I’ve been feeling pretty punk these last few weeks as election “stuff” intensifies. Someone stole our yard sign; a moderator on a TV debate treated our President worse than a dog; and eww!  Winter’s coming. Pttuuii!

But then my sweet, 90-year-old neighbor mentioned again how much she loved the French hollyhocks I had put in her birthday bouquet. She said she wanted to grow some, too. So I brought it over a bouquet of them with a suggestion to put them upside down in a paper sack when they were done blooming, and catch the seeds in the bottom.

She was so delighted, I took a picture and posted it on my favorite Facebook group. It’s where gardeners share their best plants, how to grow them and the creative ways they use them.

Much to my surprise, that picture attracted over 2,000 “likes” and nearly 300 comments! (Funny: I work my tail off on stories sometimes, and if I get 50 “likes,” it’s a big deal.) But many people said their grandmothers grew those flowers. They knew them as zebra mallows. If you boil down a bunch of the immature seedpods you can make marshmallow crème!!!

Then the requests came in for seeds, starting with my neighbor down the street, and stretching from West Virginia to Connecticut to Texas – a dozen requests in all.

Hey! Here’s a simple, cheap way to spread some cheer and make the world a more beautiful place! So I went out and harvested beaucoup ripe seed pods, squeezing them apart and separating them into 12 piles of tiny seeds. It took all afternoon, but it was fun. And I didn’t think of politics at all.

Each mailing required only one stamp. Cheap ministry! And I used the very last envelope in a box that had to date to the 1990s. Decluttering!

Best of all, my neighbor left out a sack of seeds in trade: maroon and pink full-sized hollyhocks – twice as tall as mine, and perfect flowers for making little dolls for the granddaughters. They are exactly what I had been wanting for the side of our barn. Won’t they be luscious next year? I felt happy, calm and fulfilled.

Let there be peace on Earth . . . and let it begin with hollyhocks!


These things I have spoken unto you,

that in Me ye might have peace.

In the world ye shall have tribulation:

but be of good cheer;
I have overcome the world.

–John 16:33

By Susan Darst Williams • 10/21/2020 • www.RadiantBeams.org • © 2020