In the Garden:
Inland Northwest, High Desert
Rose mallows are dependable self-sowers in my garden, blooming from late summer until frost.
Simple Rose Mallows
There is a warm little place on the south side of my house. There, the wind is all but absent, and in this little oasis the prettiest flowers grow. Someone gave me a seed envelope labeled "perennial flowers" a few years ago, and it seems that everything came up. I was especially enchanted with the rose mallow.
Mallows Aren't Roses
Mallows are related to hollyhocks, not roses, and some look something like a miniature version of a hollyhock. This one, Sphaeralcea fendleri 'Venusta', comes up about July and shrugs off the first few frosts of fall. Its charming pink flowers reseed themselves all over the perennial garden, so I never quite know where to look for it the following year, but it always makes an appearance.
The Origins of Mallows
Mallows aren't native to the high desert but seem to like it fine. This little mallow, which only grows to about 2 feet high, is native to New Mexico and Arizona, where it grows along streams. It can be found in parts of Colorado as well. It does like a well-drained soil in a sunny, sheltered location, so that might be why it hangs around the Double Dober Rose Ranch here in USDA Zone 6.
A Carefree Flower
This pretty little pink-flowered perennial has never been chewed on by bugs in my garden. Even the grasshoppers have left it alone this year. Once the flowers pass, you can collect seeds in the fall and sprinkle rose mallow seeds in spring. They'll sprout and take care of themselves from there.
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