I feel like I’m posting on my little garden all the time, but that’s predominantly on Instagram these days and less so on the blog. So since the 15th of each month traditionally calls for a Bloom Day report among garden bloggers, I’ll let Aloe ‘Moonglow’ and Leucadendron ‘Wilson’s Wonder’ handle the duties. The two of them are battling it out this January, glow for glow.
‘Moonglow’ is a hybrid of Leo Thamm’s from Sunbird Aloes, Johannesburg, South Africa. This hybrid has been stellar in the garden, other hybrids not so much. The clumping hybrids like ‘Cynthia Giddy’ and ‘Kujo’ (a Huntington hybrid) are especially prone to aphid infestations hidden among their hybridized, tight, leafy interstices. The leaves become dessicated and then die off. For someone who hates crappy-looking leaves, it’s a big drawback. ‘Cynthia Giddy’ blooms wonderfully all summer but is inevitably attacked by aphids and their overlord ants in fall/winter, to the point where I’ve pulled all of CG from the garden. I know I’ll be bereft mid summer without her, but I was miserable watching the aphids suck the life out of her despite repeated soapy rinses. These unforeseen, anatomical drawbacks of hybrids are fascinating — natural selection knows how to deal with aphid-prone variants. So when an aloe is as good, robust, and unbothered as ‘Moonglow,’ it’s much appreciated.
The aloe and leucadendron are mid border behind the potted myrtillocactus. Roll call: the firey-leaved aloe in the foreground is A. dorotheae, blue agave is ‘Dragon Toes,’ with Aloe elgonica just behind. Potted stuff everywhere. The fernleaf acacia should be in full bloom in a week or so. The heavy bloom trusses on the tetrapanax have been cut back, but the more lightweight, diaphanous blooms on the bocconia have been allowed to hang on.* I usually prune the bocconia in spring, taking off a couple feet of growth, which keeps it dense and in a nice V shape.
Aloe ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ coloring up with its wonderfully marigold-colored flowers behind Agave ovatifolia ‘Frosty Blue.’ The lemon cypresses against the fence are loving this gift of a rainy week…as am I!
*edited 1/17/19 — two large, heavy-blooming branches of bocconia sheared off, weighted down by the rain and tossed by the wind. Pruning before storms is therefore advisable.