Saturday, September 6, 2014

Hollyhocks - 1872 and 1941

Library of Congress image - Hollyhocks. Vincennes, Indiana, July 1941

This James Vick catalog from 1872 only offers one variety, a double.

The copy is also very amusing compared to modern catalog descriptions and comments.

The following Vick's Floral Guide from 1875 speaks highly of the hollyhock, however.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Hollyhocks and Long Sentences

It seems seedsman B. K. Bliss has a more casual attitude towards hollyhocks!  The contents of his packet of the Extra Fine Mix leaves me a little doubtful.

The enthusiastic hollyhock article from 1852 at the bottom of this post is amusing...if you like hollyhocks and long sentences!

 I was trying to find reference to Chinese hollyhocks when this article from 1852 in The Scottish Gardener: A Magazine of Horticulture and Floriculture, Volume 1, turned up.  It is a pretty good read! (The length of the second sentence is noteworthy.  I have broken up the text into paragraphs for eye ease whenever the dude ended a sentence  - almost.)


The cultivation of this magnificent eastern plant, is of considerable antiquity in this country. Its majestic spikes of brilliant flowers could not fail to attract the attention of our earliest collectors of exotic plants; and although we cannot state the precise period when the Hollyhock was first introduced, we can with certainty trace it for several centuries back, and have every reason for believing that it existed in this country before the time assigned to it by those laboriously compiled works on plants, the Hortus Kewensis, and Loudoun's Encyclopaedia of Plants, both of which works assign its introduction into this country from China to the year 1573, although another work (Dr Turner's) published nine years earlier, says that the Hollyhock was sown and grown in many gardens in England ; and Miller also (another author) mentions that he got seeds of the Hollyhock from Istria, which produced large single red flowers, and he adds—" but the seeds I got from Madras produced double flowers of many colours;" and there is mention made of the Hollyhock in various works up to the present day.
The French botanists consider this plant to be a native of Syria, but we have every reason to believe that it grows naturally in various eastern portions of our globe, particularly in China, from whence seeds of the tall and dwarf Hollyhocks have frequently been brought into this country.
Certainly there are but very few plants that contribute so much to the embellishment of our pleasure grounds and gardens as this ; whether you plant it in the sun or in the shade, against the back of a wall or along the side of a hedge, in clumps and masse, or in single and detached specimens, this gorgeous gem of Flora is equally an ornament worthy of admiration—it stretches forth its pyramids of floral banners, as if calling for a general muster of the great family of the goddess—bidding defiance to every noxious weed or intruding plant that dares encroach on its confines. 
Being thus vigorous, easily multiplied, and of such dazzling beauty, it is indeed a wonder that we do not see many thousands more of them along our avenues and approaches, our shrubberies and flower gardens, presenting, as they do, a gay appearance for many months, and that at little expense of trouble to the cultivator; indeed, it will yield to no other flower in the brilliancy of its colours and the variety of its shades.
Suppose you were to plant a half circle, doing this according to their colours and shades. Commence with a pure white—you will find sufficient shades of pink, rose, crimson, lilac, on to a perfect black in the centre —and can descend down the other side, through all the various shades of browns, buffs, oranges, to the brightest yellows. 
