Sunday, January 22, 2017

First 2017 look at the aloes at UC Davis

Rain, rain², rain³. I don't remember the last time we had so much rain. And fog. That had been absent, too, in recent winters. The difference between this January and the past half dozen Januaries couldn't be greater. At the same time, it feels like plants are a bit slower getting going, maybe because they're busy trying not to drown.

I took advantage of a break in the rain to check on the aloes on the UC Davis campus. As you'll see, a few are blooming already but others are still weeks away. This matches what's going on in my garden.

Aloes in the mist outside the Botanical Conservatory--a common sight this year

Yellow-flowering form of Aloe arborescens

Aloe litteralis

Aloe camperi 'Cornuta'

Aloe striata outside the Botanical Conservatory greenhouses, dug up from somewhere else and waiting to be replanted

Aloe africana, toppled over under the weight of its leaves

Another toppled aloe, this one an Aloe marlothii hybrid of impressive height (see next photo)

This is what it had looked like in February 2014

I assume it fell over in one of the recent rain storms because the soil had gotten too soft

Another view of the toppled Aloe marlothii hybrid

Aloe africana in the alley between the Sciences Lab Building and Haring Hall

Aloe suprafoliata with rotting leaves. I'm afraid this will happen to some of my aloes, too.

Aloe hereroensis looking great. The fuzzy thing in the center is an emerging inflorescence.

Aloe ferox (left) and Aloe marlothii  (right) outside the Sciences Lab Building

Aloe marlothii (left) and Aloe ferox (right) outside the Sciences Lab Building

And a couple of non-aloe bonus images:

Purple fountain grass and heavenly bamboo

Rosemary and heavenly bamboo

I'll check back on the aloes in a few weeks.

13 comments:

  1. The weather seems almost English. Fog and rain is not what I look for in your blog though the aloes seem resilient and there's a lovely orange tinge to them. And lots of bikes!

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    1. Just like the 5-year drought was record-breaking, this weather is beginning to break records, too. We've already had the fourth wettest January on record, EVER--and the month isn't over yet.

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  2. That Nandina colors up so beautifully in your cooler climate.

    Ouch, hurt to see the toppled Aloes. Might be a combination of soft soil with root systems that are partly dried out due to the long drought.

    I'm worried about my suprafoliata, too. It seems to hold water in the base too tightly. We're clearing out Tuesday for what could be a long dry spell, so recovery is near. Then I will be worried that we won't get any more rain at all for the rest of the season...

    That first photo is so beautiful!

    Aloes are very slow here compared to our previous four winters with all the heat waves. This winter seems so "normal", though it's been so long "normal" is almost forgotten.

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    1. You brought up an EXCELLENT point--partially desiccated (or dead) aloe roots in the wake of the drought. That could definitely be a contributing factor.

      I haven't seen any longer-range forecast yet. I'm not sure anybody knows at this point how this will play out. The drought was historic, so I'm not surprised that the pendulum is swinging a bit too far in the other direction now.

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  3. Ooo, it's sad to see that beautiful Aloe keeled over. Not surprising considering how saturated the ground is everywhere. I beleive we may have a few rainfree days next week.

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    1. I'll find out what they're planning to do with this big aloe. Moving it will be a pain...

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  4. It's sad to see the aloes take nose dives like that. It's been raining all day here and our total is approaching 4 inches for the day! It's not a lot by comparison with what you've been dealing with but it's more rain in a single day than I can remember in the 6 years we've lived in our current location. I'm beginning to worry about some of my succulents drowning too.

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    1. FOUR inches in one day?!? That's way more than we've gotten in a 24-hour period. I'm wondering how much more rain our succulents can take??

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  5. Ouch about the aloes! The rest still look pretty with the mists at least. With all the rain do you think it will be enough to sufficiently top up the depleting water reserves there?

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    1. Some parts of California are officially out of the drought now, others are technically still in a drought but the level of severity has lessened. What we really need is lots and lots of snow to refill our reservoirs.

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  6. I need to get out to see the local aloes too. 4 inches of rain here Sunday in Long Beach, a record! Standing water for hours on phyllica, leucospermum...I bet your new succulent mound plantings shrugged it all off.

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    1. 4 inches is insane. Why does it always have to be one extreme or another?

      I think your phyllica and leucospermum will be fine as long they have a few days to dry out before the next onslaught.

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  7. Crazy weather up and down the coast! We finally had a dry, sunny, above freezing day...it was glorious. That poor toppled Aloe "m"... Did it take anything else out on the way down?

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