Saturday, June 27, 2015


These are just a part of the Hollyhocks that are blooming in our back yard. We planted a couple young plants a few years ago and they just seem to keep coming back. Even during the drought and depression days of the 1930’s, we always had Hollyhocks blooming out along our yard fence next to the road and our mail box. It was a common practice to take a full bloom, set it to look like a full skirt and then place one of the buds on top of it to give the appearance of a little doll. Even here is Seward, Hollyhocks seem to thrive under “adverse” conditions. There are probably more of them blooming in the alleys around town than there are in “Flower Gardens.” Hollyhock flowers have a very long history – in fact, remains of this blossom were located at a Stone Age burial site in the Shanidar cave in Iraq. Hollyhocks – whose name was derived from the old English expression, “Holy Flower” – also have some interesting connections. For instance, Thomas Jefferson cultivated these plants in Monticello; in Japan, hollyhocks became the seal of the Tokugawa Shogunate, and Frank Lloyd Wright named his first Los Angeles project, “Hollyhock House,” after the owner, Aline Barnsdall’s, favorite flower. In addition to having cultural connections, hollyhock flowers have also become an important part of art. Not only can the flowers themselves be used to create a rust red-colored dye, they have also made many appearances in fine art paintings.

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