secondhand Sempervivum (hens and chicks)

On days like today, drizzly, gray, I dream of living where I can eat outdoors nine months of the year, no matter that my Euro-mutt complexion tans in spots. I even imagine one day building an outdoor oven (from secondhand bricks, of course). However, I purposefully moved to Portland, Oregon, from the Bay Area several years ago to ensure a future water supply; I fear for the coming world in which there is both too much and not enough rain. But my soul (if there is such a thing) lives in a little whitewashed house with clay-tiled floors, hot-pink bougainvillea, sea breezes, and roaming chickens on an island in the turquoise Mediterranean—or maybe in Ojai. (I was, after all, born in California during a heat wave and came out of my mother all red-baked and heat-rashed.)

These hens and chicks I rescued (for free!) from a dear friend last summer who was ruthlessly culling her Sempervivum beds (she is a skilled and fearless gardener). I brought them home, bedraggled, and stuck them into this planter in regular potting soil, where, true to their Latin name, "ever-living," they, though waterlogged more often than dry and left to their own plantly devices (since I am not much of a gardener), are doing fine on this south-facing Portland porch.

red-tipped hens and chicks


  1. Such beautiful hens and chicks! And your photography is exquisite!! -Holly

  2. Thanks, Holly. Who needs a sofa when you can live on art? ;)


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