The malva plant is a mainstay in my cutting garden at this time of the year. There are both pink and white flowering malvas, and the blooms look like miniature hollyhocks. The flowers are followed by small round seed heads that are similar to wheel-shaped cheeses. Because there are so many of these on each plant, they self seed well, so each year enough plants pop up in my garden, and I have sufficient that the munching deer leave a few for me to enjoy in my bouquets.
The malva species are known as mallows and are related to the hibiscus, and the one I grow is M.sylvestris, or the Tree Mallow, which is a woody-based plant that forms two-foot clumps with clusters of cup-shaped flowers with notched petals that are lavender pink. I also have ‘Alba’ which has white flowers and ‘Zebrina’ with strikingly striped flowers. All are hardy zones 4 through 8, and all have interesting leaves that often are toothed or lobed.
Cicely Mary Barker wrote a poem that celebrates the mallow called “The Song of the Mallow Fairy.”
The poem can be found in various publications of Cicely Mary Barker’s Flower Fairy creations, including the titles below. If purchased through one of the links below, a portion of the sale benefits WFIU Public Radio.