Posts Tagged ‘hollyhocks’
The Delphiniums seem to get bigger and taller each year. Pretty amazing since all of them came from a little packet of seeds I planted in June four years ago. The first year they barely came up and were so little and spindly. The following year wasn’t much better, just a little taller. Last year though, they just decided to get up and grow and this year they are taller than ever, about 6′. The stalks are much sturdier too. I guess Delphiniums were meant to teach me patience because I sure wasn’t impressed with them at first. Glad I decided to just leave them alone to see what they would do. (Check out the picture to the right, that was the 2012 version. See how much taller and fuller they are this year?)
Now the Hollyhocks on the other hand are not as prolific and showy as they were
in past years. The first year was sketchy because they are biennials, which means they come up the first year and bloom the second year. When they did bloom, it was gorgeous, with big beautiful flowers and lots of lush foliage.
This year, and a little last year, they have many problems. The leaves are covered in rusty looking bumps, the flowers are small and sparse and they are only reaching about 6′ at best, many not even that tall. Since they reseed so freely every year, I don’t want to continue with this crop so soon I’m going to rip them all out and clear out the bed and replant fresh seeds. I think if I can get them to grow a couple of feet that they will bloom next year. We’ll see.
It has been a nice, warm summer so the flowers are thriving this year.
The arbor built over the south gate a couple of years ago has finally been covered in roses this year.
All of the Clematis are finally maturing enough to really begin to put on a show. Most of them are 3 years old, some are 4 years old.
Here are some shots of the garden that include roses, clematis, hollyhocks, catmint, salvia, peonies, irises, feverfew, centranthus, lavender, daylilies, oriental lilies, snapdragons, hostas, dogwood, delphiniums, larkspur and many others. (Click on picture to enlarge)
This is one of those lemons/lemonade things.
For some reason, none of our Asparagus survived this winter. I don’t know if I hadn’t planted them deep enough or if the winter was too bitterly cold, or if there was a disease or fungus or whatever. But no Asparagus.
So…after looking at that empty bed for a few weeks, waiting and waiting, I decided to dig. At first I was digging to see if there was anything happening down below. When I found all of the Asparagus gone (DOA) I decided to really start digging.
I get excited when there is a blank space in the garden because it’s so fun to plan an new garden area and to make it happen. This new space is between a peach tree and the grape arbor. At the back is a 6′ wooden fence and large rocks in the front. A blank canvas.
I wanted something that would grow tall in the back, taller than the fence but not tall enough to shade the grape vines on the arbor. I wanted something in the mid-range in the middle and a little shorter closer to the front. Then much smaller plants in the very front.
On top of all that, I wanted plants that would have a long bloom time and be long lived. In other words, a permanent bed. I don’t like spending a lot of money on annuals that have to be re-planted each and every year.
I chose Hibiscus (Rose of Sharon, Hardy Hibiscus, Althea are other names) for the back. They will grow to about 8-9′ and bloom all Summer and Fall.
In front of the Hibiscus I decided to use Centranthus ruber (Jupiter’s Beard) since it can get to about 4′ easily and blooms from Spring through Fall. A very tough and beautiful plant and so easily grown.
In front of the Centranthus I used Garden Phlox. It too has a long bloom time and is very easy to grow. It will reach about 30″.
For the very front I planted Snapdragons. They aren’t perennials but they have re-seeded freely in my garden so I think I can could on them to re-appear each year.
On each side of this bed is a stand of Hollyhocks which re-seeded a few years ago and I just let them stay.
Now the fun of watching and waiting. It’s one thing to plan it all out and know what each plant is supposed to do, but waiting and watching for the magic to happen is part of the joy of gardening.
Even though I love the spring time when the temperatures rise and the inversion lifts and we have unlimited sunshine, I can’t help but dwell on the massive amount of work ahead of me as I began to remove the winter kill as well as the unwanted growth from the flower beds.
I suppose it is because our growing season is so short, things really start growing very fast once they’ve come up. This applies to perennials and weeds alike. But even more than that are the many plants that come up in the wrong place. Take Hollyhocks, for instance. I love them, they are majestic and beautiful and can add so much to a garden with their height and colors, but unfortunately, if not cut back before they throw their seeds, they will re-seed all over the garden.
This applies to many plants, including Feverfew, Foxglove, Purple Cone Flower, Cosmos, Snapdragons and quite a few others.
These pictures show how awful a garden can look in the early spring. There is the dead growth from last fall, the weeds that have wintered over and are thriving and then there is the good plants in the wrong places.
This is an unusual spring in that I am bringing help in to clean up the mess and get the garden off to a “clean” start. I’m so excited. What usually takes me all spring to accomplish (and sometimes half the summer) will all be accomplished in one day. I hope my expectations aren’t too high because I really have a vision of what the garden will look like at the end of day.
I’ll post before and after pictures to show the amazing differences.
