Thursday, November 21, 2013

When Life Hands You Lemons

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade" is a proverbial phrase used to encourage optimism and a can-do attitude in the face of adversity or misfortune.

"Lemons" in this expression is used in the informal sense of the word, to indicate an unfortunate or inadequate situation, a meaning which probably stems from the sour and acidic taste of unsweetened lemon. "Lemonade" on the other hand, is a sweetened form of this same acerbic fruit, and so in the context of this expression, conveys the potential for pleasure and opportunity in seemingly bad situations.

That thought came to mind when I first spotted this on Hometalk.
What great use of what some may consider “ruined” pottery or trash.

I have wanted to make myself something similar ever since but I just could not bring myself to break my terra cotta pots.
Knowing how clumsy I am I figured it was just a matter of time before I had the perfect broken pot.
Funny enough, it was not me that knocked a plant off the table.
My hubby had the honor of that.
He was so apologetic then confused as he watched my face light up at the sight of terra cotta shards mixed with plant debris and potting soil on the floor.
(no plants were harmed, it was potted up into a larger pot and is quite happy despite the tumble)

broken pot
Just look at that pot. 
Isn’t it just perfect!

I have various Hens N Chicks in my greenhouse just waiting for a new home.
Actually, the chicks are what I plan on using. 


I mix lots of perlite with potting soil for good drainage.
Fill the pot as I hold the shard in place, trying all the while to keep some space out front to tuck the chicks.
(I had pulled the chicks off a couple days ahead of time to let them harden off a bit, this supposedly helps them not to rot before rooting)
It took a few tries to get it how I wanted.
The mix is very loose so it was hard to get it to stay in place.
Ta Da!
potted chicks1
I still need to get some pebbles to add.
They will help to keep the soil mix in place when I water.
Which is infrequently but the mix does tend to want to fall out still.
potted chicks2
This is a small 4 or 5 inch pot but it was fun to practice with, I am sure these will quickly outgrow this but they do not mind being transplanted.
For now it is the perfect size to sit in my windowsill.

A party in a pot.

Did you know that Hens and Chicks are of the plant genus Sempervivum which means Live Forever?
The name live-forever was given to the plant because of its “hardiness and durability.”

What makes this durable plant remarkable is that it grows in the most inhospitable places.
It can be found high up on windswept mountain slopes, where temperatures can plummet as much as 60° F  in just 24 hours.
It can take root in a rocky crevice with a smattering of soil.
What are some of the secrets of its endurance in such harsh conditions?

potted chicks2

The live-forever has succulent leaves, which carefully hoard water.
This enables it to take full advantage of all the moisture available from rain or melting snow.
Also, it grows in clusters that unite their strength to get a firm grip on their rocky support.
By taking root in crevices, it has some protection against the elements, even though there may be little soil.
In other words, it thrives by making the most of difficult circumstances.
potted chicks3

An example to us all. 
Despite its harsh environment or unfavorable circumstances it blooms beautifully.
Displaying that it does not just survive hardships but is determined to thrive with grace and beauty.

potted chicks4

So, in a nutshell, the Sempervivum makes Lemonade!!!

Now lets see if it will survive my tender loving care.  I will have trouble not overwatering, that is for sure.
I am on the hunt for different containers to make more living sculptures, any suggestions would be appreciated. 

I am also on the hunt for cold hardy varieties so I can plant more outside. 

This is my inspiration
(I could not find the original source for the photo so if you know where it came from please let me know)

I was thinking the path leading to my studio/crafting cottage would look gorgeous planted like this.

I was not always a fan of Sempervivums, I am not sure what changed my mind.
Do you have a good source for Hens N Chicks?  Just leave a comment and let me know. 

I am on the hunt.


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