Cheerfully assembled,

Silken petals glimmering in the early morning sun,

At home on waste ground

Sustained only by meagre offerings from summer’s skies

and Roo Poo.











This group of hollyhocks growing on a hillside near the old Castlemaine tip are a surprising sight. Perhaps they are the remnants of an old garden. I took these photographs in early 2015.



11 Responses

  1. What a lovely sight, Margaret. I love and admire the way some plants grow in the most surprising of places. A derelict site in town is fenced off in lieu of new development, and where the concrete ground has been broken up a lovely patch of bright pink wildflowers (willowherb, I think) are growing – clinging on to whatever soil and nutrients they can find!

    • Yes, it is wonderful how resilient plants can be – defying the odds.

      It was quite bizarre climbing up the slope of a hill and finding the hollyhocks over a crest. They looked so out of place yet were clearly at home in their alien environment.

  2. We have marshmallow weeds but no hollyhocks. Might have to remedy that Margaret. Thank you for posting about them and reminding me that they are hardy 🙂

    • Hi Fran. I looked up a website which said that if hollyhocks are to grow successfully they need damp soil. The hollyhocks in Castlemaine haven’t read that website. The site also said hollyhocks self seed so I guess if you provide the right conditions, you will have an ongoing supply of hollyhock plants.

      • I know a lady down the road who grows very dark red ones, almost black and they grow like topsy so maybe I can grow them? I am going to give them a go. Worst that can happen is they don’t grow 🙂

  3. Lovely colours.

    • Hi Susan. I was surprised by the range of pinks and the white.

  4. I’m not sure I have ever seen hollyhocks before. They look gorgeous in the sunlight and I love the words you used and the bright ad cheerful artwork. Thanks, Margaret. The photos are beautiful I hope I come across them one day! 🙂

    • Thanks Jane. Because they are so tall, hollyhocks are quite a showy plant. I learnt the flowers are quite delicate. I picked some and took them home intending to draw them. However, the blooms were quite wilted by then so they don’t make a good cut flower.

  5. Oh, I have some hollyhocks on the south side of the house. They used to be a beautiful deep red, but have reverted back to white now. They do not like the Oklahoma heat, but they sure do look pretty in late spring just before the heat hits. Nice photos, Margaret!

    • Thanks Lori. I had never really noticed hollyhocks in gardens until I moved to Castlemaine where they are quite popular. The hollyhocks flower for an extended period over the warm to hot months.

      They are much tougher than I expected given I associate them with traditional English cottage gardens.

      Hollyhocks clearly don’t appeal to kangaroos as the ones growing on the wasteland were untouched – not a nibbled petal or leaf.

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