I was going through some photos from this past year and found this and suddenly remembered:
These are my hollyhocks in the late spring of last year (last year’s garden at my old place.) I grew them from seed, but they germinated not last spring, but the spring before that. I planted them in pots and they spent all summer with what I assumed were seed leaves and they never grew. Since they were still alive when the snow came, I brought them inside, where they persisted in living despite my neglect.
At the beginning of last year, my former landlord made some changes in my former backyard that resulted in an unsightly mound of dirt against the back fence. Figuring anything would be an improvement, I planted the hollyhocks (that had by then spent 10 months as seedlings) in the mound. Lo and behold they grew (only a little at first) and bloomed! They even attained normal hollyhock height before the end of this summer (although, I unfortunately didn’t get to take pictures of them then.)
Interesting what you can do with annuals on the east coast – I’ve never experienced anything like this in California.