Bloomin’ Aloe

I’m leaving town for a few days and probably won’t have internet access. Before I go, I want to share a few recent pictures from the garden at the Lucky 5 Star.

Before moving to South Africa, the only aloes I’d ever seen were aloe vera plants — droopy house plants that people keep around for when they burn themselves.

Here there are hundreds of different kinds of aloes, ranging from small, cabbage-sized plants to massive trees. I’ve also recently learned that aloes grow tall, flaming orange blooms in early winter.

This is my favorite aloe in our back garden — Joe says it is an aloe ferox. A couple of weeks ago it sprouted conical-shaped blooms.

The aloe is shaped like a curved palm tree. The Melville Koppies are in the background.  I took this a few days after the first picture — you can see that the blooms are starting to get taller.

Closeup on the same day. It had rained the night before so the leaves are covered in water droplets. The flowers remind me of sea anemones.

Taken yesterday when the blooms were standing nearly straight. They are a bit straighter this morning but I don’t want to bore you (any more than I already have) with another photo. Sunbirds, which are similar to hummingbirds, love to drink nectar from the flowers. I saw one flitting around but couldn’t get my camera in time.

I have no idea what these stunning flowers are and neither does Joe. There are several bunches of them in the garden. They never open any further than this. Any ideas?

I’m excited about our trip but sad to be leaving aloe ferox and the upside-down mystery flowers.

See you in a few days.

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12 Comments

  • Reply Jeroen May 5, 2011 at 9:19 am

    The pride of my garden is a spiral aloe, indigenous to Lesotho, and the most photogenic of all aloes 🙂

    • Reply 2summers May 5, 2011 at 9:22 am

      That sounds amazing. Send me a pic!

      • Reply Jeroen May 5, 2011 at 9:56 pm

        Hm, no pics handy but this should give you an idea what they look like seen from above: http://www.flickr.com/photos/atomicthumbs/2060250965.
        Apparently the direction of the spiral indicates the plant’s sex, but I forgot which is which.

      • Reply 2summers May 8, 2011 at 7:56 pm

        That is quite spectacular, male or female.

  • Reply eremophila May 5, 2011 at 12:59 pm

    I love aloes! Tough as old boots and over here those giants flower in winter when most things don’t and their orange blooms light up grey skies beautifully. You didn’t bore me at all with their lovely pics:-)

  • Reply Kathryn McCullough May 5, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    Wow–that aloe is amazing! Absolutely amazing! Hope you have a great trip!
    Kathy

  • Reply Rian May 5, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    Hello 2Summers,

    Thank you for your uplifting blog – I’ve now been following it for about a month and also read everything from the start!
    You are making me (even more) homesick! Currently in London but returning to SA in the not-too-distant future.

    Keep up the good work and regards,
    Rian

    • Reply 2summers May 8, 2011 at 6:54 pm

      Thank you Rian. Comments like this are music to my ears. So glad you’re enjoying the blog. Enjoy the rest of your time in London and hope you make it back to SA soon.

  • Reply [email protected] May 14, 2011 at 9:02 am

    Lovely photos! I think (couldn’t see the leaves too clearly) your mystery plant is Clivia gardenii. Check out this link: http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantcd/cliviagarden.htm

    • Reply 2summers May 14, 2011 at 8:42 pm

      Yep, that looks exactly like it! Joe also said he thought it was probably a type of clivia but wasn’t sure as he’s never seen one like this before.

      • Reply [email protected] May 15, 2011 at 9:56 am

        Joe seems to know a lot about plants and animals. Did he have a pre-photographer career, or has he just got a naturally curious mind?

      • Reply 2summers May 15, 2011 at 10:03 am

        Joe fell in love with photography while on a trip to Namibia with his secondary school biology club. So I guess the two talents are linked 🙂

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