The OH has just got back from a trip to France. Part of the ad hoc itinerary was a visit to some kind of Gallic flower show/country fair.

Whilst there, one of the people the OH was staying with, knowing of my burgeoning collection of sempervivums, wanted to buy me one. The OH who was travelling to and from the continent as a foot passenger vetoed this.

I wasn’t hugely impressed with that news. After all is there an easier plant to transplant than a houseleek?

Just take a plastic flowerpot, stuff it with cotton wool, scrunched kitchen roll, or newspaper even, invert over the sempervivum, secure with an elastic band or sellotape. Then slip it in a carrier bag with some holes in and the job’s a good’un.


It’d take up next to no space – it’s hardly a Wardian case.

Mind you I do say all that as a person who once took an eight-foot canary palm on a train.

But no. No, that would have been too much effort.

As I say, I was a bit miffed. I mean, why tell anyone about the present they nearly got.

The situation was ameliorated by a bottle of what looks like a French version of port and a jar of what appears to be mustard with samphire.

Interesting and delightful I’m sure, but I’d still have rather have had the Sempervivum.

And to add insult to injury I came home to find the OH slathering “My” mustard with what appears to be samphire, over a sandwich.

Apparently they are “joint” presents.



I did so much on Sunday I can barely believe it – normally I just seem to charge around and achieve nothing.

Little Boots didn’t wake up too early for a change. I think Summer Hols are proving a bit exhausting, as the perisher just sat watching TV and reading for most of the morning. Meanwhile I got on with a mountain of washing up, while alternating between that, sorting the recycling, and sawing and treating some wood for a shelf on the greenhouse staging what I built.

At this point Little Boots demanded I make a cannon from the wildly disparate bits and pieces that had been wombled together from around the house. We ended up making crossbow that fired plastic corks out of some pieces of a wooden train track, elastic bands, masking tape and a peg.

After lunch we set off for a garden centre. I only wanted a couple of seed trays (the sort without holes), but ended up also buying some salad seeds, a rather jazzy Phormium, that Little Boots insisted on for the jungle area, and another Sempervivum, for the collection that I’m in denial about

We then dropped off some RHS notes and huge canister of slug pellets, I’d unearthed during “Operation Clear The Greenhouse“, at a friend’s place. Unfortunately my friend wasn’t in, although that’s probably just as well as she’d have had conniptions to see LB, anywhere near her greenhouse with the crossbow.

After stopping on the way home to do some recycling and then shopping we arrived back and whilst I got on with fitting the greenhouse shelf LB got on with lying in ambush and pinging me with corks everytime I appeared in the open.

I also managed later to squeeze in a spell down the allotment and came away with lots of bits and pieces. Not enough for anything other than a stir fry, but at the risk of sounding smug it contained garlic, chilli, red onion, French beans, runner beans, carrots (Little Boot’s own Red Dragons), cabbage, perpetual beet, chard and coriander.

Actually risk be damned – I am smug – even 48 hours later.


After seeing Toby Buckland on this week’s Gardeners’ World propagating Sempervivums, I am convinced I am a major horticultural trendsetter, after all, I did this lot a fortnight ago.

I have taken to drinking champagne and calling everyone “Daaaahliingg”

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 Sorry it’s out of focus, but I was very excited – or should that be “tired and emotional”?