And hast thou seen the hollyhock?

August 3, 2010

According to most web 2.0 experts every blog entry should contain at least one image to attract attention from potential readers/viewers. Yesterday’s post, apparently, didn’t follow this guideline, so it would seem that merely two weeks after starting this blog I already managed to break one of the “golden rules” of blogging. Does this bother me? No, not in the least, but it provides me with a welcome excuse to overcompensate and cram today’s post with photos…


Last Sunday, when I was taking photos of [m]’s Olive [and] Celery cardigan in my parents’ garden, my mum seized the opportunity and asked if I would take some pictures of one of her flowers, a hollyhock in bloom, as well. “No problem”, I replied ingenuously, not realizing that the plant in question was in an area of the garden that is overgrown with weeds and thistles and consequently not that easily accessible. The trouble here is that – as my brother-in-law once put it – my mum’s idea of gardening boils down to buying fancy gardening books and looking admiringly at the illustrations. As much as I hate to admit it, my brother-in-law is right. Then again, he’s also utterly wrong. What he fails to acknowledge, let alone appreciate is the fact that my mum’s idea of gardening also contains a penchant for disorder and wilderness, for letting nature have its way and hoping that it will come up with something nice. Which, usually, it does.

From the garden

Thanks to that laisser-faire-attitude a vast area in my parents’ garden is now covered by an amazing wildflower meadow which offers an egalitarian home to any seed the birds and the bees, the wind and the breeze might carry. Granted, many of them turn out to be weeds but a whole lot of them turns into the most beautiful flowers that, with the changing of the seasons, will put on a whole series of colourful spectacles. In spring the place is awash with marguerites and poppies…



…now, in summer, others begin to show their face, among them the hollyhock:

Once more, the hollyhock

Where I come from we actually call them “Pappelrosen”* (i.e. poplar roses) because of their tall and slender stem, in other parts of the German speaking world they’re called “Bauernrosen” (i.e. peasant’s roses) because they used to be a favourite in cottage gardens. Even though, botanically speaking, the hollyhock is not a rose but belongs to the mallow family I think those traditional German names are rather fitting. For me, they convey the aura of old-fashionedness that somehow seems to surround the plant.

As mentioned above, in my parents’ garden the plant is, however, also surrounded by weeds and thistles, so with hindsight I really shouldn’t have gone barefoot to take those photos. I guess it was worth the effort, though…

One last time, the hollyhock

* In our dialect, though, this is pronounced something like “Bowürosn”…

One Response to “And hast thou seen the hollyhock?”

  1. Ellemme said

    I love your photos and also the “pappelrosen”, I got some seeds I still have to seminate in the garden of our new house.. Actually, it seems to follow your mum’s idea of gardening..:o)

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