The sweet smell of ... hollyhocks?


Hollyhocks may have a lot of things going for them,
but scent is not one of them.
A driven plant breeder will probably develop a fragrant one some day
[breeders seem to strive for weird unusual attributes like that].
Till then, hollyhocks are hard to beat when it comes to garden stature.
And the so-called  *black*  ones?
They're unbeatable for  another  reason ...

This might be my favorite cloth from any of our dye sessions last season ... fresh rose leaves
as resists, surrounded by wild blackberries (here, the raspberry color)
cooked in a pot of carrot tops.
And that deep inky purple?  Well, that came from these fellas ....

~ photo courtesy of wood11 ~

If these aren't a variety called 'The Watchman,' then they are kin at least.
One of the flower floozies in our dye group had a patch in her garden and shared
the bounty.  Oooh, she is nice, isn't she?

And I almost kissed her when she handed all of us some seeds at season's end!

It was one of those wraps that as it came off the can
I literally caught my breath ... the colors were so unexpected, so intense.
I thought they'd end up a couple of shades lighter after the cloth dried,
but there has been virtually no change.

Now that spring has finally hit I've been like a madwoman working in the garden, one of my
greatest joys (and definitely my biggest backache, oy vey).  All so good, not complaining a bit really ...
with India Flint coming to teach us in September, I have decided to forego the quantity of veg
 I usually grow and fill those spaces with an assortment of floozie-ness
~ petals & leafage ~
for natural dyeing

There is an entire raised bed dedicated to just these hollyhocks.
I couldn't help myself.


For a look at some inky BLUE color, go see what jude has been doing with black beans ...


  1. no wonder you were happy, WOW! gorgeous and perfect. i have a thing for those black hollyhocks myself, them and the clear single red ones.

    1. Velma, have you ever dyed with the red ones??? My grandma used to have a stand of those behind our duplex when I was about 8 years old ... haven't thought about those flowers in years!

  2. Ahh, flooziness, just what a girl needs!! The hollyhocks (while still in flower form) look like a deep, soft velvet. I'm already getting excited about what you're going to show us in the coming months!

    1. There appears to be no shortage of flooziness on this island, Penny ... I think it's contagious ;>]]

  3. you're making me want to make rusty paper!
    we had hollyhocks growing here when we moved in 23 years ago ... they've all but disappeared as hollyhocks are wont to do. we have a myriad of peonies, thick, fleshy, highly scented. wonder how they'd leech?

    1. Playing with rust???? DO IT!!!
      Someone in our dye group brought an armload of spent peony blooms ~ deep red ones ~ last season, and they gave us OODLES of gorgeous color. Not sure if the paler varieties would have much to offer ...

  4. i adore peonies. almost impossible to grow where i live. sigh. hoping to spot a few in California next week
    and yes
    the colours from peonies are delicious
    as are
    those from the hollyhocks above

    1. You may be able to try your hand with these peonies, India, as the gal who grew them is our site hostess for the upcoming workshop. I'll put a little bug in her ear to throw some in the freezer for you.

  5. Hollyhocks are spectacular in a summer garden and your dye pot certainly came up with some beauties.Thanks for the ID, India had already solved my problem but I neglected to change the post. Erigeron is a plant I have used as a border to beds as well as for softening steps in both my gardens yet this is the only plant remaining on the farm, so it is particularly precious until I can again propagate from it.
    So nice to have you leave a comment, much appreciated.

    1. Oh Arija, what a pleasure to have you stop by my digs, thank you.
      I hope to do the same thing with the erigeron here ... this one is a self-sower so I'm hoping to leave all the propagating work to mother nature. As for the upcoming hollyhocks, the wind will be the biggest challenge as they are not near as pretty when used as groundcover!

  6. YES! Great idea for your raised bed... Who needs veggies anyway... Get veggies at the farmers' market; get natural dyes from your garden! Whooo-hoooo!

    1. My thoughts exactly, Robin. We have several extremely talented food growers/suppliers on this island and they often have far more success with their produce than I do (my passion is just not growing food and it shows) so I figured, why not support them?! Then I can use the space for doing what I do a little better. Although I will confess that I am not giving up my Borlotti beans this year, no way!!