Tag Archives: Hollyhock

365 Frankendael day 353

More and more green life by the second!

Japonica flowers are still blooming vibrantly and tastily.


And also lovely patches of Purple deadnettle (Lamium purpurum) in flower.


They make a nice addition to general cooking and have many medicinal virtues.

And probably my favourite street herb Hollyhock (Alcea rosea) is really starting to leaf up now.


I met a woman at the local playground yesterday who mentioned using Hollyhocks as growing support stakes, amongst tomato plants. A lovely idea.


365 Frankendael day 296


Today was the first meeting of the first River of Herbs course. We Al gathered in Oosterpark, sure some wild garlic bread sticks, tried to stay warm and liked at ways to get started with urban herb gardening that can benefit people and pollinating insects. It was so beautiful, snowy, bright and I was amazed that all but a couple of booked-on people turned up!


Have a look at riverofherbs.org for further information, to download the booklet every one received today and to get involved.


Here’s a snowy but thriving Hollyhock (Alcea rosea) photo, on the Middenweg as I travelled home from the meeting. I think this of the perfect urban herb for Amsterdam!

365 Frankendael day 292

A lovely little Sedum of some succulent sort, in a geveltuin. Not many Sedum species are tasty but most are edible.


These plants can grow in three thinnest of soils and make an obvious choice for green roofs.

Also today lots of developing Hollyhock plants. This one has found the pefect  niche in pavement alongside a drainpipe.


The dried material coming up from the plant us last season’s flower stalk.

365 Frankendael day 240

This is my last post from Amsterdam for a little while. If you see any herbs in the city, which you would like to photograph and email to me, then please feel free to do so. I’d really like to keep this project alive whilst I’m away – to show that there really are edible and medicinal herbs growing in cities like Amsterdam, every day of the year.


Here is a young Hollyhock plant, spring up most likely from seeds shred from nearby plants.


Here is Hairy bitter cress, it makes a tasty peppery addition to winter salads or is very nutritious when lightly cooked a leafy vegetable.

365 Frankendael day 184

The Amsterdam marathon is taking place as I write this. We caught a glimpse of the leading group as they sped along Hugo de Vrieslaan this morning.

Tomorrow morning I shall be up before the lark, to join the English Breakfast Radio show in Amsterdam. Presenter Cathy joined one of my September herb walks. I look forward to meeting her again, along with her team. To tune in and here us at around 8am tomorrow, tune in to 99.4FM, look at http://www.englishbreakfast.nl or watch the show (7-9am) on Salto 1 TV. I hope they are gentle with me at that early hour!

Haven’t had time to take many other photos today but did spot this beautiful clump of Hollyhock (Alcea rosea) foliage. It is often realised that Hollyhocks look like Marsh mallow plants and sure enough, the two species are very closely related. In western Europe only the flowers of the plant were used medicinally and the leaves were used as pot herb. All parts can be used however, for many different ailments. It is best known as a nice remedy for sore throats and minor chestiness. Most simply, you can steep the flowers in honey to make such a soothing remedy or drink tea, made from any part of the plant.


At this time of year, few flowers remain on city Hollyhock plants so we are left with the foliage. To use it, be careful only to harvest a small proportion of a plant, perhaps one medium sized leaf in every five.

Here’s my Recipe for Hollyhock Leaf Ointment

Clean your harvest, surface dry it thoroughly (clean tea towel and a warm place) and chop it finely.  Add it to some warm ghee in a small, heavy based saucepan. Add enough ghee to allow for free movement of the chopped herb in the melted ghee.

Simmer really gently, stirring constantly, until the foliage starts to crisp up. When this happens, remove from the heat and strain the infused ghee through a cheesecloth or similar super clean fabric.

Store in an airtight container and use on rough skin. Amongst other things, Hollyhock is an emollient, it has the ability to soften skin.

Remember to return the used herb to the land. Hollyhock infused ghee should keep well for a year or so, I prefer to refrigerate mine. Discard (to the land) if it begins to look or smell peculiar.

Hollyhock Love!

If I was forced to have just a single herbal mission in life, I think it would be to teach city people just how useful Hollyhocks are and to encourage their proliferation and use (is that two?). Hollyhocks are a perfect urban herb, in my opinion! They have a multitude of uses, many linked to soothing or maintaining a healthy respiratory systems. They grow really well in sandy soil, especially with the support of a building beside them, they look spectacularly beautiful for months long and they are so easy to harvest, store and use.

In my mind Hollyhocks are an urban blessing. They cohabit with the people who most likely live in pollution and can solve many of the ills which air pollution brings upon us.

Here’s a link to a colorful post about Hollyhocks from a blog called Choosing Voluntary Simplicity.

Here again is the Plants for a Future link, about Hollyhocks. Prepare to be impressed by its uses around the globe 😉

365 Frankendael day 153


I bought a few more lovely storage Kilner bottles, from a shop around the corner if my house today. On the way from it, I found a street full of well tended hollyhock plants, with this years flower stems removed and the first year plants, which should flower next summer, taking over the plots. Such a useful city herb.


Here is another wonderful herb, seen less often in the city, Hops (Humulus lupulus), growing up and over the front fence of the NH Tropen Hotel. What a wonderful choice of herb. Perfect for a good night’s sleep. Now is a good time to gather the seed heads, they are used to stuff dream pillows and make numerous remedies.


At the bases of the same fence other plants have crept in. this one looks like Hazel. I didn’t notice any nuts.