Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Phallic Splendor of Hens and Dicks...I Mean Chicks

I sincerely hope I'm not the only gardener with an adolescent sense of humor, who goes around the garden at this time of year smirking and chuckling at my Sempervivums. Cause if I was the only one, that would make me, like, a total dork.




I also find myself really annoyed at them, because when they start doing this, it means they're going to die soon, and leave a hole in the landscape. Not a very big hole, but still, a hole. Heaven knows what I'd do if I ever grew an Agave that flowered. I think I'd be really pissed. (They die too, and they're a lot bigger.)




Sempervivums are monocarpic, which means they die after they flower.  Before they flower, the whole plant, which until now has been a pretty rosette that itself resembles a flower, starts to elongate, and gets flower buds on the tip, that make it look kind of like a little monster with many eyes.


Each of those is a bud that will open up into a tiny flower.





With my Whale's Tongue Agave -- it's just a little prick, but I hope one day it'll be a big one

Geez, it's a good thing men don't die after "rising to the occasion." On the other hand, that would make the world an interestingly different place.

14 comments:

  1. People have teased me about this very thing in my garden. My shrubs seem to either be tall columns or balls. Like the Arborvitae with two round Hebe's at the bottom. I guess those shapes just appeal to my senses :)

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  2. Alison, That's the best title ever, then you show great photos and leave us with a with a doozie of a thought. xo

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  3. Um, yeah. Interesting post, Alison and no you're not a dork at all. I will admit though, that I haven't really thought about the phallic splendor of Hens & Dicks. However, years ago when I was working at a nursery, I revealed my fascination with the Deer Fern with a diatribe that made my boss blush. I mentioned how the Deer Fern's male fronds stand straight up and the female fronds lay horizontal. No big deal right? Unless you're a freaking perv. :)

    Anyway, I agree that I don't like to see the hens flower because of the impending death. Nature definitely has a sense of humor.

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  4. Catchy title...great story...sorry for the death!

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  5. Living in the land of the agave one can't help but notice that agaves are definitely bigger, "embarassingly" so as Pam at Digging once so eloquently put it. http://www.penick.net/digging/?p=15832

    Interesting thought about the dying although agaves produce several hundred offspring on their way out making the process even more interesting.

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  6. I will never ever be able to say Hens and Chicks again, from now on it's hens and dicks! (they're doing the same thing all over my garden right now too).

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  7. They are lovely but tough plants, undemanding too too. Just shame about the holes they leave when the oldest plants flower nicely yet die.

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  8. Just like a man - does his thing and then falls asleep! So insensitive! We both got a big laugh out of this post this morning! Thanks!

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  9. I appreciate your sense of humor. As far as I'm concerned, if something doesn't elicit snickers from 7th graders then it's not really funny.

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  10. Haha! that just made my morning!

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  11. Alison, I lurve your sense of humor! I'm ashamed to say I never quite realized Hens and Dicks were monocarpic. How very unobservant of me. But I sure like your observational and photographic skills in this fun post!

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  12. I laughed and laughed so I must be a dork....love that last bit about men too...

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