I never realised what a difference the hollyhocks make to the garden. They are a bit the emblematic flower of this region of France and now pop up everywhere.
They are a natural for along our back fence.
But they are happy in rough, partially shady spots.
They keep us company growing against inhospitable walls.
They’ll fight and win against Acanthus for their right to survive.
They pop up in strange places and find the sunshine regardless.
They can grow taller than trees! Well, O.K. a small tree.
Of course, they are well-beloved by the bumble bees.
And are frequented by lots of different solitary bees like this Halictes bee lapping up the nectar at the base of the flower.
The hollyhocks also provide shelter. I took this picture by flash at half past eight in the evening. I often find these bees (Tetralonia malvae, I think) asleep for the night.
Hollyhocks self seed easily and it is usually my husband who cannot bear to mow down any that appear in the lawn and who takes the trouble to transplant them. Now I have got more sunshine in my borders I am going to make sure I help him so we can have even more next year.