One of nature’s wonders

2017-07-26 06:02

IT’S winter and the aloes are in bloom. When exotics struggle to survive in the drought, aloes thrive in the harshest conditions.

It’s not only their striking racemes of flowers, they also provide nectar for the bees.

Why people still fill their gardens with thirsty exotics which do not sustain wildlife I cannot understand.

Recently, I went to the Gwahumbe Nursery in Mid Illovo and I was taken aback. It’s not just a nursery but a huge aloe farm in the remote Illovo River valley.

Instead of crops, Keith Bales cultivates aloes and other indigenous plants on the arid slopes, supplying nurseries and landscapers all over the country.

I have also visited Cato Ridge Electrical, not to buy electrical goods but to admire their glorious indigenous garden.

But it is the award-winning Hackland Garden, one of the venues at the Ashburton Aloe Festival, which took my breath away.

There is also the Creighton Aloe Festival which celebrates these incredible plants.

Each year, the crowds get bigger at these festivals but sadly, they do not draw people of colour.

Those who say our local plants are boring and only the English rose and pansies are beautiful, should visit these places and see for themselves how aloes can make your garden magical.

T. MARKANDAN

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