Saturday, 11 July 2009


I love hollyhocks. They are in flower in our garden right now, and remind me of 1970s evening dresses.

But perhaps I'm influenced by this little verse:

The stately Lady-Hollyhock
Has graced my garden bed for years,
Sedately stiffened in a frock,
All frills and ruffles to her ears.

Those lines are quoted in Six cousins at Mistletoe Farm by Enid Blyton. I've since discovered, they are actually by Sarah J. Day, and were first published in her 1900 collection of poems about flowers, "From Mayflowers to Mistletoe". This is in the public domain now, so you can view the whole poem, and her other flowery verses, here. But for those that don't want to scroll down and down, here's the rest of it:

For at the fashions one may mock
When one is born a Hollyhock.

Her gay companions creep and twine,
And riot in the summer breeze;
But she doth haughtily decline
To join in common sports like these;
Such indecorum needs must shock
A well-bred, well-starched Hollyhock.

"Our family pride will not permit
That we should bend or sway or sprawl,
We never care to loll nor sit;
One posture — the erect — is all
Befitting our patrician stock."
So spake my Lady Hollyhock.

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