Saturday, May 23, 2015

Not Your Grandmothers Hollyhocks!

 Hollyhocks have come a long way baby!

How many of us have fond memories of eight foot tall hollyhocks growing against Grandma's fence... gardening is in great part an exercise in recreating the beautiful moments in our lives. They've seen a lot of history in the last 300 years -- those lilacs, and hollyhocks, foxgloves and Johnny jump-ups that have graced our gardens since before America lit its first birthday candle. No other plant has flourished with such persistent vigor, despite the handicaps of general neglect, poor soil, rust disease and drought that it has often had to suffer.  The hollyhocks survived when many more tender plants could not abide the rigors of late spring and early autumn frosts, burning noon-day sun, and persistent drought; and so they became the favorites; seed was shared; and soon, as one of my aged neighbors has said, "Everyone had hollyhocks." Year after year its strong spikes of gaily-colored blossoms have continued to gladden the dooryards, patios, acequia banks - even alleys and roadways.

The Old time varieties bore tall erect single blooms in a variety of colors. Modern  hybridizers have perfected gorgeous, hardy perennial  double bloom of red, yellow white, peach, pink, red, and bi-colored.



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Pink Double Hollyhocks are similar to roses and peony

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A light yellow and a very white hollyhock both double blooming

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The peach apricot double booming Charters hollyhocks

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A red double hollyhock and a dark maroon single blooming hollyhock

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Hollyhocks when grown in good conditions and soil will reach anywhere between 9 to 15 ft.


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Pastel blooming hollyhocks only grown to about five feet but they are a delight and the colors are so unique


    The variation in hollyhocks takes on many forms, this species look familiar to a hibiscus
    When Planting Hollyhocks From Seed

    Hollyhocks are sometimes difficult to grow from seed. They can be started indoors in February if bottom heat is applied. They should be planted 1/2 inch deep and will take 14-21 days to germinate. Nigra can take longer. Because of the long germination time, the seeds often rot. They should be planted outdoors when the danger of frost is passed and spaced 8-10 inches apart. They usually do not bloom the first year. They will begin blooming in the second year during June and continue throughout the summer.

    The most common recommendation is to plant your Hollyhock seeds in the fall, this allows the root system to get established over the winter months. Hollyhocks planted in the fall have a chance of blooming following summer.
    If you are unable to get your seeds sown in the fall have no fear Hollyhock seeds can be planted spring too. In the spring plant your seeds as soon as you can work up the soil. When planted in the spring Hollyhocks will produce foliage, but will not bloom until the following summer.






Tuesday, May 19, 2015

10 Striking Rare Climbing Roses You Must Plant

Climbing roses not only give you more bangs for your buck, but they add dimension, form and interest to your cottage garden. The big box stores, unfortunately do not carry these multi floral varieties. All those listed here are double, repeat blooming and delightfully fragrant, and the best feature is, they are all in my garden. These roses are all hardy and vigorous growers, even novice gardeners can grow these.

Abraham Darby

1. Abraham Darby bears large, deeply cupped blooms in shades of pink, apricot and yellow and, in spite of their size, they continue to be produced for the remainder of the season. They have a rich, fruity fragrance with a refreshing sharpness. ‘Abraham Darby’ is an excellent, vigorous, medium-sized shrub. It has a bushy, arching habit and large, polished, rather modern leaves; flower, growth and leaf are all in proportion and never clumsy. Sort Climber 6-8 ft.


2.  Goldilocks:  An excellent re-blooming sport of the shrub rose, Goldilocks. Few better climbing yellow roses have been introduced since the heyday of the Tea-Noisettes. The growth is very strong and upright Height: 12-15 ft.

MmeDriout23.  Mme. Driout an amazing finds amongst Teas, it has flowers of bright rose with stripes of carmine, quite large and full, that open to show the golden stamens. This rose has intense and interesting fragrance; Myrrh? This is a moderate pillar rose that can be pruned and grown as a shrub or pegged down for increased bloom. This is a Climbing Tea bred before 1902 by J. Thirat and introduced in France in 1903 by Lucien Bolut in 1903, according to HelpMeFind. Mme. Driout may be grown as a 5' tall shrub or as a 10' climber. It has good fragrance and reliable rebloom and is one of the few striped teas--- Growth Habit: Fully Double. Height: 10-15 Feet Color: Pink Blend


4. Westerland:   Magnificent, large, well-formed 5" blooms (petals 20-25) of apricot, copper-orange on a bushy, vigorous, upright continual blooming plant with bronze-green foliage. We have to keep busy propagating this one because it is so popular. A truly outstanding shrub rose! Marvelous fragrance. Repeat blooming. Very winter hardy. Vigorous plant grows fast 10-12 ft.

5.  Lady Hillingdon CL.A vigorous and hardy climbing rose and one of the best tea roses still in existence. The blooms are made up of large petals, resulting in long, elegant, waxy buds, which open to large, loosely formed flowers of deep apricot-yellow. These hang gracefully from the branch and emit a delicious, rich tea fragrance. ‘Lady Hillingdon’ continues to flower throughout the summer with unusual regularity. It has fine contrasting dark green foliage, which is coppery mahogany when young. 15ft.


6. Mme Caroline Testout Climbing An excellent climbing sport of an early Hybrid Tea Rose. Large, rose-pink flowers, the outer petals rolling back in an attractive way. Only a slight fragrance. It repeats flowers, producing a good second crop in September. Strong and enduring: David  Austin still has one growing on his wall that was photographed in 1919 and was a mature plant, even in those days. 20ft.

7.  Alchymist:  Fully double, old-fashioned blooms  golden-yellow touched with of apricot. Wonderfully fragrant. Vigorous plant with shiny bronze-green foliage that may be grown as a shrub rose or a climber. Vicious thorns and once blooming

8.  Awakening This is the latest "sport of Dawn, itself, a sport of Dr. Van Fleet and almost identical to it with the exception of Awakenings very double, old rose form blooms. It too blooms on this year’s wood versus last years and repeats very well all season... The very beautiful 3.5", soft pale pink blooms are very-double and born in clusters. Light fragrance, Reblooms reliably. The rose bush is very vigorous and very healthy. Foliage is a deep very shiny green. Disease resistant. 

Madam Alfred Carriere

9.  Mme Alfred Carrière’ There is few white climbing roses to rival ‘Mme. Alfred Carrière’ in performance. It bears large, cupped, creamy white blooms tinged with pink, which have a sweet tea rose fragrance. The flowers have a rather informal shape. In June and July it produces a magnificent display of blooms and continues to flower with great regularity until late in the season. This is a healthy, reliable and hardy climber with plentiful foliage. The growth is very strong and upright. 20ft

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10. This beautiful rambler is named "Veilchenblau" which means "violet-blue" in German is a deep purple crimson, producing large, closely packed clusters of small cupped flowers the buds open to a beautiful and unusual mix of colors. They open dark magenta with a white center and are occasionally streaked white - with an attractive boss of bright yellow stamens. As the blooms age, they turn dark violet, finally fading to lilac-grey. Can appear almost blue on occasions.

A vigorous rambler of typical multiflorous characteristics.  The foliage is light green and the growth almost thornless. There is a fresh, fruity scent, often with rich orange notes. It has a stiff growth, with many strong stems shooting from the base of the plant. A position in a partial shade often creates the richest coloring. Ideal for walls, pillars, and pergolas. Even though this beautiful rambler only produces flowers once a year, it is still worth having just to view it’s opulent show each spring.