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The paper flower for August is the hollyhock

My paper flower for the month of August is the hollyhock. These beautiful flowers, symbol of fruitfulness, are a real favourite of mine. My first recollections of hollyhocks were as a young adult where they grew up around the lychgate of the village church, at that time it was my quintessential image of a perfect British summer.Years on and now growing in my garden in the south west of France they are a symbol of long mellow sunny days.Hollyhock flowers bloom at the top of a central stem, tall spires which can grow up to 3 metres tall.The plants, related to the hibiscus, originated in Asia but were already in Europe by the 15th century.These biennials grow in full sun in well-drained soil, will flower from midsummer to the autumn and are available in a large range of colours.

The whole of the plant is non-toxic and useful.  Although the petals are edible, they don’t have, in many people’s opinion, a great taste or texture but look beautiful as a cake decoration or as part of a salad.  …

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