They are impossible to miss, being mid-July they are towering bright and stunning above the head of almost all other blooms. And some human beings. The plant of the week, Hollyhock (Alcea rosea) makes no excuse for its existence. Why should it? If you’ve got it, flaunt it!
Hollyhocks are short-lived perennials or robust biennials. In other words, they don’t plan to hang around for long. In their first year you will only see the foliage, the spectacular blooms appear in the second year. When they come to their end they will scatter seeds, and the plant cycle will start over again. They are native to Asia and Europe and can reach a height of about 2m. Support might be required in exposed locations. They love sun and well-drained soil.
How to use hollyhocks in a garden design scheme? Because of their height they are best placed at the back of a border. Or why not close to a house facade? Make that many for maximum impact. Blend colours if this is your thing, there are plenty to choose from. Hollyhock rust, which destroys the leaves, especially at the bottom, may be an unfortunate ailment of this plant. Planting other plants in front may conceal this.
Hollyhocks have something of a romantic and traditional vibe about them. I reckon that shouldn’t stop them from being used in a modern garden design scheme. In my view they would look excellent in the sleek white raised and curved border above.