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  • Betty Girardeau

Hollyhocks


Since a lot of you have enjoyed my other circular flowers, I thought I would share another one today. This flower is also a favorite of mine, a hollyhock. It has always seemed like a particularly "homey" flower" to me, maybe because the first time I saw them was in a kitchen garden at a living history museum. The name hollyhock is believed to have been derived from the Anglo-Saxon term 'holy-hoc,' meaning holy mallow, mallow being the common name for members of the althea family. The word althea comes from the Greek , altheo, meaning "to cure." Hollyhocks have been used for the treatment of tuberculosis, bladder inflammations, soothing swollen horses’ heels, etc. Native to Turkey and other parts of Asia, these flowers were introduced to England in 1573. They were very popular at the time, so it is not surprising that these plants made their way to the English colonies in the New World. In 1873 a rust disease nearly wiped them out, and it wasn't until the 1930's they were able to make a come back. I was thrilled last year on one of my evening walks to find these flowers in a neighbors yard. Several years ago I bought a couple of hollyhock plants for my yard. Apparently the group that sprays my yard for weeds, considered them weeds and sprayed them with something like Roundup. They are not easily grown from seed, so if I want to try growing them again, I will have to find another nursery that has them. Maybe next year. For now I will continue to enjoy my neighbor's.

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