As summer wanes, my hollyhocks mark its passage, each blossom a page in the season’s story. June finds an optimistic sprout fighting off the early advances of ravenous slugs and resident rust. July showcases a robust adolescent, standing tall above the sword ferns, taking on the foxgloves in a race to touch the sky. August arrives with a floral flourish; plants dotted with color and devoid of leaves. By month’s end, seed pods begin to chase blossoms up the stalk and portend the inevitable. It is now September, and a few crepe paper petals remain atop each browning tower, eyepopping jewels punctuating the last few days of warmth and sun–each a wand casting its final spell before the rains begin.