Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Hollyhocks in my Garden

Tasha loved hollyhocks. Near the middle of June, I can remember her calling me and asking if my hollyhocks were blooming, because in Vermont’s climate, her stately plants would not open for several more weeks. In the early part of the nineteenth century, hollyhocks were one of those cottage flowers that surrounded homes and even appeared near outbuildings. Their iridescent bell-shaped blossoms shimmer in red, pink, deep maroon, white and yellow. For some reason, Tasha had lost her yellow hollyhocks and had not found any volunteers from which she could pluck a few seed pods until she strolled through a living history village.
“But I just didn't feeling right about taking any seeds,” she confessed, as we sat near her hearth.
“Next summer, I’ll send you some from my plants.” While the canaries sang, I poured myself more tea and nibbled on a slice of flaky pastry that held a thick, sticky poppy seed filling.
We reflected about playing with hollyhock dolls, and how the dolls could hold the flowers as parasols or use them as small boats. Slowly, our conversation drifted away from gardening and onto homestead activities, our baby goats, cheese making and how to create pectin from green apples. While none of those subjects would appear in flashy headlines, they illustrated the daily tasks that shaped Tasha’s life. A remarkable life that still inspires many others to delight in those simple pleasures.
Tasha's June Garden


  1. Another sweet remembrance, Joan! Hollyhocks are one of my favorites, too. That picture of Tasha's June Garden is so pretty! We visited in October and didn't get to see the flowers but I sure could imagine how everything must have looked! So sweet of you to share with her and know that a little part of you was in her garden at Corgi Cottage!

  2. Love this sweet post about Hollyhocks and homesteading. I adore hollyhocks and everything about Tasha Tudor

  3. Love this sweet post about Hollyhocks and Tasha. Thank you for sharing these remembrances with us. I really look for ward to reading them and the pictures.

  4. Hi Joan,
    I grew up in one of those post-war, identical house, brand new neighborhoods, I remember how boring everything was with perfect lawns and twigs for trees. One day when walking toward the dead-end field, I was greeted by the tallest most beautiful chorus of flowers in many colors. Hollyhocks!! Just growing on their own as field volunteers! This impressed me so that as an adult I was on a mission to have them in my own garden!! Well through the years try as I might the failings were regular, moving away, husband's mowing, or anything that you could imagine to thwart all attempts!! That is until I was so blessed to move into this present historical house and farm, where the original gardener was known all over, in her day, for her way with beautiful flowers! Hollyhocks are everywhere here!! (among many other varieties of heirloom flowers)
    I enjoyed so very much the story that you have shared here today! There were remnants of yellow hollyhocks still blooming when we were there at Tasha's Cottage last fall! I have to wonder if they are directly related to the story you shared! ;-)
    Thank you Joan for blessing us again!!
    Many Blessings and warmth, Linnie

    1. Joan, dearest...and Linnie...
      My heart beats fast as I think back on our cottage and garden tour last October. The yellow hollyhock ...volunteer... In front of the barn ! It was knocked over, I tended to it...Winslow gifted the broken stem and bloom to me. I have it now, in a tiny box containing other tiny leaves and such from our visit to New England .... I will attempt to plant this spring. How completely overwhelmed I am by this story filled to the brim with such sweet sentiment. I look forward with great anticipation, our summer visit to her garden!
      Blessings , Christie

  5. I've planted some of Tasha's Hollyhock seeds (that I bought!) in my garden and have managed to get at least one plant every year that then succumbs to rust. I'd love to have a dozen plants lining my picket fence.....maybe one day.

  6. What astonishes to be able to have this contact with Tasha! I am charmed with the mallows, am precious, and since it is a normal Tasha it would like to have them in his garden, especially for the variety of colors that have. An embrace. Mary Carmen.

  7. Thank you, friends for your wonderful comments. I love that many of you have hollyhocks in your gardens and that some of the plants hail back to Tasha's plants! Her gardens were splendid and I am thrilled that many of you will visit them again this summer. j

  8. Hi!
    Thank you SO much for sharing your memories of Tasha! I love reading all your posts!
    I wonder if you could write a post about Tasha's music taste?
    I'd love to learn more about what kind of music she enjoyed.
    Did she own cd's or vinyls? Did she have any kind of music player? What music did she like? In one of her books it's said she had a particulary fondness of the harp. And as I understand it from your profile picture, you play the harp! :-) Did you play the harp to her sometimes? It sure is a lovely instrument!

    Kind regards,