It might be August, just, but it looks as if the weather has decided that that’s it for this summer. I suppose we can still hope for a few bright and balmy days in early autumn.
As a child when we used to come to Suffolk for our family holidays the neighbouring back garden was full of one type of flower – hollyhocks. The entirety of their little plot was hollyhocks. I suspect now that they were mostly self-seeded as it was an open area of free-draining soil and hollyhocks seem to do well in our part of the country. Ever since then hollyhocks have been in my top ten of favourite flowers. Wherever I have been gardening I have tried to squeeze in a few of these essential, cottage garden beauties.
This year I have had pink, white and a very dark, dark red and they have all managed to flower. It is just as well that I took a moment to get some photos of these naturally tall plants before Storm Francis blew in.
Hollyhocks aren’t the only tall flowering plants I’ve grown in my backyard this year. As usual I have grown some cosmos from seed. The packet for this pink variety definitely said ‘dwarf’, but they have grown to over five feet tall, searching for the light. I do think they would have started blooming much earlier and remained dwarf if they had full sunlight all day. As you can see from the almost ‘ethereal’ photo above, the plants only get full sunlight in intermittent bursts. Obviously, this has not been enough and the plants have become etiolated.
At least most of the pink cosmos eventually flowered, but then Storm Francis decided to take down a few plants pulling over the pots at the same time. Luckily, and surprisingly no pots were broken and who doesn’t appreciate having plenty of cut flowers to bring indoors.
8 thoughts on “Growing towards the light”
That ‘ethereal’ photo is lovely. As is your growing space. I hope the damage wasn’t too severe.
The lighting through that ‘wrong’ tree is its only positive quality. I saw my neighbours had called in a tree surgeon about reducing it, but there was a lot of head-shaking and I think we’re stuck with it for another season, if not more years, probably. 🙁
*sigh*. Neighbours, eh?
I also love hollyhocks. We grew them years ago at our first house. I remember them so well. I’ve had no luck with them since.
Yes, I think they are picky about the soil – need dryish and free draining and plenty of sun. They spread like weeds in my last garden, but not so in this more shaded patch. Still I will keep trying.
Now that I think about it my successful setup was in a dry sunny area next to the house, not the greatest soil, but the conditions you described were there.
oooh, You’ve given me a new word, “etiolated”. Delicious! I recall you have a challenge with enough sunlight in this “new” home – perhaps an Australian fern garden is in order! My favourite flower as a young child was snapdragons. I notice these days most people refer to them by their correct botanical name.
Yes, there is a fancy garden, East Ruston Old Vicarage, that has a completely secluded tree fern garden – it was stunning. I looked into getting a Dicksonia Antarctica, but was also stunned again by their cost! Also, they don’t like our east wind and cold winter so you have to wrap them or lose them. East Ruston is very close to the sea and has a microclimate that rarely sees a proper frost.