"And from the nectaries of Hollyhocks,
The bumblebee, e'en till he faints, will sip."
Althaea rosea. - Chinese Hollyhock. - A great improvement has been made in this old-fashioned, ordinary flower, within a few years, that has brought it before the public under a new phase; and it now bids fair to become as popular as many other flowers have been when taken in hand by the florist. The following is an extract from an English paper : "Hollyhocks. - If I were not afraid of advancing a horticultural heresy, I should say that many amateurs prefer Hollyhocks to Dahlias. The Hollyhocks of Belgium and Germany had a great celebrity long before they appeared among us. The collections of the Prince of Salm Dyck, and of M. Van Houtte, of Ghent, have been much admired. In other places varieties have been obtained with leaves more or less lobed, more or less entire, more or less palmate, all with flowers large, full, or colored differently from those of other plants, being sometimes of a more or less dark mahogany color, at others of a delicate tint, and varying from the purest white to the darkest glossy black. Some progress has also been made in the cultivation of those plants by themselves. Since 1830, M. Pelissier, jun., a gentleman of Prado, has cultivated Hollyhocks, and from the seeds of a pink variety has succeeded in obtaining plants with flowers of a delicate rose color, and which, in consequence of the extreme delicacy of their tints, and regularity of form, may serve both to encourage perseverance and as a good type for seed. In the following year, from the seeds of pink flowers, he obtained a beautiful, brilliant, clear, sulphur-colored specimen, perfect in every respect. It is from the seeds of those two plants that he has obtained all the other beautiful and remark-able varieties which he now possesses, after a lapse often years from his first attempts. As a general rule, M. Pelissier prefers flowers with six exterior petals, with entire edges, well open, well set out, of a middling size, of a pure, clear, brilliant color, and forming a perfect Anemone. As the flowers expand, M. Pelissier removes whatever is not conformable to the type he has chosen, or is not of a marked color, and like a perfect Anemone. It is by doing this every year that he has obtained twenty remarkable varieties, the names and characteristics of which have been kindly furnished by him, and are given below. 1. Souvenir de Malmaison, delicate rose, flower very full; perfection. 2. Geant de Batailles, red, flower very full. 3. Ves-tale, fine pure white, flower very full. 4. Anais, rose, flower very full; perfection. 5. Chromatella, dark yellow, flower very full. 6. Jeune Euphemie, clear red, flower beautiful. full; perfection. 7. Reine Victoria, cinnamon-colored, shaded, flower very full. 8. Grand Peking, nankeen-colored, flower very full. 9. Amaranth, dark red, flower very full. 10. Labelle, dark red, flower very full. 11. Grand Colbert, dark rose, streaked, flower full, very perfect. 12. Marie Gabrielle, fleshy white, flower full; beautiful. 13. Matilde, clear cherry, flower very full. 14. Solfaterre, very clear yellow, flower very full. 15. Boule de Neige, beautiful white, flower well rounded, full. 16. Ophirie, yellow, with a tint of pink, flower very full. 17. Arlequin, clear, approaching to dark violet, spotted with white. 18. Desprez, white, middle yellow. 19. Proserpine, very dark red, flower very full. 20. Pluton, black, flower very full."
The writer has been very successful in producing many beautiful varieties from seed from Germany, for which he obtained the Horticultural Society's premiums two successive years.
The seed should be sown in June or July. The plants should be pricked out in groups where they are to stand in August. They will require but little protection. As the flower-stems begin to advance, they should be well staked. As soon as the flowers begin to expand, all inferior sorts should be pulled up. From good seed many fine double varieties may be expected in one hundred plants.
When a good variety has been obtained, it may be perpetuated by dividing the root every year, or by cuttings of the young shoots.
The Hollyhock flowers the second and third years after sowing, and then dies, unless its roots have been divided. There is no flower which makes a greater show, when planted in masses, than the different varieties in all their various colors, tints, and shades. It is in flower most of the months of July and August.