We are missing out on one of the highlights of the year, the widespread blooming of aloes that brighten the otherwise drab landscape of late autumn and during the winter months. I had a legitimate reason to drive out of town last week for the first time since the Covid-19 lockdown began and noted many aloes blooming along the road towards Port Alfred, their flame-coloured blossoms lifting my spirits enormously. Fortunately, as their flowering season is fairly long I am hoping that the restrictions on our movements will be relaxed further before it ends. In the meanwhile, I am confined to observing the aloes in our garden.
Some have progressed from showing tightly closed cone-like buds like this:
To fully opened blossoms like this one:
The aloes attract birds, such as the Greater Double-collared Sunbird above as well as a variety of insects:
I am interested to see the damage done by ants at the base of some of the tubular flowers:
There haven’t been many bees around yet – perhaps they need the flowers to open a little more. I will be keeping an eye out for them.