Alcea rosea, Hollyhock
The digitally remastered music of The Beatles, released on CD this week is a real treat to listen to. Included with each album is a booklet of photos and with the "White Album" there are some great shots of the 'Fab Four' taken in the gardens of St. Pancras Old Church in the London borough of Camden . Apart from the tongue in cheek pic of them sitting in front of a "Please Keep off the Grass" sign , there are a couple of great photos of them standing in, and partly obscured by some towering Hollyhocks. The photos were taken in mid Summer when the flowers were at their peak . Here they may flower anytime from mid winter onwards, though because Hollyhocks are prone to rust, they are not grown as much as they used to be. A local gardener grows the beautiful double black/maroon variety Alcea rosea var nigra . According to Peter Valder in his book The Garden Plants of China, Hollyhocks have been grown as garden plants for a very long time , 'becoming by the 9th century a symbol of passing time'.