Saturday, June 2, 2012

small pleasures

Some years ago I gave sister Terri a gift of a class with me at the Chicago Botanic Gardens making a living wreath. We used ivy and pansies in the class and came away with a sweet one piece wire frame packed with sphagnum moss with pockets of soil planted with the cuttings provided in class. It was fun and simple and the results quite nice.
Well, I still have the frame waiting to be replanted some day, but in the meantime bought a larger one that has a "trough" and a top to clip over it.  My intention, for longer than I care to admit, was to plant this with hens and chicks. I've been growing them in an old strawberry jar and let's face it, they grow even when they tumble out of the jar into stones. So this winter I had lots of little babies hanging on til spring and was determined not to let another season go by without planting them.
I decided the frame needed some sort of lining to keep the moss and soil in place on so large a frame. In the past I've had good success using landscape fabric to line open weave pots and baskets. I do not like the look of the tacky brown coir liners they sell. So I set about sewing a piece of the landscape fabric to my frame.

I nudged the little "chicks" out of their pots and planted them up.
Now they're filling in nicely and what were chicks a few months back are now becoming little hens, creating chicks of their own.

I had thought to hang the wreath on the chicken yard gate. I still might, emptying out the chickens' watering vessels onto it when I changed their water. But I've been working on another project lately which may be a better backdrop for this, so we'll have to see. Meanwhile, I'm enjoying the small pleasure of seeing a long delayed idea come to life.


  1. A lovely imaginative wreath Sharon. Your 'hens and chicks' are known as house leeks in the UK or the latin name is sempervivum tectorum! I have not grown them for years but when I did I remember them being very productive!

  2. Oops, just realized my comment didn't go through the first time...

    I'm so glad you finally made your hens and chicks wreath!! Can't wait to see it hanging on its new home (ooooh, something secret!!).

    Great to see all that you've been up to lately. Keep the photos coming!

  3. This is such a beautiful living wreath Sharon!! I could picture it in a gardening magazine!! I have never heard of hens and chicks, although I do recognize having seen these plants before. I learn so much about different interests from reading yours and others' blogs.
    Sorry I've been away from commenting. I seem to be on a "mental vacation" lately - trying to figure some things out and very distracted!!

  4. Dear Sharon,

    What a beautiful wreath. I have a penchant for wreaths and make my family laugh as there is a quite a collection growing here. I have never thought of making a living wreath though! Clever and pretty.


    ps I also firmly agree about the birds presence providing joy and comfort in our daily summer lives. Their song is really exquisite.