This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
For many years there has been a steady progress in the Hollyhock in the form of flower, size, and texture of petals, as well as in color. The great attention which has been devoted to this plant by such eminent florists as Chater, Turner, Paul, and others in England, has been rewarded by the production of such beautiful varieties as leave but little to be desired. The new varieties of the last few years possess much excellence above those of an early date, not only in the form and outline of the flower, but in size and color, and in the length of spike.
Scarcely any flower is more attractive in the flower-garden than well-grown specimens of the improved varieties of Hollyhock; the abundance of their bloom, and the beautiful and brilliant shades of color, combine to render them universal favorites for the decoration of the lawn, shrubbery, and flower-garden. A well-grown plant, of from four to six feet high, when in bloom, presents a blaze of beauty which is not surpassed by any other plant in the garden.
I now propose to enter upon what would doubtless prove both a thankless and invidious task if undertaken in any other than a spirit of integrity and honesty of purpose, viz., the investigation of the claims of a few of the best of upwards of eighty of the finest varieties raised in Europe, and now flowering (August 1st) in magnificent condition at this establishment.