• Two garden accidents and a happy ending

    by  • April 25, 2011 • Garden, Plant Profiles • 13 Comments

    OK, there are conflicting accounts, but seeing as it is my blog, I will say that the Tractor Man got too close to my container plant.

    Tractor hits old bucket

    Tractor hits old bucket

    Tractor Man came in after the accident full of advice for me, primarily to keep my garden further away from his driveway. No defense is needed for my part, so I will decline to show the ‘before’ photos of the driveway and how close it is to the front garden.

    Deciding to divide and set some of these babies free!

    Deciding to divide and set some of these babies free!

    Since sempervivum divides easily and this old bucket container was very crowded before,  the best solution was to deconstruct the relatively squashed ‘hens and chicks’ and spread them around throughout the garden. I didn’t count how many pieces there were, but it was a lot.

    The Mama is surrounded with babies

    The Mama is surrounded with babies

    Each rosette was surrounded by ten or fifteen babies.  I just left the families united, but you could really have a lot of starts if you wanted from a division like this…hundreds!

    Each 'Hen' has a single root, making it easy to divide and replant

    Each ‘Hen’ has a single root, making it easy to divide and replant

    You can see that each rosette can easily be stuck into the soil with its single root.   Easy peasy… Getting the last few out and …

    Second accident when the rusty bottom snags my hand while I'm shaking out the dirt

    Second accident when the rusty bottom snags my hand while I’m shaking out the dirt

    Oops, when I turned the squished bucket upside down to tap out the soil.  It tipped oddly and nipped my hand,  showing me that #1, I should have worn gloves working with rusty materials and #2, that I had healthy red blood.    Yes, I’ve had a tetanus shot, luckily.

    I better wear gloves now to keep the bandage clean.

    I better wear gloves now to keep the bandage clean.

    [Gloves or no gloves..? What do you all do? I like getting my hands in the dirt, but accidental brushes with unseen poison oak or cuts and scratches could be avoided most times.]

    OK, back to the succulents…

    A whole box of babies can now be planted...everywhere!

    A whole box of babies can now be planted…everywhere!

    I estimate, sixty or seventy mamas and babies total.  They will look great as an edging in this front bed, especially when they bloom.

    Starting with the rock edge where the bucket once stood, some hens and chicks are replanted

    Starting with the rock edge where the bucket once stood, some hens and chicks are replanted

    Sepervivums, meaning ‘Live-forevers’, are very hardy, to 0 degrees F, and are native to Southern Europe and the Mediterranean. These alpine succulents’ native habitat is from 3000-100,000 feet in altitude and there are hundreds of varieties in many colors and shapes.  Deer have not touched any of the succulents in my garden, but the ones I brought from Southern California did not survive the cold here. Succulents found at neighbors have worked well and those listed at High Country Gardens website.

    This one, arachnoideum, is so named because it looks to have spider webs criss-crossing the top surface of the rosette. The tips of the leaves are connected with thin cobwebby hairs. It’s sometimes called cobweb houseleek. They fill in the spaces they are given and look great growing out of nooks in a wall or in containers.

    They can be grown from seed, but are so easy to propagate by my favorite method, ‘stick-it-in-the-ground-and-it-grows’, so why do it any other way?

     This is what these Sempervivum look like when in July when in full bloom…

    Sempervivum arachnoideum Hens and Chicks 'Cebenese'

    Hens and Chicks ‘Cebenese’, Sempervivum arachnoideum

    All is well and no real damage done. There is still half the box to plant and maybe some will go into the rock garden after it’s weeded. There is a spot where the granite is actively decomposing where it might feel at home. A southern exposure is what it will  like there. The newly planted divisions may not bloom this July, but if they do or when they do, I’ll have an update.

    “Of all the Houseleeks neatest far
    The jolly Cobweb Houseleeks are.”

    -Walter Ingwersen,

    Northern California C&S Association
    Cactus and Succulent Societies in Southern California
    Note: One thing I do use often is Neosporin on my hands when I have any scratches from the garden.


    Sue Langley, a passionate gardener and photographer lives and gardens with her husband and Corgi, Maggie on 7 acres just south of Yosemite, Zone 7 at 3000 feet. She also manages the Flea Market Gardening Facebook page and website.

    13 Responses to Two garden accidents and a happy ending

    1. Tractor Man
      April 25, 2011 at 9:08 am

      Sue doesn’t understand the dynamics of a truck and boat having to thread their way around a narrow driveway as her garden steadily grows outward leaving Tractor Man little room to maneuver!

