Handsome Hollyhocks

It’s been a great year for hollyhocks. I can’t remember seeing them look quite so good, bursting out of the ground like Roman candles and free from rust. Whether it’s a tower block estate in Hackney or a Yorkshire village they are happy so long as they’re in the sun and have plenty of space. I like the single flowered ones best – any colour will do.

The photos above were taken in the walled garden at Quex Park this weekend. I was attracted by the way the sun shafted through the delicate crepe paper flowers and by the apple-blossom subtlety of the colours. Below, a group of multicoloured hollyhocks shoots skywards from the base of the Victorian glasshouses. The sky is full of high cobwebby clouds – a rare sight this summer.