No, I realise it doesn't look that exciting to you. For me, however, this is the culmination of years of floral ambition.
For a long time I thought hollyhocks were a made-up flower which only existed on the sets of films like The Wizard of Oz. Slowly I came to realise they are growing plants, and also to dream of one day having a cottage garden. Up till now this was completely unfeasible as it isn't possible to make a cottage garden in a row of pots outside a London flat, nor while on the move between different cities - carrying your plants in those same pots. However in our latest house, and following the tearing up of our disgusting back yard to be replaced with a lawn and a few additional features, the creation of A Flowerbed, and planting of it to resemble a border, became a reality.
Each year I read Robin Lane Fox's advice not to buy expensive seedlings, usually dispensed in June in a column which mocks those willing to pay the extortionate price of same while smugly recounting how many plants RLF has grown from seed or through division. I smile wryly because all the Piglet's and my seedlings will by then have been eaten by slugs and snails, or dried out while we were away for a few days, or rotted because we were away for a few days and it rained like it only rains in South Wales and wherever Noah launched his ark. However! two years ago I planted some hollyhock seeds and one of them survived. I placed it tenderly in the flowerbed, against a wall where I had originally envisioned a whole row of hollyhocks like toy soldiers, waving hilariously above the roof level.
The slugs feasted royally on its leaves and I discovered that hollyhocks are biennual - you have to plant and nurture them in the first year for them to flower in the second year. Winter was long and snowy - the poor little raggedy-leaved seedling was buried for weeks in snow and I gave up on it. Imagine my joy when it started growing back again this spring! I could no longer remember which kind of hollyhock it was (I'd planted seeds for two or three). I watched as it spired upwards against the whitewashed wall, waiting for the moment when it stretched above the (rather low) outhouse roof. After all these years, I didn't dare hope it would make it to flowering.
Yet here it is, a Hollyhock 'Crème de Cassis', which I have grown from seed myself.