Friday, 18 February 2011

Silver sempervivums



Sempervivum  means 'forever live' and that's pretty accurate - mine have been in their pot for eight years and have flowered, had umpteen babies, never even sniffed any fertiliser and yet still look lush and happy. It's this ability to survive that led them to be so steeped in European folklore:



They were associated with the Roman God Jupiter and were thought to guard against lightning, fire and storms, so they were grown on thatched cottage roofs as a means of protection.

They were used as husband selection devices: suitors were presented with a young plant and the gentleman with the healthiest house leek after a set period of time was thought to be eligible.


































They were supposed to scare away witches and were a used to treat warts, corns and burns: quite handy on Halloween or as a living medicine cabinet.

I love their other name -  hens and chicks.



I'm hoping that tiny silver versions will look good round the neck or in the ears. If they fend off lightning then so much the better. They're in my etsy shop.

29 comments:

Lina said...

Beautiful Emma. I love the back story too - we had lots of these in our garden in England (at least I think they were the same things) and was told they were often called kitchen leeks? Have a lovely weekend.

Lina x

Tabiboo said...

Emma they are gorgeous and I love the history behind them. Witchy and warts!

Hope you're all feeling better now - the little Boo has been very, very poorly this week.

Have a wonderful weekend,

Nina xxx

crafts@home said...

They look gorgeous, what a fascinating history behind them. Sue :)

Rachel said...

Delightful!

I think houseleek used to be used in cosmetics in the medieval period, as well - probably they were ascribed anti-ageing properties!

Sue said...

They look like tiny globe artichokes.
Even more beautiful in silver though.

greenrabbitdesigns said...

Gorgeous Emma. :)
I love all the folk lore, especially the husband selecting!!
Enjoy your weekend,
Vivienne x

acornmoon said...

They are so pretty. Hens and chicks, I never knew that!

Belinda @ Wild Acre said...

Gorgeous! LOVE them as earrings especially. Tactile and organic feel, two very important aspects for me!

Gina said...

Very pretty!

dottycookie said...

EEEEEP!

Love the idea if using them to select a husband. Not sure mine would pass the test ...

Itchin' Stitchin' said...

Oh my - these are breathtaking - I really love the small necklace - Going to Favorite these right away (I need to start hinting to my husband now what I want for my birthday :)

Floss said...

Oh, Emma, did you know these are my favourite plant? I have lost of posts to prove it, if you search my blog...

My grandma introduced them to me when I was tiny, calling them 'Hen and Chicks' and showing me the baby chicks around the mother hen.

So I really hope you have some in your shop next time I have Christmas money to spend!

Thimbleanna said...

Oh Emma! Your work is always so beautiful! It's another home run! (Does that phrase make sense since you don't have baseball LOL?)

Tara said...

They translated beautifully into sliver jewelery. Lovely. I didn't know the folklore behind hens and chicks. It makes me like them even more.

Anonymous said...

How absolutely lovely. So unusual and a great back story. Amazing talent. C.x

marigold jam said...

Love the jewellery and thanks for the info - you learn something new every day in bloggland!

Jane

Naturally Carol said...

I have some of these in a bonsai pot that my husbands mum planted about 30 years ago in the same pot..I have given them a little bit of new soil every now and then..that's all. She has since died but the plants live on...I've noticed that if I don't feed them at all, every generation gets a little smaller! Your silver variety are so clever..delightful!

Jenevieve said...

Gorgeous jewellery! They are so pretty! :) x

koralee said...

Just found you...how beautiful is your jewelery!!! So pretty and dainty.

Sending you some weekend JOY! xoxox

Locket Pocket said...

What fab information about them and what beautiful jewellery - as always! Lucy x

angharad handmade said...

So interesting to hear about the folklore. The jewellery is beautiful - I particularly like the asymetric necklace with the peridot, gorgeous!

sarah-jane down the lane said...

I too have a bowl of Dorian Grey house leeks a si calll them, they have survived two house moves!

I so enjoyed the history, how brilliant I had no idea they were steeped in so much folklore, thank you Emma,

Sarah x

Madelief said...

Hi Emma,

Your necklace looks really beautiful!

You were right about the King's speech. I loved it!!!

Happy sunday!

Lieve groet, Madelief

Magic Cochin said...

These are lovely Emma! Made more so by the story you weave around the little plants that inspired them.

They'd make pretty buttons - do you ever make buttons? Or cuff links - now there's an idea for you...

Celia
xx

Helen Philipps said...

These are exquisite, Emma! Have a lovely week. Helen x

Pinecone Camp said...

They're so beautiful! I had no idea "hens and chicks" had such an fascinating history.

elsy said...

so beautiful.....scarf half done if you want to send me your address

Tania said...

So, so impressed with the bejewelled loveliness and the merest possibility of the lightning thing...

Jackie said...

They look so pretty with the subtle green hint you have added with the bead. I only discovered they were called hen and chicken when I saw one for sale on etsy in a tiny pot. I couldn't see a 'hen and chicken' described in the sale , so I did a bit of googling and found that its their other name.