An Epic Aloe Vera, and Plans for a Succulent Garden

I’ve never had a really robust aloe vera until now. It’s so out of control, and yet completely beautiful in its gnarly, spiky form.

We have this aloe vera that is loving life in our home. Purchased in a little 4-inch pot about 18 months ago, for something like $3, it has outgrown two pots already. Last night, I potted it up again. It seems to like to be root bound, but it was bursting out of its last pot and tipping over, so we had to upgrade again.

Sometimes you just get your hands on an amazing plant. I’ve never had a really burly aloe vera until now. It’s so out of control, and yet completely beautiful in form. It’s making babies all over the place. I love its spiky, gnarly looks.

I’m so happy with this giant succulent. It took both of us to get it out of its old pot and into its new. Here’s hoping that it’s new home will hold it for a couple of years. As I was tidying it up after transplant, I decided that next summer’s front door potted garden, which always stars red geranium and impatiens, will be a succulent garden.

It’s a great idea, if I do say so. There will be no composting the potted garden at end of summer. I hate tossing the annuals at the end of the season. Impatiens always retire to the compost bin, but we usually bring the geraniums in for winter. But the geraniums, after years of summer outside/winter inside, had grown too large to care for indoors all winter. So we reluctantly put them in the compost bin.

But a succulent garden appeals to me in lots of ways: it can be moved indoors in winter, and once indoors, requires minimal attention; it appeals to my latest penchant for strong but spindly forms in the garden; it’s low maintenance all summer long (I can forget to water them and they won’t get grumpy right away); and it’s something new to work with.

Synchronicity: I was flipping through the latest course catalog from Esalen (an educational center in Big Sur, California) this weekend, and came across photos of their gorgeous raised succulent gardens. It being California, the plants live outdoors all year, thriving and growing huge. I positively drooled over the photos. One of my deepest desires has always been to live in a climate where winters never get so cold that the garden must either sleep, die, or move indoors.

For now, the plan is to create a potted, portable succulent garden at the entrance to the house this summer. This winter will involve planning, and this spring, implementing.

Live in peace.

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