Sunday Morning before the Rain-Succulent Gardens Nursery

 The weather forecast for my weekend in Santa Cruz last month was not ideal, and I spent a great deal of time looking at the sky and consulting the National Weather Service for the timeline of the expected rain. My hotel was in Aptos, a beach town south of Santa Cruz that was only a 15 minute drive from my destination-Succulent Gardens Nursery in Castroville. Heavy rain was predicted for after 1pm, and the nursery opened at 9. My window of opportunity was wide open, and my hope was that there would be blooming Aloes to see.

 And there were !

  This hedge of Aloe plicatilis (now reclassified as Kumara plicatilis) along the exterior of one of the greenhouses is impressive any time but the winter blooms elevate the vista.

 Here is a variegated version, barely noticable in it's partially hidden position.

Because I have abysmal Aloe naming skills , and the display gardens are unlabeled , I'm afraid I have few ID's to share.  I recall promising myself that I would make and effort to improve Aloe recognition in 2018, and I have made some progress-mostly with the more obvious cultivars. I bought several this past year as well, even though I have no where to put them-yet. The 'Blooming Aloe Tour' at the Ruth Bancroft Garden this past February was full  by the time I tried to register, and on the date of  this years tour I will be traveling.

 Great color on these little guys. I was hoping to find them inside on the sales benches, but alas it was not to be.

 Of course the Aloes werer not the only plants of interest.

 On their way out...

 I decided this was a Hechtia, but now I'm not so sure.

 Agaves along the road adjacent to the fence.

  The Santa Cruz/Monterey Bay area makes a nice weekend road trip and I hope to return in the summer.


  1. You take such gorgeous pictures! That aeonium nestled in the agaves makes me laugh.

    1. Thanks Jane, there is not much I enjoy more (other than actual gardening) than visiting gardens and taking photos there.

  2. The mass plantings really have impact. I'd have never thought of using Kumara plicitilis as a hedge but it works - at least there. I'm not good at identifying aloes either, unless they're ones I grow and even then I'd probably have to check my record in some cases. It doesn't help that some are inter-species hybrids either.

    1. The climate in that area is so benign-too cold to pull anything like that off here. I tried to research some of those Aloes but it was an exercise in futility. So many look similar.

  3. One of those dreamy destinations I only read about, but thanks to these photos I almost feel as though I’ve been...

  4. With all the man-made hybrids and natural crosses, aloe ID is not easy for anyone! That last possible hechtia almost reminds me of Aloe broomii. I had a Santa Barbara trip planned to see aloes yesterday but the rain caused mudslides near Ventura...

    1. Fingers crossed that I will dodge the mudslide bullet when I go down that way in spring, still not sure exactly when. All my Aloe research cam to naught. I was going to buy a reference book, but as you and Kris pointed out, any reference on Aloes is out of date about 10 minutes after it's published.

  5. Enjoyed the pics of the blooming Aloes, with or without ID! The IDs wouldn't have meant much to me, as I don't know an Aloe from a Yucca anyway.

  6. van balenii, ferox, arborescens are the bloomers. The most common Aloes I can sometimes ID. I agree with Denise, the "Hectia" looks like Aloe broomii.

    A variegated Kumara!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wowza.

    Wonderful photos as usual. Your enjoyment shows and instills enjoyment in others.


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