Sunday, September 10, 2006

Flower Fest - A for Alcea Rosea

Would you believe it but this gorgeous beauty is the Common Garden Hollyhock? It grows in tall flowering spires and is very easy to grow. Either that or my neighbor has a very green thumb. Yes! Every summer these attractive semi-double flowers grow tall along the property line between my home and my neighbor's. If his property weren't elevated by a few feet, I could almost claim that the flowers were mine. In the ultimate analysis, it matters not cos I think I enjoy them more than anyone else!!

Depending on which growing zone you're in, these can be grown as annuals, biennials or perennials and may even reseed themselves. Since we are in Zone 5 in Colorado, this is grown mainly as an annual. Hollyhock is from the same family as Althaea Officinalis, an herb that was used treat swelling in horses' hocks or humans' ankles. This herb was known as the hock leaf. Hollyhock flowers vary in color from white to pink to even dark chocolate. Since they cross-pollinate, it's recommended to stay with one color, especially if you want to grow them again from seed the following year.

Flower Fest - the A-Z of FlowersThis is my first entry for the letter A in the Flower Fest - the A - Z of Flowers, which starts today!

Flower Fest is the brainchild of Nature & Me and Sree. Every two weeks, the focus will be on a letter of the English alphabet. The current letter is A. I will be submitting photographs of flowers as my entries. My entry is A for Alcea Rosea, the Common Garden Hollyhock. I have learned so much about Alcea Rosea because of The Flower Fest, that I am considering growing it next year. Then again, I might decide to remain lazy and enjoy the fruits of my neighbor's labor!

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8 introspections:

shilpa September 10, 2006 4:10 PM  

The flower is too lovely Manisha. I never knew the name of this flower(I might have seen this flower but not sure). Good start :), now waiting for sree and nature&me.

Manisha September 10, 2006 6:19 PM  

Shilpa, I think you will start noticing flowers a lot more now. Just watch!

Sree has posted a wonderful amaryllis and N&M has posted a lovely African lily! Lovely start to the Flower Fest! Waiting for Vin and Paavani to post their flowers.

Sree September 11, 2006 8:10 AM  

My thoughts EXACTLY! i've seen this flower a LOT but never knew its name.. thought it was one of those wild kinds.. must be isnt it.
Its a lovely pink. If am right, there is a variety of this which is cream or white in the morning and turns blood red towards sunset!
Great!.. Manisha:)

Anonymous September 11, 2006 8:29 AM  

Amazing photographs, particularly the close-up shot. What a lovely flower. Do you grow them in your garden?

shaheen September 13, 2006 5:35 AM  

new tro ur blog and i feel so good just sitting and staring at ur photos. wonderful shots.

Manisha September 15, 2006 9:04 AM  

Sree, while that sounds intriguing, I don't know if we have a variety of hollyhock that changes color through the day in the US. Hollyhock is not an original native of the US. It does grow in the wild, too. This flower blossoms on a plant that grows as tall as 6 feet. The plant needs some support but does very well even in windy conditions such as what we have here in the foothills of the Rockies.

N&M, while I don't grow these yet they are in my yard, so to speak! My neighbor grows them and they lean over into my yard. I took these pictures over the Labor Day weekend, Sept 4. The flowers are now gone and it's pretty much done for the season. This is my first year in Colorado; the soil is different, the growing season is different and most of all, the weather is very different. We have almost desert-like conditions. What I would like to do is slowly replace the plants in my yard with plants and grasses that are native to Colorado and don't need as much water to survive. This is called xeriscaping. It's so dry here that we actually have to water the trees at least once a month in winter. This summer I focused on a small patch, which is a quasi-rock garden and it has done reasonably well. I hope to slowly address the other flower beds through this fall and early spring. Let's see how that goes!

Shaheen, welcome! Thank you so much for your warmth thoughts! I hope to add more to my photos here, time is the only constraint. :-D

Paavani September 16, 2006 2:11 AM  

sparking pink. Pics are nice, can feel the grain of it.

Manisha September 19, 2006 5:17 PM  

Paavani, it's very good to have you here! And thank you so much for your warm words.

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