...

                     clue photos removed
    click to enlarge, please ask to copy

    Geezers! I hope I did not make it to difficult this week....
    Mr. Linky will be below for those who play along, and remember to please leave a comment and a guess! You may just be the next person to claim that coveted Wednesday Winning Wizards Badge you see in the left side bar... You Know You Want One!

    I always try to return any comments left in kind, and I love to see what is going on at your blogs as well.

    I leave you still
    with wrinkly, muddy hands               

    until next time☺  




    1. Nice Hollyhocks - mine seem to be getting eaten by something also. :(

    2. I missed you last week, glad you were having fun with the grand kids:)
      I can only think of a couple of plants which have silk one is a vegetable and the other sounds like a dairy product :) But some how i think it is neither can't wait to find out.

    3. Oops I'm not sure if I waited long enough for my comment to post properly. Can't wait to find out what these are they somewhat resemble vegetables :tassles: and the silk of :dairy: pods :) but dont' think it's either must be something more exotic although the closeups look an awful lot like scalp peeking through maybe it's exactly what it looks like LOL

    4. I know a whole lot more about Hollyhocks after reading this post!! This week's pictures looks like hair of some sort to me.

    5. Great pictures! Wish my garden would grow.......the mystery pictures look like little kiddies hair!! Happy WW!

    6. You always have such cool garden pics. Your garden must be awesome. As mine is pretty much nonexistent though, I am easily impressed! Thanks for sharing.

    7. Anonymous6:21 AM

      Finally a question I definitively KNOW the answer to!
      Since I have seen the full pictures though I won't let the secret out.

      I learn so much coming here, and you always make me curious to know more about the plants and flowers.

      Glad to have you home safe and ?rested?

    8. Always nice to visit the grandchildren. Even if they remind us we are not getting any younger.

    9. I love the Hollyhocks. I have a big bush in my yard.

    10. Coffee ground are great for the insect. Or try some soap water spray on the plants.

    11. This is my first visit to your blog! These shots are captivating, memorizing, you get the point! Simply brilliant!

    12. Um...those don't look like plants to me. I'm going out on a limb and saying those are close-up shots of your families hair.

    13. Hmmm...those pictures look like hair. Is it your hair? lol. I'm SO SO bad at guessing games.

    14. Beautiful Hollyhocks! And I might know what this week's photos are, but don't know where to enter my answer. That's okay, though, I'm not much of a participator :)

      Kim/This Belle Rocks
      thisbellerocks (at) gmail (dot) com

      Happy WW!

    15. The photos are very pretty and that is very interesting information about the Hollyhocks.

      And I'm guessing someone cut someone's hair for next wednesday???? :)


    16. I love how informative your wordless Wednesday posts are! Great flower shots!

    17. Happy WW!

      Hmmm...I would have to guess the hair of your lovely grandsons :)

    18. Love Hollyhocks -- always been a fav. of mine.

      Now . . as for those pics. . . did you get a hair straightener? lol

    19. Beautiful pictures and flowers! I kill any plant I come near, so it is nice to see others plants thrive lol.

    20. gee, if you're ever out in Denver, stop by my house and save my garden!

    21. Every week I visit you, I get increasingly more jealous of your garden. I have grass. That's it. Oh and the grass? It's terrible! lol As for the mystery photo, I'm going to guess corn. Don't laugh. lol That's all I've got.
      Thanks for stopping by and linking up. Have a great evening.

      Kristi, Live and Love...Out Loud

    22. I wish we had some Hollyhocks, the butterflies would have loved em!

    23. Oh how I love Old Fashion HollyHocks! My Great gram and Grandma always had them but for some reason I've never been able to grow them! It seems the easiest plants are the hardest for me! lol

    24. Oh, that magenta ringed eye is sooo cool looking! Awesome.

      Hey, you were one of my first followers Grammy and you have even stuck with me! I am so appreciative. You're the best.

      Keep on with the flowers. This is where I get my fix!

    25. You hollyhocks are gorgeous! Every time I find some there are always bugs nearby. :)

    26. I am so envious at your garden experience and talent! I can only aspire to be as good as you someday. :)

    27. Amazing how simple it can be to communicate with people and have them understand a certain topic, you made my day.
      Flower seeds


    Thank you for stopping and reading today.
    Comments are always welcome :)