Saturday, July 29, 2006

On Zinnias and Peanuts

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 ….


Unknown said...

I found your blog via your comment on Hanna in Cleveland's blog... I had to check it out to see just what you were able to achieve on "just" a balcony. Gorgeous! Lots of color, lots of green, and even room for a few hollyhocks. I can't wait to keep following along. :)

David (Snappy) said...

I love collecting seeds from flowers on public display.So few people even notice them, much less know how to collect it, then grow it on.I am growing hollyhocks from seeds sent to england from Germany.One is growing well.Keep up your blog..

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