Thursday 26th March 2020
Ten years ago, in search of a perfect cottage garden I purchased a packet of Hollyhock seeds from our local garden centre. I potted up these seeds and when the time came transplanted the seedlings to my flower beds. At the same time I pushed the tiny seeds into the cracks and crevices of the patio in our back garden and also around the front of our house on the driveway.
Time passed and the potted seedlings grew and flourished with pink, white and yellow blooms. Some even came back the following year and for several subsequent years and even today there are one or two surviving. However the seeds that I planted in the gaps in the concrete did nothing for many years - I had given up hope and had almost forgotten about them.
Then five years later walking from my car to the front door I noticed the green of a recognisable foliage starting to emerge from a crack in our driveway just in front of the house. Amazingly a seed had lain dormant for years, waiting for just the right time to germinate – water, light, temperature and other more complex chemical conditions had eventually all aligned. A hollyhock had started to grow.
Since then our hollyhock has gone from strength to strength and each year it has come back bigger, taller and stronger even though it is never watered or fed - it is truly a hardy, resilient plant that loves its position. The first year it flowered it was a bright bubblegum pink, with a dark magenta centre. It blossomed with those colours for several years until 2019. Last year the colour changed to a salmon pink with a bright yellow centre. The biologists in my family suggested that it might now be a different plant germinated from a new seed, mentioning cross pollination, Mendle and peas. I will take their word for it, all I know is it is beautiful and has consequently inspired a new project. A bit like a dormant seed, this work has taken its time to get going but perhaps this period of isolation will give me some space to think and mull over ideas and hopefully conclude a project.