Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Hollyhock Dancers

Free-will hollyhocks growing outside our back fence.
The Rooney House, where I spent seven years of my childhood, had a row of hollyhocks on the south side of the house. Those hollyhocks were a favorite of mine for several reasons. First, they were really pretty! Each flower had a big pollen ball in its center, which fascinated the child that I was. Bees were attracted to the flowers; big bumblebees were always working away in them. We had been warned against bothering the bees, because they would sting and it would hurt.

One day, however, I had a Brilliant Idea. I knew just how to safely catch a bumblebee! No sooner had this great idea come to me than I put it into motion. I crept up to a hollyhock where a bee was busy harvesting the nectar and pollen. Quickly, I folded the flower petals around the bee. I'm not sure what I thought I was going to do with her after I had caged her, but that immediately became a moot point. The bee did not appreciate my Not-So-Brilliant Plan. Her stinger came right through the flower petal and into my thumb.

The hollyhock growing by my daughter's
vegetable garden.
I turned the flower loose, and, I'm sure, ran crying to Mama. My throbbing thumb was red and swollen. Lesson learned!

But the best thing about the hollyhocks was hollyhock dolls. Mother taught us how to make them. All it takes are two toothpicks, a blossom, and a bud that is just about ready to open.

1. Pinch out the pollen laden stamen.
2. Peel back a section of the leaves covering the bud--just a wide enough section to expose two "eyes."
3. Push a toothpick up through the blossom into the bud.
4. Push another toothpick through horizontally.

To me, the dolls were beautiful ballerinas, to be danced around to imaginary music. They don't last long, but hollyhock flowers were abundant and I could always make more.

1 comment:

  1. Those are absolutely lovely! I never heard of such a thing. Wouldn't they be cool centerpieces for a ladies luncheon, wedding shower or some such event?