... is the country song hit that my Hollyhocks were singing last year.
When we moved here just under three years ago, I noticed some Hollyhocks growing up through the lawn on the south side of our house. "Who would mow down Hollyhocks?" I immediately notified my lawn caretaker (aka husband) of the NO MOW zone.
Eventually, I removed the lawn around the Hollyhocks and made a small bed as our property line is just about four feet from the house on this side. The Hollyhocks grew up and up, and the beautiful buds I was so anticipating ... turned brown and fell off! The leaves turned brown and withered. I plucked them off here and there and left them to stew in the new withered and brown bed completely disappointed.
The next year, the Hollyhocks sprouted up again, and AGAIN, the leaves turned brown and withered but were oh so much worse! I concluded that THIS was why they were mowed down!
After a little research, I then determined they were infested with rust. Not being familiar with rust, I didn't realize that I had only made the problem obviously worse by leaving the infected leaves and buds to stew in the dirt. Now that I was armed with knowledge, I brutally hacked those Hollyhocks down to nothing - not wearing gloves or anything else that the dreaded rust could infect - and put all the leaves and stems, any type of debris, into the garbage (you could also burn them). I then disinfected my tools and washed my hands making certain that I did not touch any other plants after my slaughter. After a fresh layer of compost and a sprinkling of corn meal (yes, cornmeal - the kind you make corn bread with or sprinkle on your pizza stone), I once again, left the now empty bed with the squeaky clean dirt (oxymoron) to stew. In a few weeks, a couple of brave, new leaves appeared and they looked really good BUT winter was coming. [Big, heavy sigh.] Another year without beautiful blooms.
But THIS year ...
... my Hollyhocks are singing "I Will Survive!"
I'm not the only one enjoying these big, beautiful blooms. And they're white - not brown!