Wednesday, 19 September 2012

In an English (well, French) Country Garden

One of our favourite places on the coast is the lovely island, Ile de Ré. The island is home to a profusion of hollyhocks in every shade of pink, peach, primrose, deep reds and coral.

They grow from every conceivable nook and cranny....
 I've long wanted to grow some but, despite the lines in the familiar tune "In an English country garden..." I've not had much success.

I collected some of the seed from Ile de Ré last year and sowed it in trays in the garden. One seedling disappeared but to our surprise, a hollyhock grew up close to the garage entrance. We can only assume that this was the missing seedling, perhaps picked out by a bird and then dropped where it grew and in fact, flourished.

It is a glorious plant and now much taller than I am...

Gladly the other seedlings grew well too, and are now planted out so we have our own "English country garden" and, if I keep up with the seed collecting, a lasting souvenir of Ile de Ré!


Tim said...

If you keep up with the seed collecting, you'll be drowndid in them. We had some "Old Fashioned Shades" at the allotment in the UK that were still growing when we let it go to come over here.
At least six years and getting a bigger clump every year!! And missed seed-heads gave us and our neighbours gratis plants as well.
It may well grow much higher next year... ours did... and we had to strap the column between a couple of stakes once it got blooming... not the singleton you are using... so send Colin out for some more for next year!!

My favourite is the second one at the top... same sort of patterning as ours, but much, much bolder... "Old Fashioned Shades" is more pastel... and I think would look a bit washed out here.

Anonymous said...

I've got hundreds in my garden, ranging from the delicate cream to the dark burgundy - and they're everywhere! In my lawn... in the veg patch... and the ones that flourish the most are the ones where the washing machine water comes out... they obviously like dirty, soapy water!

Colin and Elizabeth said...

That's interesting, because the one which has grown up just outside the garage gets doused with the soapy water from my mop bucket every few days and it seems to thrive. Perhaps you've hit upon something there!