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Saturday, May 15, 2010

Bloom Day May #1: Aloe

This is Aloe homedepotensis; an unnamed variety picked up long ago on the succulent oddity table at the local warehouse store, before such things were all the rage. Of course, succulents aren't only popular now: They seem to have become necessary to demonstrate a gardener's commitment to conservation and begin green.

Anyway, I have a fair number of aloes in the garden and this one is in bloom right now. Nectar drips from the flowers, and a fly (maybe Minettia flaveola? or more likely Photopsis blurrii) perches on the flower stalk below . . . exploiting the drip?

Sure, aloes are tough, but in my experience they are appreciative of occasional to regular watering and tolerate of a fair amount of shade in hotter climates. There are a huge number of aloe species, representing a wide range of needs and forms. They come almost exclusively from South Africa; oh, and they are not cacti. Do not use aloes to represent the American southwest! They are lovely in their own right, easy to grow, not native to here.

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