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what you need to know

May 11, 2012

It’s 5:37 am; sounds that can only be described as furniture pinball are coming from the kids’ room. I am sitting amongst an assembly line of envelopes, hollyhocks seeds, stamps.

Why are we all up at 5:37 am? Genetics and exuberance, I believe.

My friend Melanie recently asked me if I knew the people who read my blog. And I said something like “well, I know most of them, well not know know, like I’ve actually met them, but know know like I totally know who they are.”

Which clears up nothing. But someday someone will come up with a word for how you can know and like people without actually having ever met them.

And, any day now, 70 of you will be receiving little wheel-shaped hollyhock seeds in the mail – these tiny dry seeds that miraculously contain the potential of 8-foot high plants. Also, in the envelope are a palmful of morning glory seeds rattling around unpackaged, upsetting your mail carrier.

I so enjoyed addressing the envelopes, wondering how the hollyhocks would do in moist North Carolina or flat Ohio, and snickering childishly at the wonky Canadian zip codes (where letters and numbers mix!). And I wanted to write a personal note to each of you, because of how we know and like each other, or at least some planting instructions, but I also needed to go check on the furniture pinball game.

So here are some things to know about planting hollyhocks:

* Cover your Hollyhock seeds in a bit of dirt (any dirt should be fine, considering they grow in my gravel-packed walkways) (in pots or directly in the ground) and keep watered. That’s it! But, do keep them consistently wet until they sprout, so the germination inhibitors (fancy!) on the seed coat will break down.

* Their first “seed leaves” will look like this:

like little hearts holding hands

A week later, they will develop some true leaves and look like this:

Remember, being biennials, they will probably not bloom until their 2nd year, but they also won’t be any trouble either.

* You can water them as much or as little as you want. I don’t purposely water my hollyhocks, but I think they’ve worked out some arrangement with the lettuce that lives nearby.




* We’ve been on a chard binge lately.

That should be enough for breakfast.

* So many of you sweeties offered me seeds from your stashes. Okay, here’s what I could use: 6 sweet dumpling winter squash seeds, 6 delicata winter squash seeds, and 6 nastursium seeds. (I’m camping this weekend, so can’t respond to e-mails, but my return address is on your hollyhock seed envelope, so if you have seeds to spare, just send!)

* I told my friend Amy yesterday, on Rose’s birthday (THANKS for all the birthday comment love), that I wasn’t nostalgic for anyone’s babyhood, just happy to be where we are. Then I had the startling, breathtaking realization that 5 years ago I pushed a fully-formed baby—my baby!—out of my body. Then I went to Rose’s spring-sing performance, where 40 or so fresh-faced children sang their tirelessly-rehearsed songs, their voices ringing out like angel-poets explaining that at the heartbeat of the world is pure love.

And now I’m a teary mess, sniffling over Lionel Richie songs on the radio, blog posts about boys volunteering at the soup kitchen, and the very luckiness of another day with these kids of mine.

* If you entered the hollyhock giveaway (now closed) and have not received an e-mail from me requesting your address, e-mail me please (unless you know I have your address). And if you gave me your address and don’t receive your seeds by May 20th, let me know. And if you’re local, I’ve got your hollyhock plant. Come on by. (Nasha, I’m going to leave yours on your porch. xo.)

* Parenting E-Course Giveaway still open. Don’t parent without it.

* Still hearing that commenting is difficult on this site. And wordpress won’t talk to any non-paying users right now. So, I’m stumped. And sorry. And wondering if anyone has the skills to transfer me over to self-hosted Thesis site? Maybe we could work out a trade. I could send you 100 pounds of chard chips…or something.

Have a lovely weekend!

21 Comments leave one →
  1. May 11, 2012 6:44 am

    Yay! I’m so excited to receive my babies!! I’ve dedicated a whole bed in the garden to hollyhocks and lupine. I think they’ll look beautiful together. Oh, and hollyhocks flourish in the moist NC mountains!!

