Winter in the Sacramento Valley (USDA hardiness zone 9b; Sunset zone 14) is aloe time. Most aloes are winter bloomers and they grace us with their flowers when little else is in bloom.
Except this year my aloes are stuck in a state of suspended animation because of our weird weather. Usually our winters are sunny and bright (the occasional rain storm excepted). This January, though, has been anything but normal. We’ve had more fog than I can remember, and it’s been extremely dry. After an unusually wet December, January has been the driest on record. More proof that California’s drought is anything but over.
As a consequence, many of our aloes have been in limbo, their flower stalks in arrested development. I need to turn on the sprinklers this weekend to give all our plants a good drink. Otherwise our aloes might continue to sulk and abort their flowers altogether.
Here are some of the aloes I’m waiting for to come into their own:
Unidentified Brian Kemble hybrid from the Ruth Bancroft Garden