Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Appreciating aloes

Facebook is a wonderful thing. About two weeks ago I saw a post with a photo about The Aloe Farm, a nursery just past Hartebeespoort (near the elephant sanctuary).

I like aloes but I've never thought too much about them. Last weekend at the orienteering I ran past many single plants - they're abundant in the Hartees area, enjoying the burst of flower colour here and there. But I've never seen aloes like this!

If you're going to have aloes in your garden, this is so the way to do it. Plant clusters of the same for intense colour and create a bank from clusters of varieties of different height and colour. Some flower early in the season, some flower late, some maintain flowers for the season (April through to July) and some flower repeatedly throughout the year. You really can have fun with them.

The guy who started The Aloe Farm, Andy, has been breeding and crossing aloes since the early 70s. The varieties that they sell have mostly been created by them. And, as hybrids, they grow faster than the wildtypes, which means you don't have to wait decades to create your own displays.

These aloe displays are planted around the main shaded nursery, which has a wide range of their aloes for sale - large and small - as well as an abundance of regular plants.

We're nearing the end of aloe flowering season so if you want to see these, get out there in the next week or two (or visit next year).

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