Hollyhocks: In Memory of my Brother

Hollyhocks Last Year

Hollyhocks Last Year

My brother loved hollyhocks.  He had a corner garden of them at his house, and when they were at their peak, they were lovely enough to stop traffic.  He was especially fond of the old-fashioned single flowered type, the ones that have eight foot stalks.  I think his enjoyment began when we visited Appledore Island in the Isles of Shoals to see a recreation

So Far, So Good This Year

So Far, So Good This Year

of the poet  Celia Thaxter’s garden.  We both loved her book “An Island Garden” which had been written about her garden and had been illustrated by the American Impressionist Childe Hassam.  The hollyhocks were the focal point of this garden, stately anchors for the riot of color below.  My brother died in 2002 and his widow gave me seeds from his hollyhocks for Christmas that year.  Ever since I have grown them in my garden in his memory.  I have to grow them in the protected vegetable garden as the deer love them too.  This year, I’m happy to say that the hollyhocks look very happy and healthy.  I’ve tried extra hard to remove all the fallen leaves to prevent the fungus disease called blister rust from spreading.  I also water them from the bottom and mulch them well.  Experts say infected plants should be removed and destroyed, but of course I couldn’t do that.  I only had it one year and I think I’ve defeated it at last.  My brother would be proud of me.


2 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Tracy said,



  2. 2

    joyce said,

    Your book about your brother was loving, honest and deeply moving! I, too, loved the old-fashioned hollyhocks in our Wodbridge garden growing up and now I’ll think of you both every time I see their colorful heads rising above daughter Anne’s newly planted garden.


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