Since I’d never grown Snapdragons before last summer, I had no idea what a wonderful plant it is. Not only is it pretty, and the kids like to make the dragon’s mouth open, but it re-seeds freely. This year I planted lots and lots and next year I hope to have them filling in everywhere.
I did learn that there are taller varieties that grow to 3′ – 4′, and that would determine where they should go in the garden. I have some of both in my garden.
The other plants that I know re-seed, at least here in zone 6, are Hollyhocks, Cosmos, Bachelor Buttons, and sometimes Zinnias. I’m sure there are others, those are just the ones I know of.
If you like a lot of different kinds of plants…
If you like a lot of flowers blooming…
If you don’t want to worry about strict, formal lines and forms…
If you want your garden to feel natural, like it all happened on its own…
If you like using vintage pieces in your garden…
If you like the idea of plants seeding themselves or multiplying on their own…
If you want a garden that make you want to just hang out and relax in…
Maybe a Cottage Garden is just for you.
A cottage garden is loosely planned, and heavily planted. I think that most gardeners are a lot like me when it comes to plants. It seems that I’m a plant-aholic. I can’t seem to ever have too many. Even when I’m sure that I’ve maxed out the space available, I can always squeeze in one more specimen I’ve found.
Plants that bloom, smell good and re-seed or spread will eventually find a way into my garden. The great thing about having such a variety of plants is that most of them bloom, but not at the same time. So I have something blooming somewhere all during the growing season. If you have all the same plants then the blooms are all done with at the same time.
I did lay out a plan of the yard but only loosely designated a certain area for “flower bed” or “berry patch”. I paid attention to the height of the plants, so they would all fit together nicely, and to the sun and water requirements. It’s also a good idea to pay attention to the bloom time but I didn’t really do that, and most of the time I was lucky. The blooms for any season, spring through fall, are spread around the whole yard pretty evenly.
If you follow the planting guides on most seed packets or plant instructions, your garden will look good eventually. While the plants are growing and reaching their full potential, there can be a lot of empty space to fill. It can either be filled with annuals for a year or two…or three, or with mulch. I like to plant things much closer than the instructions say because I like a very full garden. If the plants get a little crowded, it’s okay. If they ever get too crowded, I divide and move some or share with friends.
I like blooms. I love having flowers in the house, so I plant plenty so that I can cut plenty to use and to share. Try some of the cottage garden favorites like hollyhocks, foxglove, phlox, daisies, roses (of course), peonies or lilies.
It doesn’t take a lot of room to have a cottage garden either. A tiny plot by the back door will do. How about a 3′ border down the side of your lawn? I’d rather have the 3′ lawn and the rest in flowers, but that’s just me.
Mix in some vegetable plants along the way. Tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil, squash and many other beautiful vegetable plants will fit right into a cottage garden.
Formal gardens are pretty but they don’t draw me in and make me feel as happy as I feel when I’m in my (slightly messy) cottage garden.
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Hollyhocks give a much needed vertical element to the garden with their colorful flowers reaching up so high into the blue sky. Some get 10′ tall or more and some only about 6′. If everything in the garden were waist high or lower it would be pretty boring but the height of the hollyhocks draw the attention up and then the eye will go back down to fall on something new in your multi-leveled garden.
Even though the substantial, sturdy stalks do a good job, a strong wind can tip them over. They pull back up easily but once down they will go down again easier and will have to be tied up a bit.
Hollyhocks re-seed freely and unless you like pulling seedlings out of EVERYTHING, cut the stalks down before they throw their seeds. On the other hand, if you collect the seeds and plant them where you want them to grow that’s even better.They produce so many seeds that you’ll have plenty to share.
Hollyhocks are biennials, one of those plants that have to come up and grow a little the first year and then bloom the second year but even in the first year they make a nice looking plant.
I get a lot of comments on the hollyhocks in my garden. They seem to remind people of their childhood or their grandmother’s yard. I like that.
From time to time I’ll be posting pictures of plants in my yard that I don’t have a clue as to what they’re called.
Before I moved out here I’d gardened in Florida and Tennessee and knew about a few plants, especially my favorites, Natchez crape myrtles, Plumbago, Oleander, Angel Trumpet, Plumeria, Sentolina, and Hibiscus. But when I came out here I realized there were a LOT of plants I’d never heard of nor seen. When I started putting in the perennial beds I’d get starts and cuttings from friends and sometimes they didn’t know what they were called. I found some seeds I’d gathered a few years earlier in Tennessee and planted those even though I don’t know what they are, just that the plant was pretty. They look like miniature hollyhocks with light lavender blossoms. I’m a seed gatherer and it’s hard to identify plants this way sometimes but it makes life interesting.
Anyway, I’ll be asking for help with my mystery plants.
Maybe you have some mystery plants you’d like to post pictures of and we’ll see if we can stump the real gardeners out there.