Jose, Hollyhocks, And A Garden Full Of Memeories



Happy Sunday, everyone!

I couldn’t resist posting some pics of some hollyhocks that have brought me great joy this summer. These are no ordinary hollyhocks that are growing in my yard but flowers of great sentimental meaning. In order to tell you why these flowers bring me such joy I need to give you a little background information.

I have been blessed over the past several decades to have had many good neighbors. Good neighbors have the ability to make coming home in the evening, spending time in the yard, and going about your daily business a joy. Bad neighbors can make life very stressful.

For 10 years I had the privilege of having Jose as a neighbor and a friend. Jose was a retired college professor and spent much of his day tending to his gardens. It was easy to get to know Jose, he was naturally friendly and interested in people from all walks of life. From spring until fall it was part of my daily ritual to spend some time in the evenings out in the yard talking with Jose. We would talk about everything: education; gardening; families; faith; and the different paths with all of their twists and turns, that we find ourselves on as we travel through life. Each evening before heading into our respective homes Jose would say in Spanish ” sleep with the angels.”  I would always reply back ” you too!”

One of the plants that Jose grew in his garden were hollyhocks. They were very abundant in his yard. He explained to me that he particularly liked hollyhocks because they were common plant founds in the home gardens of New Mexico, which is where he grew up. For Jose it was a touch of home in Colorado. He went on to explain that in New Mexico hollyhocks are known as Los Varas de San Jose, or the Staff of St. Joseph. I immediately liked the name because Jose liked a plant that bore his name and I also thought it was very fitting that a symbol of St. Joseph should protect the entrance of people’s homes with a beautiful flower. For 10 years I admired Jose’s hollyhocks and not one seed ever made it into my yard. In fact, I tried several times to purchase some hollyhocks of my own at the local garden shop with no luck.

A little over a year ago Jose passed away. There is not an evening that goes by that I don’t look over to his yard and hope to see him there. Old habits take time to fade away. The universe always surprises me and I do have a permanent memory of Jose that arrived this spring. For the first time Jose’s hollyhocks have spread into my yard. The flowers in my photo provide a beautiful memory of my summer evenings in the garden talking with Jose. Make of this story what you will but every evening I look at the hollyhocks and to me it is an assurance that I am “sleeping with the angels” and that St. Joseph and Jose send their greetings.

Thanks for stopping by the blog!

Until next time,



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