I've never had Hollyhocks before so I should be grateful. To the naked eye, these look black. My iPhone camera found some color. This is not a color I would have chosen, but it's what I ended up with. Whatever.
Now, I need some advice from my English friends. In the states, we all covet an English garden. My take is that for the most part, it is mass plantings and correct me if I am wrong. I am thrilled with mine, except for one thing. Besides the gophers and moles, I am now over-run with Norway rats. Gray with rounded noses, shorter tail and ears and not as large as brown rats, they are adorable, and very friendly I might add. I have had to move the bird feeders down next to the lake. The rats eat the seed and try to climb the poles and jump from tree limbs etc.
I have fed birds for forty years. It is a joy. Google says I have to get rid of bird feeders and clear out all foliage. WTF? I quit filling the feeders, but I'm not mowing/clearing out my gardens. I've thought about a bb gun, tried traps and even went to buy a humane trap. I couldn't kill them up close and looking at me. Poisons are out because of the dogs.
They've had three cases of plague next-door in New Mexico and with all these rats.... What to do?