Saturday, January 21, 2012

Architecture in Plants

The ground is covered in a white coat today with not a stitch of greenery to be seen so I am turning inward and gazing at the houseplants.  I tend to ignore these poor things for the better part of the year in favour of the outdoor garden but recently I've noticed just how amazing some of them are.  The aloe vera is really the star of the show right now.


Originally purchased in the winter of 2010 when it was only a couple inches high it has burst forth and now requires ample room to to wave its many thick stalks.  Gazing from above the pattern it creates is star shaped.


There is an architecture to this plant that fascinates me.  I've spent more than a small amount of time gazing at how the branches are piled one on top of another.


And observing how the light plays across the spines.


I bought this plant for its medicinal value, it's always nice to have on hand for sunburns and skin irritations, but now I'm not sure I could sacrifice even a single branch.  It would disturb the intricate balance nature has created and that would be a shame.







22 comments:

  1. Lovely photos Marguerite! Why not get a second plant that you can use just for medicinal purposes. That one is truly too beautiful to cut into - it would look unbalanced and broken otherwise!

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  2. Aloe is such a cool plant. I've never thought of it as interesting, other than medicinally, until you created this post. Thanks for the new perspective. I love your comment about piling up plants at the nursery for your virtual containers. Made me laugh!!

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  3. I am a big fan of aloe vera as well. As they grow and age, they seem to cascade over the pot and appear even more beautiful.

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  4. Just wait til it starts putting off babies. You will be able to have one for burns and one for structure. I love my aloe.

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  5. What a beautiful looking plant.Great photos too.

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  6. I love that first photo, so spidery and arm waving. I over watered mine and my aloe declined. A common mistake, I know. Yours looks very happy, not too soggy!

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  7. Marguerite girl I love this aloe plant ! I had two small ones a while back but I must have over watered or something .. they gave up the ghost with me .. but yours is amazing and totally beautiful .. I hope it stays with you for a very long happy plant life !
    Joy : )

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  8. Great photos - I've been admiring various desert plants recently, and find them similarly fascinating in architecture. Such wonderful textures and shapes.

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  9. I too have Aloe in my office and love the architectural form of the plant. Many of the plants in my office have form and shape, where outside, not as much. I guess inside is a more structured environment. Inside, my cat likes to have them for a snack.

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  10. Hi Marguerite, I think that it is often the case we buy something for one reason and end up liking it for another. I can absolutely see why you would hate to remove a branch for some of that healing aloe.

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  11. Maybe eventually your plant will divide and grow babies like mine did. It filled the entire pot. I was forced to repot it and throw a lot out since I have no room for anymore plants.

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  12. Jane - exactly, there is a balance to this plant that is so intricate. Removing a stem would throw it off completely. I don't think I'd mind having another one actually, they're one houseplant that has thrived instead of me killing it.

    Tammy - although I've had aloe before they have never looked as cool as this particular plant. Maybe the original pup just had great structure?

    Sage - I remember my mothers aloe like that, the plant seemed to be climbing out of the pot.

    Janet - I wondered how long it will stay in this stage. It may not be long before I get pups or maybe it will stay as is for a couple more years.

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  13. Thanks Kentish, it was interesting trying to photograph this plant and capture the small details.

    Laurrie and Joy - um, I don't think there will ever be any chance of a house plant getting overwatered here. That's likely why this plant is doing so well!

    Janet - great point, you really notice the structure of desert plants since they don't have branches and leaves like other plants.

    Donna - I'm awfully fortunate my cat isn't very interested in my plants. He only eats my spider plant and when he does I know its time to put out some cat grass which he much prefers to any plants I might have.

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  14. Jennifer - now that you mention it I've had that happen to me on a number of occasions. Plants that I bought for one place or reason suddenly find a newer better spot or I discover that they are much grander in person than I had imagined.

    Melanie - how long did it take your plant to grow that big? Mine is almost too big for the pot it is in right now and I'm considering moving it up to a larger pot come spring.

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  15. Very pretty. My mother has a giant aloe vera plant that she uses for medicinal purposes. I am always amazed that it has thrived - she leaves it outside and lets nature take care of it! Of course, hers is not as pretty as yours!

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  16. Very beautiful, well balanced and extremely healthy looking. Almost like a octopus feeling around upright for some food or sunshine in this case. It is so neat looking I think I'll have to find one of my own. I use to have a big one but when we moved it died because of the cold weather. I was very heartbroken because it was given to me from my Grandmother.
    It has really grown in just over a year. You must have a green thumb.

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  17. Gorgeous plant, surprised one that size hasn't had a dozen babies by now..mine keep dividing and dividing, have to repot them about once a year and throw a lot out..and they flop over a lot..what's your secret? stands so tall and secure in that pot..perhaps my pots are too big, giving it too much room to divide..lovely photos..I have 18 houseplants..helps me get past winter..plus I love to buy fresh tulips...happy gardening Lannie

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  18. Holley - I wish I could put my plant outside. I envy people that live in warm enough climates to grow such amazing things. I'll bet her plants get huge.

    Witch - I'll admit it, I'm no green thumb. In fact, just the opposite when it comes to house plants. The aloe has thrived on pure neglect. I water every couple of months, that's my secret. just buy it and forget it. Although that doesn't work as well for other plants :)

    Thanks Lea.

    Lannie - I put the plant in that pot originally, it was a bit big at the time and now it's almost too small but I'm loathe to move it lest I muck it up. Possibly though if it had more room it might start putting out babies.

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  19. I love the idea of plant architecture. It's amazing what nature had created for us.

    By the way, I nominated you:

    http://nittygrittydirtman.wordpress.com/2012/01/26/and-the-versatile-blogger-award-goes-to/#more-2442

    Congrats,
    Kevin

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  20. Fibonacci spirals. Some fascinating viedos on Youtube by a mathematical artist!

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  21. Fabulous Aloe! It looks great in there....

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