20 July 2017

Flowering hens

Sempervivum tectorum, commonly known as "house leeks" or "hens and chicks", just keep spreading in our back yard. Right now, they are flowering. Sempervivum means "always living". They're called joubarbes in French, or Barbe de Jupiter. Some people refer to them as petits artichauts.

I have them planted in pots, planter boxes, and  concrete blocks all around. Some are growing directly in the sand and gravel that surrounds the house as a kind of patio.

Sempervivum plants are the kind of plants I like. They are hardy. Drought doesn't bother them. Freezing weather doesn't hurt them either. They seem to love heat and full sun. They survive and spread gradually without being invasive.

This species is native to southern Europe and North Africa, apparently. They obviously also thrive in the Loire Valley climate. They grow on rooftops and were thought in ancient times to protect houses from lightning strikes.

The first ones I had were given to me by a woman who lives on the other side of the village. G. is nearly 90 years old now, and she doesn't get out and about as much as she used to. I thank her for these plants, which I've been growing for a dozen or so years now.


  1. We left Grenoble at noon yesterday and made it to Châteauroux where we got around 8:00 pm, without too much hassle and almost no rain. We're leaving this morning, I hope, if my niece gets ready early, on our way too Bayeux. À suivre.

    1. Châteauroux? Not Vierzon?

    2. chm, you're headed to Bayeux? Wonderful! I was just there in June, a few days after visiting Ken. I wish I had been able to go to the art museum there, which looked to have a good collection. We very much enjoyed finally seeing La Tapisserie de la Reine Mathilde (not so much the restaurant at the hotel Reine Mathilde, however). I am very pleased to be able to think of you there, on the same streets!

      Ken, it's a very nice connection that you have, with the first pot of Hens and Chicks having come from a woman in your village.

    3. Judy, I have been to Bayeux many times over the years since a childhood friend lives there. She's my niece's godmother and it is to see her once more time. The first time I saw the so-called "tapisserie" was seven decades ago and the museum thst houses it now was not built yet. The tapisserie was exhibited accros the street from the cathedral in what is now what I believe is a museum of the Bayeux ceramic.

  2. Succulents are so nice and easy to care for. The blooms are nice, too. I like your photos from yesterday, too. Lovely geraniums and hydrangea out front!


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