Thursday, March 29, 2012

A is for Aloes

This my first post on my personal A-Z of Zimbabwe.

Aloes will do nicely for the letter "A".
Aloe arborescens in flower
Aloe arborescens in flower
Aloes are native to Africa and the Aloe arborescens, also known as the Krantz Aloe, is endemic in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Malawi and Mozambique. 

You can see it growing naturally in mountainous areas, rocky outcrops and exposed ridges, hence the common name Krantz Aloe as "krantz" means "rocky cliff" in Africaans (a language I learnt at school ages ago but quickly forgot). 

Gardeners love to plant these aloes in rockeries because they tolerate difficult conditions and liven up the garden in winter with their vibrant red/orange flowers.

Aloe arborescens have blue-tinted leaves
Close-up of the same group of plant
Taken from another angle, this photo reveals the bluish tint of the succulent green leaves. 

I love aloes. 

My high school had a beautiful rock garden (I think it was modelled on the Great Zimbabwe ruins) where the art teacher once took us to sketch. I did a pencil drawing of an aloe. It turned out to be the only artwork of mine that ever made it into the school's open day art exhibition. I was so proud! 

The following year we had to choose our "O" level subjects and one of the choices was Geography or Art. What kind of a choice was that?!



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