Hollyhocks were on the east side of our house when I was growing up on the farm. One year I remember them on the south of the house growing up as high as the big picture window looking out of our living room. My mother finally convinced my dad to put a fence around that front garden to keep the pigs and chickens out of it. We had what James’ family calls an “Old MacDonald’s” farm because we had nearly every sort of animal. Spring was like one of those little children’s books that shows all the baby animals and the sounds they make. Some years were had calves and lambs and piglets and chicks and ducklings and even goslings one year. There was only one year that I remember puppies and not too many times were there many kittens. For some reason a cat could have a litter of five or six, but only one would survive the birthing. I later found out it was my father who eliminated the extras, but that is another story.
This year my hollyhocks are promising to grow nice and tall in some spots, but are barely going in others. I also have some with yellow all over them. Last year when it happened it was about the same time that I sprayed lots of bug killer and I thought I had somehow damaged the plants. Everyone has assured me that such a thing would never happen, but you cannot convince me that any chemical can have a bad effect on everything it touches. It is just like you can’t convince me that boring through a tree’s root system won’t kill a tree. Maybe I am too suspicious, but it just seems that when you introduce something foreign there is always a risk of causing problems for the existing ecosystem. So, enough of my science talk. How do you like the hollyhock. Sadly this one will be pulled at the end of the season as it is not supposed to be growing in the iris bed. Boo Hoo, and Happy Gardening to you!!