Hollyhock obsession – Making it so


Time is running out.  I have been dreaming and plotting a little project for four months now and it is not yet complete.  Soon the ground will be frozen.  I just need one more nice day and a whole lot of energy.  Then I can relax.

My dream started this past July when I was driving out in Waupoos.  Miles of beautiful hollyhocks line the road.  Stunning is too small a word.  That’s when I started to obsess about growing hollyhocks myself.  I had the perfect spot.  I just had to prepare the new garden.

The site I chose was along our property line.  It would offer lots of sunlight and air circulation.  Unfortunately, this site had been neglected for years.   It had grown into a deadly mess.  This border was impossible to penetrate.  The stinging needles, wild raspberry and prickly bramble attacked and ripped at your bare skin.  No lawn mower or weed eater could make a dent through the stumps and clinging vines. .  It was a wild waist-high jungle of nasty flesh eating plants.  

 Numerous times this summer I had headed out to this border to clean it up.  I dressed especially for the job:  long sleeves, pants, boots and strong leather gloves.   Clipping back this fortress was brutal in the hot sun.  It became  a very daunting task.  I couldn’t do it myself.

  I needed to bring in a professional with a  bush hog  to rip the whole mess out. It took  two months of waiting but finally bush hog wheeling man came to do the deed.  Time was ticking and it was now mid September.

  In the mean while I was collecting seeds.   It was a covert operation.  By day I would take note of the lovely hollyhocks growing around the county:  ie. behind the gas station (check), along county road 18 (check) beside my neighbour’s mail box (check).  By night I stole seeds.  I drove around the county always ready to pull over and swipe a few.  I had an empty cardboard cookie box in the front seat of my car to hold any “found” seeds until I got home.  My collection grew.

Knowing the hollyhocks are a biennial plant that require another cold period before they will flower  I thought I might be able to trick mother nature if I started the plants this year.  This would be their year one and next year they might bloom.  In August I planted many of my seeds.

These are my healthy plants now.  All ready to be planted.

Early this week  we rototilled the border. There is really poor soil here and it still has lots of roots.  I have been hacking at these and gathering up the sticks and rocks. 

  I burn most of the debris in my burn can. 

 BTW Have I ever mentioned how crazy-difficult it is to get rid of lawn and garden refuse?  There is no garden waste pick up in this rural area.  You have to burn everything (when there is not a burn ban in effect – as there was for three months this summer)  First step is to purchase a burn permit from City Hall. Any fire must be contained.  Before you light up you must phone your fire into the fire department.   They will often tell you “NO – It is too windy”.   

On Thursday two feet of leaf mulch was dumped on the future bed.  Yesterday I spread the leaves out.  The last step in the border preparation is a load of triple mix on top.  Then the planting can begin

Now you understand why I am calling this whole hollyhock thing – “My Obsession”.  Right?   Any skeptics will just have to wait until next summer.  You will see.  I will be blogging again and telling you that:   “Stunning is too small a word.”     🙂

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About westlakemusings

In 2013 my husband and I retired. We bought an old pre-confederation house out in the country. This blog is about our new world in the country as we explore all of life's possibilities.
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5 Responses to Hollyhock obsession – Making it so

  1. Donna says:

    I love holllyhocks, one of my most favourite flowers along with glads, and snapdragons. HAPPY GARDENING.

  2. Pingback: Summer lives on though snow is falling « Serendipity

  3. catsrgreat says:

    FUNNY post! I loved the closeups of those nasty flesh eating plants, and I shuddered. Our yard has its nettle, burdock and thistle groves, too. I am bummed that this is a new post, from just last year, so I can’t get instant gratification and see how your project turned out. I came here looking for Hollyhock information.

  4. Pingback: Not giving up on my hollyhock dream | westlakemusings

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