That’s good ole’ Hens and Chicks to me and you.
When budgeting for plants I keep a mental list of plants I would not pay more than 3 bucks for. Plants like basil, oregano, thyme, sedums tend to fall into this category. And most especially hens and chicks. In fact I don’t think I’ve paid more than 2 bucks for a puffy container of these reliable and mega-easy succulents.
But with a name like ‘Pacific Sexy’ I couldn’t NOT fork out the $7.99 + applicable taxes for this little number. Because, HELLO, it’s name is ‘Pacific Sexy.’ And it sparkles an iridescent red when the light hits just so. And by “just so” I mean after 10 minutes of tilting and adjusting. Plus it makes a mean cappuccino and feeds the cat when we’re away.
Next time I’ll just name the 2 dollar variety ‘Hot Baby Disco’ and save the 6 bucks.
I have a great deal to tell you about the gardening I have been doing over the past weeks. But before I can do that the marginally anal retentive side of me demands that I address my appearance on The National last night. The segment was arranged at the last minute and we had not yet done our seasonal clean-up so there was winter junk strewn about. I had hoped the camera guy could do some “creative” in-camera editing but knew that probably wasn’t the case since he was using a very wide lens. When he walked over to the far end of the deck to take shots of the whole thing I knew my dirty secret was blown and that viewers across Canada would see that sometimes my little rooftop oasis looks like crap! And I imagined that they watched the segment and thought to themselves why go to the trouble when it looks so awful.
In an effort to ever-so-slightly redeem myself in the eyes of the world I present to you photographic evidence that a rooftop container garden IS a beautiful thing.
You can see lots more pictures taken of the rooftop garden over the years on my Flickr account.
Okay so the succulents are half-dead and it’s actually a corny window display for a glasses store but this shallow Plexiglas planter box found while walking through Portland, Oregon is at heart a good idea. Shallow-rooted succulents like hens and chicks would do well in a container like this — the store owner just didn’t realize that easy-care doesn’t mean, “Ignore it and it will take care of itself.”
I’m not 100% positive as to how this was made but my guess would be that the maker very simply glued together some cut pieces of Plexiglas with water-proof silicone. You would need to apply the silicone both inside and outside of the seams to seal it tight.
The biggest issue with a project like this is the lack of drainage which can be easily fixed by drilling a few holes in the bottom. Or if you’re growing indoors where water dripping all over the place is a teeny, tiny problem then you can put some aquarium gravel in the bottom as a reservoir and take care not to overdo it when watering.
I’m currently in Northern California for the Blogher Conference. I’ve been to these parts once before but the massiveness of the plants, most especially the invasives really stand out this time.
I assumed this patch of renegade nasturtiums was a random fluke. Until I turned the corner. And the next one. And the next. And then I saw the hillside covered in nasturtium flowers of every colour with leaves the size of dinner plates. No one warned me that here in California nasturtiums will have you for breakfast.
This is what happens when radishes roam free — all plant no radish. At least the flowers are tasty.
I will admit that I did notice the fennel last time. It’s hard not to since the stuff is everywhere! First I came upon this fennel forest and then I noticed….
…BLACKBERRIES! I proceeded to gorge myself on the ripest of which there were many. And by many I mean enough to keep the multitudes bloated on blackberry pie. There have been past discussions on the forums describing the impenetrable invasiveness of blackberries in the North West. I want you all to know that I get it now. For real.
You have to see how jade grows in Southern Ontario to understand why this scene is such a marvel. Our sad little plants live in sad little pots on window ledges where they remain sad, and little for decades.
I have to admit that it was a 1997 trip to San Francisco that first inched geraniums off of my hit list. Until that point I was only familar with the pathetic little annuals peddled through school fundraisers and shotgun planted into every maple leaf motifed public garden across Ontario. These twisty, tangled sculptures are a whole lot more interesting.
The first thing I would do with a garden in this climate is grow a HUGE rosemary bush. Even the snails that eat the rosemary bushes are cool.
Aeoniums rate high on my list of favourite succulents so to find one this beautiful and in bloom no-less was a huge thrill.
I did a bit of houseplant repotting yesterday afternoon, a chore that is sadly neglected at this time of year in favour of outdoor gardening tasks. But I have a shaky reputation to uphold and had reached the point where I no longer wanted people to come by for a visit should they happen to see the state of my succulents.
I bought this Boweia aka False Sea Onion last Oct while giving a gardening workshop at Ladyfest Guelph. Wherever I go, I always manage to find a plant to purchase. Thankfully I am not allowed to bring plants back over the border when I travel into the U.S or it would be mayhem.
The plant’s ‘greenery’ died back over the winter as predicted and came back to life this spring.
Look at it now! I am often attracted to plants that are like strange alien lifeforms but this succulent is one of the more absurd in my collection.
Boweia aka False Sea Onion. Neither related to the onion or the sea. The greenery dies back to the ‘bulb’ and the plant enters a dormant state.