Gardens are always good for at least a few surprises every season. Flowers that change colour. Volunteer plants that pop up in unusual places. Bulbs that have been relocated by the squirrels. My garden had offered up no surprises this year...until today. And what a surprise it was. I had never seen anything like it. Where could these beautiful blooms have come from?
I pushed aside some sage and there it was: a hen and chick. Actually, just the hen. No chicks. I planted this particular sempervivum in a container last summer only to have it ravaged by the aforementioned bulb-relocating squirrels. Having given up on the container arrangement, I found I couldn't give up on this plant. I transplanted it into the garden where the squirrels continued to bat it about. As the season ended, I knew I should bring it in for the winter. After all it had taken so much abuse already. I never got around to it. I assumed the hen and chicks was a goner. I was wrong. It survived and, as if to spite me, it is blooming beautifully. I'm not a huge fan of succulents, but this one won me over with its spunk.
Sadly, the determination demonstrated by this plant may be all for nought. I have read on the internet that a hen and chick will die after blooming. It takes so much energy to produce the long stalk and blooms that the plant is simply spent. Like I said, there is only a hen. No chicks. So if this plant dies, that's it. No one left to carry on. In just one afternoon I went from feeling the excitement of discovering a new bloom to the disappointment of knowing this plant might not be around for much longer. The only thing to do is wait and see and enjoy the stunning blooms in the meantime. If I'm lucky, this spunky succulent will prove the internet information wrong and surprise me yet again.