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Growing Aloes in our Succulent Garden

by Andrew Sloan
photographs by Andrew Sloan

Photographs to illustrate the article published in The Mediterranean Garden No 86, October 2016.

Andrew Sloan writes: “We live in southern Spain 40 km west of Malaga in the countryside at an altitude of 300 metres, with hot dry summers with temperatures in the high 30s and with an average of 530 mm of rain from October to April (although not during the last two winters as we are currently in a drought phase). We do not normally get frost in the winter..“

Andrew describes how over the last five years he has changed his philosophy to waterwise gardening and has become a collector of aloes and other succulents.The bed outside the front door was the first area Andrew developed using succulents with Aloe thraskii as a central feature.

Before and after photos of the area outside the front door.

Plants in pots awaiting planting in October 2011

The same area in April 2016 - Aloe thraskii is the central feature.
To the left are Agave parryi and A. americana "Mediopicta Alba"
and in the middle two plants of Aloe striata are flowering.
In the foreground Aloe dorothea has a lovely reddish-copper
colour offset by the blue Senecio talinoides.

One of the most important parts of the garden is the view from the kitchen terrace pictured below in the summer. In the foreground from the left we see Sedum nussbaumerianum, Crassula pubescens ssp. radicans, two specimens of Aloe peckii surrounded by stones and a sea-shell and then Sedum x rubrotinctum. A hybrid of Aloe marlothii is in the middle left hand side. Other aloes include Aloe claviflora, A, greenii, A. lutescens, A. nyeriensis and A. rupestris.

Looking out from the kitchen terrace

Aloe marlothii hybrid surrounded by Crassula apitella "Campfire"

Andrew describes the way this part of the garden is constructed: “The main garden area has two retaining dry-stone walls each about 1.5 metres tall and stretching out for about 60 metres. The stone walls are four metres apart, the first at ground level and the one behind at the garden level so the plants are basically at eye height which makes for good close-up appreciation.“

A view of the long terrace in the middle of summer.
Andrew has left space when planting to allow for future growth

The terraced bed brings the plants up the eye level

Aloe buhrii, a favourite of Andrew’s which he grew from seed sown five years ago

Andrew also practises waterwise planting using the full pallet of mediterranean plants.

Tulbaghia violacea, Tanacetum densum subsp. amanii, two Helichrysum orientale
and a Coronilla all seem to like Andrew’s alkaline soil and watering regime.
The plants were ordered from Olivier Filippi

And of course mixture of both succulents and other mediterranean plants.

Summer flowering Russelia equisetiformis and Caesalpinia gilliesii.
Along from the Russelia are Aloe mitriformis ssp.distans, Delosperma
and Sedum pachyphyllum

And cacti are not forgotten.

Tricocereus spachianus flowers for a short period but spectacularly
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