Succulents rock. If you’re not familiar, succulents are a variety of plant that holds water in their stems, roots and leaves, so they are drought tolerant. They’re efficient, but they’re really beautiful, too. I think some of them look like underwater plants or creatures from another planet.
Today’s costume features these plants I like so much. I have lots of succulents in our yard, so using cuttings from them is an easy way to create free accessories. Plus, afterward I can remove them from my crown and plant them, so this is literally an earth-friendly accessory. I may hang up the necklace outdoors and see if it grows with a little air, sun and water—a modern day Chia pet.
My succulent passion developed eight years ago. I’d been vaguely aware of them before that, since our friend Nils grows and loves succulents, although I didn’t catch the fever back then. But one day, as though someone flipped a switch somewhere in the universe, succulents suddenly were on my radar and I fell for them big time. I wondered why I hadn’t been seduced by their magic earlier. In any case, overnight I became a big succulent fan. I bought them off of Craigslist. I happily accepted cuttings from other succulent fans. On daily walks I stopped to ask other gardening enthusiasts about their plants. Seven years ago I met Herb while standing outside his gate, admiring his succulents. I was so enchanted by the garden that it took me a minute to realize that its owner was sitting among hundreds of plants, as still as they were. Eventually I interviewed Herb, and the article was published in a local paper. Herb has a succulent love on a different level than mine: he spends as many as thirty hours a week on his plants, although he says some of that time isn’t strictly necessary for their survival—it’s for the enjoyment he gets from the plants. So maybe the time with his plants is necessary for Herb’s survival. He’s onto something, I’d say—after all, he’s active and happy and in his late eighties…
Did you know that succulents don’t just come in shades of green? Some change color, like Sticks of Fire:
Others grow a colorful bloom:
I could go on for hours about succulents, but for now I’ll just share some photos of some of the plants that have given me such happiness over the years.
If you think cacti and succulents aren’t exciting, I dare you to visit the Cactus Garden in San Diego’s Balboa Park and let’s see if you don’t change your mind…
If orchids and other plants can be made into leis and accessories, why can’t succulents? They’re heavier than some plants because of their clever water storage system, but I don’t mind wearing a weighty crown of succulents. In fact, I’m glad to give them the spotlight they deserve…
Post Script: I want to share something that is unrelated to today’s costume--but it is related to how we present ourselves every day. Last week when I was zipping around in my hummingbird hat a guy in his twenties passed me and said, “Someone stuck something goofy on your head.” To which I replied immediately, “I did,” and kept walking. It’s interesting to me how quickly our brains work. I had a mere second to decide whether to respond to his remark. In that brief time I considered my options. Ignoring him was one. But I quickly decided that this option didn’t work for me. Ignoring someone can be interpreted as not standing up for yourself and I didn’t want him to mistake a non reply for my feeling intimidated or shamed by him. I liked that my instinct was to own my choice to wear unusual creations I’ve made. No one put that hat on me, as he suggested. I make my own decisions. People can like my creations or they can find dislike them. That’s not my business and I’m not losing sleep over his comment. Most people seem to like my creativity. I can count on one hand the people who have made rude comments about my costumes in the last eight months. The only reason I’m mentioning that comment now is because I was delighted that (unlike in the past) my instinct was to speak up. My point is this: I hope that like me, you’ll feel comfortable expressing yourself. Not everyone will understand or approve, but that can’t be our concern. Be you, and own it, baby!