  2. teresa permalink
    May 11, 2012 8:24 am

    awww… rachel, it is so tricky to vocalize the “knowing” that comes from reading someone’s blog. celebrating their happiness and tearing up at the honesty that is shared. it is a bizarre form of community for sure, but i am so grateful for it! i get to know a lot of really amazing mamas that i would never have had the opportunity to meet. thank you for deciding to share your life, your loves, your days, and your seeds! so many blessings to you!!

  3. ike permalink
    May 11, 2012 8:35 am

    Up early in the morning here in california listening to the robins sing their hearts out and looking forward to planting those hollyhock seeds. Another reminder of our connection for which I am ever grateful!

  4. May 11, 2012 8:36 am

    It’s funny, I think I know you and we can be friends on-line but who knows if we could actually be friends in real life? I think so but I would be really nervous to really meet you for the first time! : )

  5. altaredspaces permalink
    May 11, 2012 11:03 am

    I love Hollyhocks and I’m just a tad sad I missed out on the giveaway. Mostly I’m so thrilled that you had so many takers and so much generosity in your heart and at your table. Though this doesn’t surprise me at all.

  6. Ann permalink
    May 11, 2012 11:49 am

    Thank you! I can’t wait. Have a wonderful weekend!

  7. Emmanuelle permalink
    May 11, 2012 7:41 pm

    Dear Rachel, as your happy readers we DO know you and your unique family quite well by now, and sharing an early morning in bed whith the four or you, while the conversation evolves (for instance) around favorite ticklish places and antlers to be found, is almost like meeting you “for reals” :o)

    Thank you for sharing with us these metaphorical and actual seeds from your heartful living, so your words and images can bloom in our own gardens, too…

  8. May 11, 2012 8:17 pm

    Yeah! Received my hollyhock seeds today. Thank you. Thank you.

  9. May 11, 2012 9:30 pm

    dang!! i missed the chance to get some of your hollyhock seeds!! that is a bummer. but. i am inspired to learn more about them here. thanks!! i have a little colony of them growing here, and they seem to be happier and happier each year. looking forward to this one!! i cry at every little school performance. a tiny bit. and definitely cry from lionel richie songs here and there too. cry baby cry. make your mother sigh.

    • May 11, 2012 9:31 pm

      ha! i don’t think that was the meaning of the beatles song, but it just fit so well for me right there. and then it made me laugh. hahah.

      • Rachel Turiel permalink*
        May 13, 2012 4:54 pm

        fits well for me too. xo

  10. Jamie permalink
    May 11, 2012 9:41 pm

    I’m with Kyndale, while I would LOVE to meet you in real life, it might sorta boarder on crazy. I haven’t really done a tally, but I’m sure that you are my real life hero, you know – if there was someone you would want to sit down and have lunch/coffee with, who would it be. Of course, I’m horrible at meeting people, so I would be a mouth breathing bumbling loon….
    I got my seeds today! Thank you and I look forward to seeing if I can make them sprout :)

    • Rachel Turiel permalink*
      May 14, 2012 9:11 pm


      I usually have a piece of lettuce in my teeth and a stain on my shirt, if that helps. But, thank you for the admiration. xo

  11. Nasha permalink
    May 11, 2012 10:37 pm

    Soooo happy that the hollyhock fairy came to visit today! They are deeply loved and appreciated—as are you and your delightful blogs! Putting them in the ground this weekend! Love to you and the fam!

  12. coleen permalink
    May 12, 2012 1:42 pm

    Hi Rachel, I got my seeds today! Thanks again, can’t wait to plant them!

  13. Cinda permalink
    May 12, 2012 3:12 pm

    I received my seeds today.
    Thank you, Thank you!!

    Can’t wait to sow and grow! : )

  14. 1vivigirl permalink
    May 13, 2012 9:48 pm

    i’m a new reader of your blog. and I just need to say: i love your blog. happy mother’s day.

  15. May 14, 2012 10:08 am

    i’ve got nasturtium seeds for you. :)

  16. May 14, 2012 2:44 pm

    I got my seeds! I can’t wait to plant them. Hopefully the squirrels will leave them alone.

    Thanks for sharing!

  17. May 17, 2012 6:42 am

    Just got ’em! Can’t wait to get them in the ground!! Thanks so much!!

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