I decided to write this blog after a client and friend asked me why I call the Alcea Hollyhock.
I have done some research on the humble name Hollyhock and discovered that it was first coined by a botanist called William Turner. As another Turner, William, is my favourite painter I found that name easy to remember, although as far as I am aware W. M. Turner never painted hollyhocks. The term Hollyhock is a name you can use to all flowers with that shaped leaf and flower. You will notice, if you look carefully, that Hollyhocks have very distinctive leaves, especially when they are only a few days old, like the ones pictured in my photograph.
1. I start my Hollyhocks off in small pots in the autumn and plant them out in the garden in March or April the following year. I also plant them out in the autumn ready for the following spring. Both methods work very well.
2. Hollyhocks die back after the autumn and regrow in spring.
3. It can take 2 years for Hollyhocks to establish.
4. Hollyhocks grow to over 5 feet in height and can have the same width to their leaves in an open and sunny position, so remember to leave space when you plant out in the beds.
5. Remember that there are different varieties of Hollyhock. Some are more tender and don’t produce good seeds, like the Alcea, a yellow variety which has delicate flowers that tend to die back quite quickly. Alcea is an Italian word and the ‘c’ is pronounced ‘ch’.
I studied Italian for a year when I was in my twenties alongside my son and thoroughly enjoyed it. I will never forget my tutor reminding me to smile when I said ‘Gli’ to get the sound right. Now there isn’t another language I know of that stipulates a smile on speaking. Maybe that is why I enjoyed the language so much.