I recollect once assisting to plant a straight line of considerable length after this manner in 1833, under the direction of a respected horticulturist, the late Mr Smith of Hopetoun, all of which were quite double, although not to be compared with our Queens and Princes, our Gems and Comets of the present day. Still they had a very imposing effect, and a line or group thus once formed or planted, is not like other gaudy flowers, cut clown at the slightest approach of winter. It will continue to give for many years its succession of floral beauties, with only at most a slight covering round their roots on the approach of winter, if of good rotten manure, so much the better—the extra vigour and brilliancy of the following year's bloom will amply reward you for any extra trouble they may have cost you—and if, during the growing season, they are watered freely with liquid manure and rain, pond, or other water, which has been exposed to the atmosphere, it will very materially add to the size and perfection of the flowers.
Horticultural and floricultural societies have wonderfully improved this flower of late years, by offering prizes for the most perfect and best grown specimens of both spikes, and single or detached blooms. For the purpose of Exhibition, however, you must bestow very considerable care, in the selection of your varieties, and particularly to their future culture—therefore, your first consideration ought to be, a proper situation and soil to grow and bloom them in—without this care, the finest varieties are comparatively thrown away. 
I find the Hollyhock in this neighbourhood,  gives the largest and finest blooms in a situation open to the south or south-east, and sheltered from the violence of the westerly gales. If the soil be not deep and very rich, deep trenching must not be neglected, (which is best done in autumn), with a plentiful supply of well decomposed manure, pointed in at separate times during winter. This operation will not only mix your manure more thoroughly with the soil, but the frequent turning necessary for this operation, will also be the means of exposing a greater quantity of your newly turned up soil to the action of the weather, thereby pulverizing and sweetening the surface strata for the reception of your plants in spring—although autumn is considered by many people as the proper season for planting. 
If your plants are strong and healthy and the ground in order, plant as early as you can, reserving a duplicate of any fine variety in pots all the winter—it is also advisable to lay round those planted out, a covering of dung, rotten leaves, or such like, as the neck of the plants is veVy apt to be injured with hard frosts. I have, however, had as fine blooms from plants turned out in spring without the risk of loosing a fine variety, and with the advantage of having the soil more thoroughly operated upon
In keeping Hollyhock plants during the winter in pots under cover, it is most advantageous to have them in as healthy and hardy a condition as possible, and about the beginning of March, turn them out into their blooming situation, in rows against a wall or open border, to be trained to poles, which should be put in before the plants are planted, to prevent any of the roots being destroyed afterwards. It is advantageous to give the plants a slight watering as soon as planted, and in dry weather to give liquid manure and water freely, which will cause them to send up a most vigorous stem (if more than one remove it) which should be properly secured as they advance in growth—thinning off their buds to ons-half or perhaps one-third of their original number is also very essential, performing the operation at several times, so as not to check the plants too suddenly. 
After all this labour and care, your high expectations may be fearfully disappointed by one of your leading varieties opening its first blooms as single as ever any of its original progenitors could have been—to the no small chagrin of some honest nurseryman or florist. To such as may thus be disappointed, I would say, if true to colour, it may yet be true to flower. Nurse on your plant, divest it of nearly all its flower buds, your plant may from an over-excitement, with a view to propagation, or other accidental cause, have its constitutional energies so weakened as to require a seasons nursing to bring it back to health and vigour, essential to producing its natural fine blooms. As the competition day draws nigh, shading and a plentiful supply of water are indispensable to bring your flowers up to the standard rules for judging the Hollyhock.
Falkirk, January, 1852.

