Meanwhile, at home, in our own garden...

After being gone for almost two weeks (first for Thanksgiving, then on my trip to Southern California), it seemed like I hadn't spent any time in the garden in quite a while.

We don't usually get much fall color, but the Chinese pistache in the backyard is putting on a good show this year:

I still wish we had actually gotten the male tree we'd ordered (female Chinese pistache are much messier and don't have as much color in the fall), but it's 20 years too late to complain.
This fan aloe (Kumara plicatilis) rocks. It doesn't get much sun (it's under the chaste tree) but it continues to grow well—well enough until I find a sunnier spot for it.

The time for sitting outside is over for a while. Time to clean the Adirondack chairs and put them away until March or April:

Looking at the Accuweather calendar for November and December, I see we had a low of 29°F on November 17 (although we're generally a few degrees warmer here than the weather station Accuweather gets its readings from). Cold enough to "freeze" the leaves on the manihot tree (Manihot grahamii) in the front yard:

Now the less pleasant stuff: leaves. Lots and lots of leaves.

Not just from the accursed city-owned Bradford pear tree (above), but also from our bamboos:

Cactus adrift in a sea of leaves

Speaking of bamboo, the Asian lemon bamboo (Bambusa eutuldoides 'Viridividatta') needs thinning:

Looking beyond the leaves (for some reason I'm too focused on the d*** leaves), I see bright spots, especially flower stalks emerging on quite a few aloes:

Aloe burgersfortensis

Aloe 'Mawii Gem' (Aloe mawii × Aloe globuligemma), one of the plants I picked up at Solana Succulents in San Diego County last week

On the sidewalk, more Bradford pear leaves (and squishy fruit):

The reigning king of everbloomers (or is that queen?) is this Baja fairy duster (Calliandra californica). I don't think there's a single day of the year when it doesn't have flowers on it:

The Aloe ferox behind the Baja fairy duster is pushing a flower stalk as well:

Aloe ferox

Aloe ferox

Some of its neighbors are a bit further along already, including Aloe petricola...

Aloe petricola

...and Aloe wickensii (aka Aloe cryptopoda for you lumpers):

Aloe wickensii

Let's not forget Aloe glauca:

Veltheimia capensis is not an aloe (it's a bulb) but it's from South Africa, too, like so many aloes:

One of my favorite flowerers, Aloe 'Erik the Red', now close to 6 feet tall:

Aloidendron 'Hercules' is not flowering but it commands attention anyway (as does the apple-green Agave mitis in front of it):

Speaking of agaves, our Mexican bush sage (Salvia leucantha) has swallowed up Agave gentryii 'Jaws' again:

Look closely, there's a sizable agave under there!
Another player in the "will it, won't it" game:

Aloe vanbalenii (in front of Aulax cancellata, a South Africa protea relative). I don't think either of them will flower this year.

Aloe 'Moonglow' (one of three clumps we now have) getting ready for prime time:

Aloe 'Moonglow'

Aloe 'Moonglow'

I'm particularly excited about two aloes that have never flowered before:

Aloe 'Tangerine' (against the fence)

Aloe 'Tangerine', a hybrid between Aloe arborescence and Aloe ferox

And one of our three Aloe marlothii (left)

It's taken this Aloe marlothii a good seven years to finally get big enough to flower. I can't wait!

And finally our earliest-flowering aloe, Aloe cryptopoda in the driveway bed. It pretty much done now, but you can still see how tell the inflorescences are—over 6 feet:

Aloe cryptopoda

When I started this post, I was too focused on the leaf litter that is literally everywhere, but now I'm feeling a bit better. Beyond the work that needs to be done, there's quite a bit of beauty to admire!

© Gerhard Bock, 2018. No part of the materials available through may be copied, photocopied, reproduced, translated or reduced to any electronic medium or machine-readable form, in whole or in part, without prior written consent of Gerhard Bock. Any other reproduction in any form without the permission of Gerhard Bock is prohibited. All materials contained on this site are protected by  United States and international copyright law and may not be reproduced, distributed, transmitted, displayed, published or broadcast without the prior written permission of Gerhard Bock. If you are reading this post on a website other than, please be advised that that site is using my content without my permission. Any unauthorized use will be reported.


  1. Even if a couple of your Aloes refuse to bloom this year, it looks like you're going to get a wonderful show!

  2. Wow, that is indeed a whole lotta leaves. Looks like you had a great road trip, but it must be good to be home again.

    Much beauty, yes. Many Aloe flower stems emerging here, too.

  3. You've had a colder temperature in your garden than I've had in mine! (well, if indeed it was 29) It's very odd as everywhere around here seems to have had a hard freeze but the wind last week kept our temperatures above freezing (although the wind chill was nasty on your skin). Love the emerging Aloe ferox blooms!

  4. I really like your variety of mature aloes. I have a few of the same ones also in bloom, or at least the early stages of putting up stalks. Great time of year for aloes.


Post a Comment