Monday, September 6, 2010

Aloe thraskii crown rot

I've noticed lately that the growing tip of my beautiful Aloe thraskii looked wilted and started turning brown.

Upon closer inspection, the whole crown had rotted.

When I pulled on the litle leaves, the whole inside of the crown came out, all slimy and covered in maggots.

Its really disheartening when something you've been growing and caring for so long just rots like that. Its really surprising to me since these aloes grow right on the beach in South Africa, where they get salty spray and lots of rain.

I started reading up on it and found quite a few other people complaining about crow rot with the thraskii's. Some say to leave them and it might come back, albeit with a strange looking double crown which is out of character for a thraskii as they are solitary single trunked aloes.

At least one plant thats happy and trouble free

This is Carissa macrocarpa, a beatiful thorny shrub from my native South Africa.

I grew it from a little seed bought online. Its been a little over three years and its now reached a stage where its almost constantly in bloom and really pretty.

I ate the first fruit off it last week, it tasted a little like a cranberry but it wasn't enough to really get a good feel for it.

I planted it off the beaten track, away from where the kids run and play, I knew it could grow quite large, so I planted it in a secluded spot, almost against the North facing wall, so in winter it doesn't get full sunlight, but even so its been very happy in its spot. Its also hiding my work area where I store my little greenhouse, empty plant containers etc.

I really enjoy walking past it and smelling the sweet jasmine-like fragrance and seeing the white flowers against the glossy green leaves. In all the years we visited the ocean every summer back home, I never paid any attention to this shrub growing right on the beach with its pretty red berries, didn't even know it was edible.

Lillikoi halfway tamed

Last weekend I got up early with determination to get rid of the lillikoi passionfruit vine.

Of course there was a problem, the little metal part that connects the string trimmer head to the motor was missing, so after searching for a while, sweating in the heat of the garage and humidity, I was finally ready to start tackling it.

It took almost three hours to hack away half of it. What makes it really tough is the fact that the touch vine keeps on wrapping around the head of the string trimmer, basically bringing it to a half, then I have to stop, and try to wrangle the vine away and off. The electric cord was just too short off course and I couldn't reach further. By then I looked like a green martian, covered in pieces of passion fruit leaf, vine, weeds and who knows what else. By then I had also stopped sweating and was starting to feel overheated.

The brown area is where I've whacked the 3 feet high vine away.
It is just so hot and humid right now, that just walking outside for a couple of minutes is enough to be drenched  in sweat. I know I shouldn't leave the rest too long, otherwise I'll be back to square one, but for now, I am just hoping and praying that at least the humidity will give a little way, or I could start early enough to beat the intense heat, or it could be overcast and just a little cooler.
The other half that still needs to be wacked