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Showing posts from February, 2021

Streetside aloes, late February 2021

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Time to take another look at the aloes blooming along the sidewalk. All too soon, this display—particularly generous this year—will be history.  The flower colors range from creamy yellows to rich reds. The yellows are courtesy of Aloe  'Moonglow' . There are three separate clumps now. All three came from my half of a 5-gallon can I originally split with a friend—pretty remarkable growth. I've started to give offsets to friends since for whatever reason 'Moonglow' is currently hard to find in retail nurseries. Aloe  'Moonglow' clump #1 I'm particularly excited about this aloe since it's the first time it has bloomed for me. It's a hybrid between  Aloe spectabilis  (related to  A. marlothii  but with vertical instead of horizontal inflorescences) and Aloe vaombe . The flowers give me vaombe  vibes while the leaves have the general shape of spectabilis . Aloe  'Erik the Red', one of the most spectacular larger hybrids on the market Aloe cap

Non-aloe front garden highlights, February 2021

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I've been posting a lot of photos of flowering aloes lately, so let's take a break and look at some other February highlights. Of course it is  possible that an aloe or two will sneak in—those buggers love photobombing! Lachenalia aloides  var. quadricolor  looks right at home between cactus, agaves, hechtias, and a Dioon argentea Same vignette seen from the other side. Two hechtias on the left: Hechtia  'Silver Star' and Hechtia  'Oaxaca Sunset'. Hechtia argentea  along the sidewalk pushing 5 (!) inflorescences. ×Mangave 'Red Wing' on the left, Yucca  'Bright Star' on the right. Newly planted Aloe vaombe in the front, Maireana sedifolia behind it, and Acacia aphylla  peeking into the frame on the right Euphorbia characias  'Tasmanian Tiger' towering above the undulating foliage of Drimia maritima ×Mangave 'Mayan Queen' surrounded by Acacia cognata  'Cousin Itt', Salvia bullulata , and Felicia echinata Cephalophyllum sta

Ice plants are hot

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In recent weeks, I've been focusing a lot on aloes—no surprise, seeing how they're at their bloom peak right now.  But there's another group of succulents from Southern Africa that give us vibrant color at this time of year: ice plants native to winter rainfall areas. This common name refers to the succulent members of a huge family, the Aizoaceae . Some people also call them mesembs, after the genus  Mesembryanthemum,  which once contained most of the commonly seen species. In South Africa, they're known as “vygies,” meaning “little figs” in Afrikaans. The photos in this post were taken at the Ruth Bancroft Garden last weekend. I was fortunate enough to run into curator Brian Kemble, and he identified the plants for me. I'm able to recognize maybe a handful of different species by sight, but the vast majority of them eludes me. Many ice plant species hug the ground and are ideal for filling bare spots. I'm making a concerted effort to add more to our garden fo