A Hollyhock Garden is a Fairy Paradise
Alcea, or Hollyhock is traditionally considered a nostalgic cottage garden perennial but in the high-valley western gardens they are considered a staple. Once these tall hardy biennials drop seeds, they will generate future hollyhocks for as long as a gardener wants them. Hollyhocks are still the original species plants that produce seed freely and add a riot of summer color to gardens. Not all of my seeds will germinate and some may cross pollinate and produce flowers of a different shade or color than the Mother plant.
Hollyhocks grow tall–up to six-feet–
so they look especially handsome along a fence line or in front of barns and sheds. In the western climate, Alcea creates a carefree screen which is a good reason to use it for a children’s garden. The Hollyhock seeds are large enough for children to gather, clean and drop the seeds by themselves to form the walls of a secret garden or playhouse. Alcea needs very little soil covering them to germinate but a shallow trench drawn in the outline of the playhouse will helps the seeds stay put. The seeds will be germinated by the next spring but the child must wait until the next summer for the privacy of Hollyhock walls covered in delightful blooms. Alcea is a member of the Mallow family and all parts of the plant are edible.
One of my favorite things to do in the children’s garden is create hollyhock dolls. If you grew up with a mother or grandmother who had hollyhocks in her garden, it’s likely she showed you how to make these delightful little fairy dolls.
Here’s a fun project recommended by the blog, “Premeditated Leftovers” that shows you how to make an adorable hollyhock doll cupcake topper. Remember, the hollyhock blossom is edible, so it’s safe to use.