No, I am not talking about chickens or using slang words.
The 13 pictures that follow are all of my balcony plants, which are mostly of the type that go by the common name of, "hens and chicks."
All the hens and chicks you see in this set of pictures are descended from one small chick I took, with permission, from my Grandma Crane's batch of hens and Chicks (which had been given to my Grandma Crane by my other grandmother some years, or decades, before).
I think it was the Christmas Eve of 2001 that I noticed a single chick had fallen, or had accidentally been knocked off, of the main group of plant near the front entrance of Grandma’s place. After asking Grandma, I took the small chick and wrapped it in a wet napkin, placed it in a sandwich bag, then put it in my jacket pocket for the trip home. A year or so later I had my own batch of hens and chicks and, as you will see below, they are still thriving out on my balcony today.
Now, in the left picture, the hens and chicks are far from healthy and I am still very angry at the apartment complex management for this. The story goes like this, a construction crew and painters had (and still are) working on the property, and even back then, had been doing so for a few months. On about May 11, 2008 I notice my balcony plants were missing. They had been there that morning, but by early evening the plants were gone with no explanations given. Living on the third floor, I figured the plants must have been taken off the balcony by either the painters or the construction crew. Okay, I figured, as long as they didn't beat them up too badly and they are put back in the next day or two I would not blow my top.
Two days later the plants were still missing so I called management, who was out of the office and never bothered to return my call. Okay, I thought, I guess I can wait a few more days to see if my plants are returned; after all, the work on the balcony still has not been finished (or even worked on again since the plants disappeared).
On May 17, 2008 I finally see one of the workers out on my balcony... and he has my balcony storage closet open (without permission or notice from management that are personal spaces would be invaded)... and in my balcony storage unit, tossed on top a pile of other stuff, were my hens and chicks. Apparently, they had stuffed my plants into the storage unit and no one had bothered to tell me (let alone ask for permission). Now, I had just called management for the second time earlier that day, and still no one had bothered to return my call. On my second call I had talked with an assistant who had no idea, but did take my name and number. I had told her I was concerned about the whereabouts of my plants, it had been hot for a few days and they were overdue for watering. The left hand picture above shows you how weak and limp the plants were when I took them out of the storage unit and brought them into the apartment. The picture on the right (with my right foot accidentally in the picture) was taken ten days later. The painters/construction crew was still not completely finished with the balcony but I refused to wait any longer. The plants had gone without good light for way too long and I figured the main work was done and they could work around my plants for the finish work, and they did.
Here, it is May 31, 2008 in the above picture, the construction crew/painters are done (I think) and I have just watered the plants. They are starting to recover some and looking a little better here.
In the above two pictures, and the one below, it is July 8, 2008 and the plants have fully recovered and are doing very well. In fact, I have never seen them get this big before. I am not sure it it was our wetter than usual spring and mild winter or if having them shut up in a closet for a week actually benefited them somehow. But then, I have seen my Grandma White's plants get this big before. I suspect that she waters her plants more often than I did. I mostly just help out when it gets hot and dry outside and let nature take its course most of the rest of the year. However, I think I will water the balcony plants more often from now on.
Oh, and that growth sticking up and starting to grow through the balcony railing, that is called a rooster. Since I do not rotate the balcony plants the rooster is growing horizontally more out than straight up like it should.
On, and that is Glory rubbing her chin on the plant's leaves in the left hand picture above.
Pictured above is another rooster, this one is the biggest one. There are three of roosters this year, one in the left pot and two in the right pot. For some reason the roosters that grow in the left pot tend to grow the biggest. The left hand side of the left pot must get the best light.
This is one of three roosters as it looked on June 22, 2006. It was the largest rooster that year... and it was in the left pot.
Here is another rooster, on July 1, 2006, this one was in the right pot and was getting close to blooming. The roosters this year are at this stage now; I just have not gotten out there with my camera yet to take current pictures, so this one will do.
And yes, it does seem odd to me that the bloom stalk is called a rooster... the nickname must have been given by something with a phallic complex way back when the common names were first starting to become common.
Here is the large left pot rooster in (or near) full bloom. Notice how most of the leaves are starting to fade? After all the flowers bloom the stalk will slowly dry up and die. That is how it works with the glorious but short lives of the roosters. If you want a long life, it is best to be a hen.
Here is a rooster in, or almost in, full bloom. The above picture was taken on July 18, 2006. Some of the flowers have opened up but several more have yet to open. Although the flowers are not all that spectacular, the over-all bloom in its prime is still interesting to see.
This is the same rooster bloom, and the same rooster (in the right hand pot) and the picture was taken in the same shoot-set as the one above it.
Here is a picture of a very young chick growing from an older hen. The picture above was taken on June 22, 2006.
Here is a picture of a very young chick growing from one of the younger hens. The picture above was taken on June 29, 2006.
And this completes my set of Hens and Chicks.