Sunday, 26 June 2011

Aloe, Aloe!

Australia's Open Garden Scheme was established to promote the knowledge and pleasure of gardening by opening private gardens to the public throughout the year. The scheduled July opening of Taringa House Garden of Colourful Aloes here in Brisbane has been cancelled this year, but I was fortunate enough to visit in 2009. It was quite an eye-opener for me.

Although I love potted succulents, I am not a huge fan of cactii and had carelessly lumped the aloes in with them. The display at Taringa House showcased the aloes and also provided wonderful ideas for companion plantings. I was amazed how well they worked with plants I had previously thought of as more tropical.

Owners Michael and Alexandra import ornamental hybrid aloes from South Africa which are distributed in Australia under the trademark Aloe-Aloe. They have a very helpful website with lots of information about the different varieties, and gardening and landscaping with aloes

Potted aloe at entrance are 'Moonglow'

With rhoeo and cycads
With Dracaena draco (Dragon tree) and tree aloe in background and striped agave

With yuccas, ponytail palm and cycads.

With variegated Tulbagia (society garlic) in foreground.

With a beautiful lime euphorbia

Love this edging - square concrete stepping stones and river pebbles.

Flash ahead to Casa Bella in 2011 and all of the four plants I brought home from the House of Aloes display day are thriving. 

'Fairy Pink', which is actually white, finished flowering a few months back. It has very dainty sprays and would work well in a cottage-style planting. I think I will get about a dozen plants when I divide mine up some time soon, and I'll probably use in a winding row at the back of my daylilies.

I have two 'Southern Cross' plants now which are both in pots. I especially like the contrast of the decorative red edging against the blue-green leaves.

'Diana's' flower spike is providing a welcome splash of colour now when so little is out in the garden.  It is a taller variety that I think will come into its own as my 'Mexican garden' bed develops, or perhaps I should say, if it develops.

I selected mainly drought-tolerant plants when I established this garden about 12 months ago as we were in the middle of our longest ever drought. However, since the January floods, we have had lots of rain, which possibly indicates a return to more typically subtropical weather. If so, I am likely to lose a few plants that aren't so suited to the wetter weather - especially when I have a pretty gluggy, clay soil. Luckily, as everything is still fairly young I can still move things around as plants are culled for more suitable options.

'Gemini' has a great compact shape and is out at the same time at 'Diana'. I like that it repeats the theme, albeit in slightly smaller scale, which provides balance to the composition of this garden bed.


  1. I had no idea the Aloe plant blooms. I once had an aloe plant but it didn't make it in this climate even as an indoor plant...but you've inspired me to try again.

  2. Wow, that's a beautiful place, and an Aloe-lover's paradise. Thanks for sharing your visit. Interesting larger hybrids; here the hybrid Aloe focus is on tiny plants for pots--I guess that's where the market is.



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