"The plants grow solitary or in small clusters on north-, east- and west-facing cliffs along dry river valleys. The average daily maximum temperature in the area is about 25°C (77F) and the average daily minimum about 10°C. Winters are cooler but frost is a rarity or absent. Rainfall occurs during winter and summer and ranges from 400 mm (15") to 500 mm (19") per annum. " -- PlantzAfrica
Sounds perfect for this garden, so why does it look unhappy? I pulled and replanted part of the clump nearby, in a spot that gets more water and receives mid-day shade from the stucco column flanking the driveway.
Barely visible in the red circle, can't miss that yellow foliage:
The rest of the clump I split, removed dead leaves and stems, and stuffed into a pot to re-root.
And please stop being so yellow!
The empty spot got another Aloe striata. This Aloe has done well in the area. A group of them, too, will be more striking. Now that I study the area...oh, dear. The other small Aloes there (ellenbeckii, 'Blue Elf', humilis(?) are as unhappy as the Crassula--it is also too hot or too dry for them. Either more drip irrigation is needed or even tougher plants. An additional problem for humilis has been rabbits eating the tips of the leaves.
Hmmm...yuck, and the scale of the little Aloes is also too small for the space...new Aloe striata added is circled in red:
Larger plants, additional drip irrigation. Got it.
Larger plants...Aloe brevifolia I am very impressed with. Super tough. I split the clump which had been in the Fall Project area and replanted it. The rosettes are already growing. In their original location they got no water at all--I wondered how they were surviving--yet they managed to avoid the phenomenon of dry leaf tips. They are getting water now, and look even better for the rehab. But large enough?
Aloe greatheadii illustrates the dried-Aloe-leaf-tip phenomenon. With little water, the plant survives, small and stressed.
Fat and happy. I have enough Aloe greatheadii for the space, but then again I have enough Aloe greatheadii, you know? A handy, useful plant more than a favorite. I'll meditate further.
A great morning for garden meditation--two days after a modest rain, when the plants are washed free of dust and joyfully perky. The roses are leafing out rapidly and dusted with dew, not dust.
Despite our so-far meager rainfall, the plants are making the best of it:
On this cool, dewy Saturday morning, even with another nasty heat wave predicted by Monday, one cannot help feeling optimistic and joyful among the plants. The local meteorologist who dresses like a 40's gangster said last night that March, March may finally bring the generous rain we've been hoping for. At this moment, even the area I've been cringing about, in early morning light, doesn't look all that bad.