This year we have some epic hollyhocks in the garden. There are pale yellow, frilly peach, soft pink and cerise varieties which rise as high as eight or nine feet. The only minor problem is that they have appeared in the most unlikely places in front of doors and windows, blocking the path the back door, in the centre of the gravel. But I don't care; I am so delighted to have them, that I simply walk round them, and everyone else is so used to these oddities and my gardening follies that they barely notice them.
I think this is an epic year for self-seeding. All that moisture has allowed seeds to germinate and thrive and grow to spectacular heights, whereas in many years they often fall metaphorically to the wayside (as in the Parable of the Sower and the Seed which made such an impression on me when I was little and wanting to grow flowers). At Tom Stuart-Smith's garden in June I saw these incredible self-seeded lemon verbascums which weren't there last year.
I love the way they've just been left to grow, a valued free gift from nature. Walking through and around them reminded me of columns of Roman ruins that seem to stand in the middle of the path/street because the four walls are no longer there to keep the walker signposted which makes them seem randomly placed (plus they are often now on gravel or shale).
And last week I came across these epic self-seeded verbascums and stipa grasses (below) that have taken over the paths at the eccentrically brilliant Waltham Place (organic, biodynamic, phenomenally tolerant of weeds and self-seeding, glorious hollyhocks too).
and the grasses made me think of lower level Roman ruins of walls.
(They must be great to walk through with bare legs.)