The Hedge: Althea, Right at Home
I am a flower of Sharon,
a lily of the valleys. -- Song of Solomon 2:1
I'm so surprised. All this time, I've thought that Althea, Hibiscus syriacus, is native to Texas. Why I would think that, I freely admit, is something of a mystery. Then I thought, given its Latin name, that it is must be of Levantine origin. To further confirm that idea -- no presumption this time -- it's called "Rose of Sharon", as in the Plain of Sharon in Israel. But nope! Current opinion is that it originated in China.
Wherever it came from, it's a well-loved plant around the world. It's even the national plant of Korea.
It's certainly popular here in Texas. A member of the mallow family, it can grow very large; but it's not an aggressive plant. Not only are the beautiful blooms appreciated by gardeners; butterflies and hummingbirds like them, too.
I don't know what particular variety mine is. I really must start keeping better notes. But it's double-petaled, seems pest-free, and is about six-feet tall at the moment. It's been blooming away since the beginning of June.
It's the first Althea I've ever grown. I wish I had room for more.
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For years, my husband and I worked at creating a series of gardens on our four-acre lot in a rural, Texas subdivision west of Houston. I have to say, it was a fantastic experience. Now, I have a pocket garden on a golf course.
From me to you with a smile.
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