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Kids’ Garden, Hollyhock House

Make a Hut Out of These Tall Perennial Flowers

Hollyhocks (Althea rosea) are towering perennial (and sometimes biennial) plants that make perfect walls for a children’s garden house. A native of East Asia, these robust plants can grow 4 to 6 feet tall with stalks that bear numerous, huge blooms nearly 4 inches wide. The flowers come in a variety of colours, including white, red, yellow, maroon, salmon, and pink.

Materials to make a hollyhock house:

  • Hollyhock seeds, or hollyhock plants if you’re press for time and willing to invest more money in the project
  • Stakes or sticks
  • Twine
  1. Start with a sunny area of the garden large enough to make a one-room or multi-room house. Use garden stakes, or 8-inch sticks, and place them a few feet apart to outline the walls of your proposed home. Choose any shape for your hut, including a circle, square, or octagon.
  2. At the stake that marks the door to your house, wrap a substantial piece of twine around the stake and then stretch the twine to your next stake. Wrap it around the stake firmly and pull the s tight. Continue to wind the twine around the remaining stakes until you have reached the stake that marks the other opening to the door.
  3. Dig a 6-inch wide strip in the ground next to the outline and break up the dirt in the piece so that the seeds will have excellent, crumbly soil in which to grow. Plant the hollyhock seeds in the dirt about ½ inch deep and about two inches apart. Thin the seedling to stand 4 to 6 inches apart when they are about 4 inches high. Remember, you want plants to stand close together to form a dense wall.
  4. Hollyhocks are easy to grow. Just water your seeds and plants regularly. The plants will grow to build walls up to 7 feet high! Most hollyhock varieties would not bloom until the second year if they started from seed. You can get first-year blooms if you plant in February in warmer areas.
  5. Enjoy your hollyhock house. Hold a tea party or a secret club meeting within the blooming walls. Unlike similar garden houses made from sunflower plants, this flower fortress will return year after year if planted with perennial hollyhock varieties.

When your hollyhock house is complete, you will become the proud owner of a structure with the same name as a domicile built by the famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright. His Hollyhock House stands in Los Angeles, Calif., and bears representations of the tall, beautiful flower on the building’s walls, roofline, and columns.

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