Monday, July 30, 2012

Dancing Hollyhocks

If you're a gardener, like me, then you already understand why I spent pretty much every waking moment of this sunny weekend outside with my flowers. If you're not a gardener, chances are not good that I will be able to explain. But I'm willing to give it a go.

Flowers are like friends. Each one has a certain personality, an individual style and flair, as well as a temperament. And each flower has a story to tell.

Gardening is like going to a party with all these friends. I wander from this one to that, spending a few moments with each one to remember old times and catch up on what's new.

Some flowers are the extroverted, almost pushy friends that catch you the minute you walk in the door. They laugh and joke and generally talk your ear until you excuse yourself and move on.

But other friends are shy, quiet and reserved. They are just as interesting as anyone else at the party, but they tend to hold back and wait quietly until approached. I guess you might call them wallflowers. Heh.

This sweet yellow hollyhock is definitely one of the wallflowers of my front gardens. Many, many years ago, a neighbor gave me some hollyhock seeds. They sat in their envelope for probably three years before I finally put them in the ground. And while they sprouted and grew, they never really amounted to much. The truth is that my maritime climate is not the right environment for the hollyhock, which prefers hot and dry summer days. The poor dears quietly drooped along, one generation after another, for all these many years.

So it was quite a lovely shock for me to happen upon my hollyhocks today and find them THRIVING! Yes, finally, at long last, this patient and long-suffering plant has hit its stride. Its foliage is green and healthy, the delicate blossoms are to die for, and the sweet yellow is a perfect partner for the neighboring purple cat mint

It's like this plant is a studious bookworm of a girl who finally took off her glasses, let down her hair and stunned everyone with her beauty. Now she's dancing on the tables, the center of all attention. And I watch her, smiling. I knew she had it in her all along.

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