This has nothing to do with hollyhocks.  But it is very cool.  It was created to connect the Forth and Clyde Canal with the Union Canal, opening in 2002. The canals had been unconnected since 1930. The series of 11 locks that served barge traffic before the 30s had fallen into disrepair. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Impressions of Hollyhocks

American Impressionists liked hollyhocks.  Hollyhocks lend themselves nicely to dabs and daubs.

Childe Hassam did them proud.

Celia Thaxter, the pensive lady to the left, lived on Appledore and hosted artists, writers and painters.

Nice links:

- very nice; About Celia Thaxter's Island Garden
They recommend another blog that is their
 garden intern, Erica Anderson, as she blogs from Appledore this summer! Island Gardener 2014

If you have the chance to visit the Isle of Shoals, off Portsmouth, New Hampshire, you hopefully will experience this amazing light that Hassam has captured in the following painting.  While you will not get to Appledore Island, you can do a day visit to an island within sight!  It is wonderful.

If you are interested in the Portsmouth and the  Isle of Shoals
 you will like the Yankee Magazine blog about it.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

1857 - Hollyhocks in Prince's Select Catalogue

These hollyhock names are charming in their plainness or pretension.

"30 Splendid New Varieties"

Monday, September 1, 2014

Hollyhocks and the Gentleman of Prado

The following article is from The Magazine of Horticulture, Botany, and All Useful Discoveries and Improvements in Rural Affairs, Volume 16; 1850

I wouldn't have featured it except the list of named varieties from the talented hands of the gentleman from Prado is so much fun to say and savor!!

If I were not afraid of advancing a horticultural heresy, I should say that many amateurs prefer Hollyhocks to Dahlias. 

The Hollyhocks of Belgium and Germany had a great celebrity long before they appeared among us. The collections of the Prince of Salm Dyck, and of M. Van Houtte, of Ghent, have been much admired. In other places varieties have been obtained with leaves more or less lobed, more or less entire, more or less palmate, all with flowers large, full, or colored differently from those of other plants, being sometimes of a more or less dark mahogany color, at others of a delicate tint, and varying from the purest white to the darkest glossy black.
 Some progress has also been made in the cultivation of those plants by ourselves. Since 1830 M. Pelissier, Jun., a gentleman of Prado, has cultivated Hollyhocks, and from the seeds of a pink variety has succeeded in obtaining plants with flowers of a delicate rose color, and which, in consequence of the extreme delicacy of their tints, and regularity of form, may serve both to encourage perseverance and as a good type for seed. In the following year, from the seeds of pink flowers, he obtained a beautiful, brilliant, clean, sulphur-colored specimen, perfect in every respect. It is from the seeds of those two plants that he has obtained all the other beautiful and remarkable varieties which he now possesses, after a lapse of ten years from his first attempts. 
As a general rule, M. Pelissier prefers flowers with six exterior petals, with entire edges, well open, well set out, of a middling size, of a pure, clean, brilliant color, and forming a perfect Anemone. Seeds sown in the spring and in unwatered ground, never flower till the second year. 
Experience has shown that if the seeds are sown in September, and in earth which is kept fresh, flowers may be obtained in June or July following, which are in no way inferior to those of spring-sown seeds. 

M. Pelissier follows the following plan of procedure. The seeds, which are taken as soon as they are ripe, from good specimens, are sown in September, in a border a foot and a half deep, and composed of good coarsely sifted garden earth, mixed with well worked soil. The seeds, if they are covered lightly with leaf-mould, and the soil is kept fresh, begin to swell at the end of a week; they require little care till spring, as they are not hurt by frost.  In the spring the ground must be repricked, occasionally hoed and frequently watered. As the flowers expand, M. Pelissier removes whatever is not conformable to the type he has chosen, or is not of a marked color, and like a perfect Anemone. 
It is by doing this every year that he has obtained 20 remarkable varieties, the names and characteristics of which have been kindly furnished by him, and are given below.
 1. Souvenir de Malmaison, delicate rose, flower very full; perfection. 
2. Geant de Batailles, red, flower very full. 
3. Vestale, fine pure white, flower very full. 
4. Anais, rose, flower very full; perfection. 
5. Chromatella, dark yellow, flower very full. 
6. Jeune Euphemie, clear red, flower beautiful, full; perfection. 
7. Heine Victoria, cinnamon colored, shaded, flower very full. 
8. Grand Peking, nankeen-colored, flower very full . 
9. Amarante, dark red, flower very full . 
10. Isabelle, dark red, flower very full . 
11. Grand Colbert, dork rose, streaked, flower full, very perfect 
12. Marie Gabrielle, fleshy white, flower full; beautiful. 
13. Matilde, clear cherry, flower very full. 
14. Solfaterre, very clear yellow, flower very full. 
15. Boule de Neige, beautiful white, flower well rounded, full . 
16. Ophirie, yellow with a tint of pink, flower very full. 
17. Arlequin, clear, approaching to dark violet, spotted with white. 
18. Desprez, white, middle yellow. 
19. Proserpine, very dark red, flower very ful1 . 
20. Pluton, black, flower very full.

The Magazine of Horticulture, Botany, and All Useful Discoveries 
and Improvements in Rural Affairs, Volume 16; 1850