Looking for Book for Aloe Reference

jxa44March 7, 2004


Does anyone have a favorite book that they use as a reference for aloes? I'm adding quite a few and would love to purchase a good reference book.

Also, some of the aloes I've purchased will need winter protection. Does anyone have a suggestion as to how to do this? I remember once reading/hearing that Ruth Bancroft has severl plants in her garden that she protects during the winter, but I can't remember how she does it. Suggestions?



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JayEmVee(z9 SF Bay, CA)

When I was there last winter, they were using freestanding covers that are made out of 1"x1"s covered with opaque plastic. Imagine a cube with one side uncovered, the other sides and the top have the plastic stapled to the wood. There were all different sizes, some almost 4' tall.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2004 at 12:23AM
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Thanx JayEmVee for the info. Wow! 4'! That's pretty tall. I've never visited her garden, but hear it's *wonderful*!

Thanx again.

    Bookmark   March 8, 2004 at 3:31PM
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cjhin(Gauteng ZA)

I have "Guide to the Aloes of South Africa:" by Ben-Erik Van Wyk & Gideon Smit, available at www.briza.co.za, which is handy for ID with colour photographs, distribution maps and species descriptions. New edition is available April 2004. Prof Van Wyk was my Botany lecturer at RAU University in Johannesburg!

    Bookmark   March 9, 2004 at 3:54AM
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would you please give me the ISBN No.



    Bookmark   March 10, 2004 at 12:20AM
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JayEmVee(z9 SF Bay, CA)

We went almost by accident. They have tours of the garden by appointment only, but once you find out when the next tour is, just slide on in. You can walk with the tour or wander on your own. The grounds are amazing, spacious and uncluttered with generous plantings of each specimen. It's a very unfussy but thrilling garden, an experience that gives a look into the older California. Spring there is unbelievable. Treat yourself and go.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2004 at 1:38AM
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Daniel_Ashley(z9 Ca/Sunset 15)

The Ruth Bancroft Garden is definitely worth a visit. You should log on to the website at ruthbancroftgarden.org. The winter covers are still on but will be dismantled just before opening day.

Speaking as a volunteer there, it is helpful if you are familiar with the tour schedule because it changes during the year. There are specific times for the self guided tours and docent led tours.

    Bookmark   March 12, 2004 at 12:01AM
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Thanx for the URL Daniel. I'm hoping to go this spring -- it's a little drive for me as I'm in Aptos!


    Bookmark   March 13, 2004 at 8:22PM
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cjhin(Gauteng ZA)

Hi J

ISBN is 1 875093 41 9.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2004 at 8:49AM
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Hi J,
in addition to the above mentioned book I also use Barbara Jeppe's 'South African Aloes', Purnell, 1969. No ISBN nr. This one has long been out of print, but if you can get hold of it, it would be a useful addition. There are detailed paintings of flowers, leaf margins and seed pods in addition to the whole plant and a thorough description.

Unfortunately these two books only cover the South African species. For ID of the Madagascan ones I use Werner Rauh's 'Succulent and Xerophytic Plants of Madagascar', Strawberry Press, volume 1 1995, ISBN 0-912647-14-0 and volume 2 1998 ISBN 0-912647-17-0.

Now I wish I could lay my hands on the two Reynolds books at a bearable price....

There is a new one coming out sometime this year on Aloes of Malawi. Can give you more info on that as soon as I find the pamphlet again.


    Bookmark   March 15, 2004 at 1:25PM
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Thanx everyone for your suggestions. They are very helpful.

Now back to the Bancroft garden -- when's the best time to visit? I've planned a trip around the first of April, but would like to go when the garden's in bloom.

    Bookmark   March 15, 2004 at 7:01PM
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JayEmVee(z9 SF Bay, CA)

Daniel, does the Bancroft garden keep those covers on all winter or just when a freeze is predicted?

    Bookmark   March 16, 2004 at 12:14PM
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Daniel_Ashley(z9 Ca/Sunset 15)

Such and exciting subject to talk about the Bancroft Garden!

The covers go on around late October or early November and stay on until April. Some of them are very large and it takes several days to place all of them. There is one that is like a very large tent around the most tender species (such as the aloe plicatilis, which they say is the largest in Northern California) and it even has a tent-like door. But most of the plants survive uncovered and are somewhat protected under trees or near larger plant, and even with the covers, the overall beauty of the garden is not spoiled.

There is so much to see there any time of the year (this was the first year for winter tours). What kind of blooms are of interest? There always is something in bloom. Right now, many of the aloes are in bloom. There are also masses of bulbinella that look really impressive. I haven't seen the seasonal bloom cycle, but the many of the cacti should be starting in April or May.

The tours are on the website and change depending on the time of the year. For example, summer tours are in the morning and early evening since the afternoon heat can be too much for flesh and blood. The tours are on the website and right now through the end of March are at 1 PM on Saturdays for docent tours.

    Bookmark   March 17, 2004 at 12:34AM
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Aloes The Definitive Guide by S.Carter, J.J.Lavranos, L.E.Newton, C.C.Walker

Here's the amazon link to this book.


This book is over 700 pages. It is fairly detailed and supposedly covers all known species of aloes. With a lot of nice pictures. All species have pictures of the plant as well as the flower and in almost all cases in its original habitat (not in a garden setting or as potted plants).

You may want to check it out from a local library unless you want to pay about $150.

This post was edited by SnailPot on Tue, Jan 14, 14 at 0:51

    Bookmark   January 14, 2014 at 12:33AM
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