Have you ever grown mallow in your garden? Over the summer, I have seen mallow in several forms, colors and sizes in various gardens. It’s a beautiful plant, with simple but lovely flowers, and because we’ve never grown it, I had some homework to do!
I’ll tell you what I learned! Mallow belongs to the althaea officinalis family, and originally called Africa home. The plant has an upright growing habit, and can grow from three to six feet tall. The mallow is related to hollyhocks, and the flowers bear a similarity to each other. The plant blooms in later summer, August and September, and once the flowers bloom, the plant has amusing little seed pods that look like miniature round cylinders of cheese, and indeed, that’s what they are called: cheeses!
The beautiful flowers are funnel shaped, and can come in a variety of colors from white to pale pink to mauve. The plant likes sun, and makes a very attractive addition to your garden in areas where you need something taller as a backdrop, such as along a fence or along the side of a building. I read a very good article by Patrick Lima in “Canadian Gardening”, and this is part of what he had to say: that we can start the seeds indoors, or we can sow them outdoors in our flowerbeds. They may not always bloom the first year, but may gather their strength in the first year and then bloom in the second. Though they are “perennial”, they do not live very long; after three or four years they begin to die out in the middle of the plant. Patrick said that those younger plants give the best display.
They sound like a good, easy care addition to our gardens, don’t they! Although, we have a dear friend who has a very tall variety of mallow in his yard, and he commented that they do tend to take over the flower beds. That is something we should keep in mind before we casually toss the seed into the soil! I guess when they do well, they do very well!
I also learned this interesting little factoid about mallow: have you ever wondered about the marshmallows we eat? It’s a name that came about because long ago in ancient Egypt, when the Egyptians weren’t busy building pyramids, they managed to figure out how to use part of the root of the “marsh mallow” plant to make a soft candy, the earliest cousin of today’s “marshmallow”. Isn’t that something?
So let’s begin our gardening “to do” list for next year, and jot down “mallow” as a plant to try in our gardens!
Join us at the next meeting of the Yorkton and District Horticultural Society tonight, Wednesday, October 17 at 7:00 p.m. in the Sunshine Room at SIGN on North Street. The theme of the meeting is “an interactive evening”, and every horticultural club member is asked to bring five helpful hints on any aspect of gardening. Whether you have tips on how to have evict bugs from your garden, how to make hollyhocks bloom better, or the best way to store glad bulbs over the winter, then jot them down and bring them to the meeting to share them and compare them! Horticultural members, please remember to bring your garden pictures to add to the club photo album. It’s always great to see the beautiful results of our gardening efforts!
We know it’s coming, but hasn’t the cooler weather been a bit of a shock! Still, I love this time of year! Before the snow comes, take a pair of snips out into your yard and go on a bit of a scavenger hunt for any interesting seed pods, pine cones, or twigs that you can snip now and use later on as part of a holiday display. They are still beautiful gifts from the garden!
Have a great week!