Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Volunteer day happened and no post?!

The May volunteer day was great - I didn't post about it because the next day our home was burgled and a lot of things stolen. It threw us for a loop, but we are OK.

However, lots got done at the volunteer day so here's a belated post and thank you to everyone who helped! 

First of all Aditi came out to visit which made me very happy. She brought her lovely fluffy pup Coco and we enjoyed a good catch up :)

Next thing that happened was Bill set about cleaning up the lower path. And when Bill sets about something, watch out - that path got cleaned the heck up! Some days I think I would like to clone Bill, though I obviously haven't mentioned this to him because he would think I was literally insane. Don't tell him I said that, OK?

New volunteer Ruth came and showed total spirit in not only attacking the Echium pathway (which went from impassable to impressive) but also in volunteering to help Aditi with some social media plans for PG. Thank you both so much for helping - it's too much for just me! 

As you can see from this pic she is totally up for things - I thought a fun pic would be her jumping for joy after fixing the path and she didn't laugh at me. Good sign!

The tool chest got broken into again - always in a new place - but nothing stolen. So Chris good-naturedly went and got his drill and fixed it. Again. 

I'm pretty sure Chris has had enough of this task, but I hereby declare that if I am ever hit by a bus he can take over decision-making for the tool chest completely and do with it as he pleases, up to and including setting it on fire.

Matt watered the new Cussonias, I weeded a bunch. And lastly John turned the compost, and removed some completed compost and gave it to a hungry tree Aloe. He makes light of this work, but how often do you see me doing it? Answer: never. So I really appreciate that he does it.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Plant Profile: Aloiampelos (Aloe) striatula

Latin name: Aloiampelos striatula ("al-oy-am-PEL-oss stree-ah-TOO-lah")
Common name: Hardy Aloe
Originally from: south of the Karoo region of South Africa
Blooms: brilliant yellow inflorescence rises above the foliage typically in late spring into summer
Light: Full sun.
Water: Winter rain is enough.
Height x width: 6' x 6' and bigger
Zones: 8a to 10b
Where to find in P. Garden: The middle front and middle back beds have examples of this great Aloe (Aloiampelos!)

Aloes come in all shapes and sizes, from little grass-like thingies, all the way up to tree sized beasts. This particular one makes a nice shrub and has clear yellow flowers in late spring, making it a very useful plant to have around.

This particular one used to be called Aloe striatula, but around 2017 the botanists of the world, who like to complicate things (job security?) decided it should be moved into the Aloiampelos genus (combination of 'Aloe' and 'ampelos'=vine or creeper) to go with other climbing aloes. I haven't noticed that climbing trait in this plant, nor did anyone notify me of this change (haha!) so you will see it referred to as Aloe striatula all through this blog.

The plant's Latin species name "striatula" means "little stripes" referring to the thin dark-green stripes that can be seen on the plant's leaf sheaths. Don't mistake it for the similarly named Aloe striata ("coral aloe") though - that's a very different plant.

Aloiampelos striatula naturally occurs in the mountains of the Karoo region of South Africa, between the towns of Graaf-reinet and Queenstown in the Eastern Cape, extending into the Free State and Lesotho. 

It will tolerate a wide range of conditions, and is even known commonly as the "hardy aloe". It will tolerate much colder temperatures than most Aloes and relatives, including frost and even some light snow, but it prefers full sun and well-drained soil. In the Eastern Cape it is often planted along the boundaries of kraals (an animal enclosure), as it naturally forms a well-shaped and hardy hedge. Like other climbing Aloes, it can easily be propagated by cuttings as well as by seed. 

The one we were given originally (left) was an extremely pot-bound, stressed little plant that grew quickly to well over 6' wide; since then I've made lots of cuttings and put them in other areas of the garden

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