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Hollyhock

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Hollyhock

Postby Bwis53 » Sun Apr 15, 2012 10:12 pm

I'm slowly getting a garden with flowers from my childhood. The old Elm Lawn Grade School in Middleton used to have hollyhock growing in back. Should I just let my fingers do the walking and call around at the nurseries?
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Re: Hollyhock

Postby kurt_w » Mon Apr 16, 2012 7:27 am

I like hollyhocks. We used to have some nice ones outside our kitchen window, but they were passed on to us by my parents, not purchased at a greenhouse, so I have no idea what variety they were.

One thing you should know is that Japanese Beetles absolutely love to munch on hollyhocks. If you have a lot of the beetles, you'll need to be hyper-vigilant about your 'hocks.

I've heard that Japanese Beetles tend to be worse in areas where there's a lot of well-watered turf -- like parks and golf courses -- because their larvae feed on the turf roots.
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Re: Hollyhock

Postby snoqueen » Mon Apr 16, 2012 9:52 am

If you really, really want hollyhocks, they're usually grown from seed. The seed isn't hard to find -- any place that sells flower seeds will have some. After the first year (when they generally just produce leaves) they'll come up over and over and re-seed themselves elsewhere in your yard.

You can have fun selecting your own seed from hollyhocks of a particular color and, over the years, developing a collection of single-colored hollyhocks in your garden. Thomas Jefferson famously selected darker and darker flowers and ended up with a very dark purple that looks almost black -- it's still available from heirloom seed places. Without deliberate selection, they produce the mix of white-to-dark-pink flowers we're used to. Yellow is available, and so are double petal flowers.

But Kurt's right and they're a Japanese-beetle magnet. So are roses, or most roses, and most raspberries.
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Re: Hollyhock

Postby Madsci » Mon Apr 16, 2012 6:06 pm

Back in the days when I lived in the Atwood neighborhood, my garden had many colors of hollyhock flowers. I might have started with some seeds from my mother which had pink flowers. Over the years I collected seeds from the neighborhood gardens to add diversity of color. Low and behold after seven years, the hollyhock garden had flowers from white to very deep purple.
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Re: Hollyhock

Postby Bwis53 » Mon Apr 16, 2012 10:09 pm

My mini rose, lily and nasturtium do great. Is there a spray for the beetles?
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Re: Hollyhock

Postby Athena » Tue Apr 17, 2012 9:27 am

Don't spray for Japanese beetles. Any spray that kills them will kill everything including bees and butterflies and other beneficial insects. If you want to kill beetles then get a bucket of soapy water, hold it under the beetles, and brush them into the bucket. The beetles have an instinct to dive straight down and most of them will land in the bucket.
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