The mystery plant that has been growing in the flower garden out front has finally been identified. I've been tempted to pull that thing up more than once because it looked pretty weedy and no one could tell me what it was, but the resident gardener insisted that it wasn't a weed and in fact had been planted last year by our daughter.
I can now report that the little nondescript bushy thing is not a weed. In fact, it's not little or nondescript anymore but big, bold, and abounding with purply-pink blossoms that attract abundant hummingbirds, butterflies, and bees.
Yes, we have hollyhocks. The tallest blossoming stems are seven feet tall and there are plenty of 'em. Recent dry conditions have left our other flowers looking puny and limp, but the hollyhocks are thriving and so, apparently, are the hummingbirds. Now I just need to find out how to take care of them so they keep thriving.
Most of the mystery plants that pop up in our gardens are invasive pests, so it's a nice switch when a mystery turns into a pleasant surprise. And to think: I almost pulled it up!