But let’s start with the successes … This year I’ve been really proud of my zinnias and my hollyhocks. The zinnias came from seeds taken from one small plant which I bought last year, and have done extremely well. Our conditions suit them down to the ground – hot sun, limy water... I also tried a trick I’d read about in one of my gardening books – peanut shells in the earth to aerate the soil and provide a gradual, non-nitrogen rich fertiliser. It seems to have worked.
I was also really pleased with my Hollyhocks. They were an experiment as I got the seeds from England and wasn’t sure if they’d take kindly to being pot bound, or to the temperatures here. But they’ve been wonderful. I had three – pale lemon, pale pink and a wonderful colour which isn’t mauve, isn’t purple, isn’t red and isn’t pink, but is somehow all of those rolled into one. They’ve been flowering for weeks, and though they’re now past their best are still forming buds. They lost a few lower leaves to red spider mite early on in the year, but since I dealt with that haven’t had a single problem.
I'd never seen hollyhocks in Milan before I
planted mine, but this year there’s been a glorious display of them growing along the tram lines near Piazza Cinque Giornate. There’s no way they could have got there by chance – someone wanting to brighten up the city must have scattered the seeds. And they were wonderful –about 30 of them in every colour you could imagine. Some of their seeds are now germinating on my back balcony ….
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21 hours ago