    2. April 25, 2011 at 9:41 am

      Oops! I see Tractor Man highjacked your blog to tell his version of the story, too 🙂

      Now, whose side should I take in this? Eeny, meeny, miny, moe…sorry, no choice for me…I’m Sue’s follower…I have to stick with her through thick and thin and, besides, she has a sore hand! I don’t like wearing gloves either, Sue & I’m forever snagging myself and rushing indoors to disinfect and get a plaster.

      Your garden will look wonderful when all those new plants grow big and strong (maybe Tractor Man did you a favour? But we won’t tell him so!)

    3. April 25, 2011 at 10:34 am

      I wear gloves except when seed starting…I do so love the feel of dirt on my hands though and your beauties in bloom are a sight to behold

    4. April 25, 2011 at 11:35 am

      Yes, Desiree, Tractor Man has more defenses, huh, even when he reads that I didn’t mind? What I thought was funny was the tire tracks on the bucket. Forensic evidence!

      Hi Donna, yes, I better wear gloves more often. The ones shown are my favorites with stretchy backs. I agree about feeling the dirt between my fingers. Hands are the best tool.

    5. April 25, 2011 at 3:35 pm

      Ouch! I hope your hand heals quickly. I wear gloves for hauling and hardscaping, but in the garden I prefer my hands to be au naturale. Unfortunately though, at least lately, my skin seems to dry excessively after being the garden, so I’m in a bit of a quandary on the glove front. I hadn’t realized that hens and chicks had such beautiful little blooms. I’ve never actually grown them, and the ones I’ve seen before haven’t been in bloom, or at least not that I’ve noticed.

    6. April 25, 2011 at 5:16 pm

      I’m also on the fence about gloves. Since we can unexpectedly encounter poison oak anyplace, I tend to wear them outside, and also to protect against prickly things and splinters etc. But I also like to get my fingers in the dirt. I’m up to date on the tetanus shot too – that’s important for sure. I am still edging my way towards succulents. I have a few dudleya and some do great and others get eaten. I also didn’t realize hens and chicks have those amazing flowers! Nice lemonade you made there, all in all!

    7. April 25, 2011 at 9:19 pm

      Looks like a happy ending, all right. As far as gloves I’m a bit of a nudist. The touch of the soil continues to be a major pleasure for me in the garden. And besides, I usually don’t always an afternoon out in the garden, pulling weeds. It just seems to happen spontaneously, without a pair of gloves in sight. And yes, I’m up on my shots, too!

    8. April 27, 2011 at 4:09 pm

      Hi Clare, yes, I do the same, but I didn’t think anything would happen, naturally! 🙂 While looking up info on this sempervivum, one site said they don’t bloom at all, and though I bought this for the spidery webs, the blooms are a bonus!

      Thanks Mouse! I do have my gloves right outside the back door, but unless I’m clipping or pruning, I usually just grab my knife, scissor-pruners and trowel. It’s a quandary, because you never know when an accident will happen.

      Hi James, Those two things are key, getting your hands in the soil which seems pretty basic to gardeners and the spontaneity of pulling one weed and finding yourself hours later still puttering!

    9. May 21, 2011 at 6:57 am

      I love succulents, and I didn’t realize how easy these are to transplant. Thank you for sharing your interesting tractor mishap story. 🙂 And I have an old galvanized mop bucket I’ve been wondering what to plant in. Hmmm, you’ve given me an idea!!

    10. May 22, 2011 at 7:56 am

      Thanks, Highdesertblogging! Yes they’re great…you just have to know which ones are hardy enough for cold weather. i could grow any in So Cal, but at 3000 feet I am guided by what the neighbors have here. This one, the S. arachnoideum, doesn’t mind the bit of snow we get.

    11. countrycats
      April 5, 2012 at 8:08 pm

      I prefer no gloves, but I know they’re good for me, so I wear them MOST of the time… Glad this all worked out okay!

      • April 5, 2012 at 8:15 pm

        Thanks, Countrycats,…I, too, like to garden in my bare hands, but wear gloves if ever I think it will be rough going. These oak leaves are sharp!

    12. George
      January 3, 2013 at 3:05 pm

      I have to agree with tractor Man I am the one who is responsible for plowing snow in my area and there is never enough room around roads to plow the snow back . A lot of people landscape to the edge of the road not allowing enough room for the occasional large truck or trailer and also for snow removal .

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