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News from the Safari Park Gardens

An update regarding upcoming activities and future plans for the San Diego Zoo Safari Park Old World Garden (OWG) was presented recently at the July SDCSS board meeting.

There are now 13 active OWG volunteers (6 from SDCSS, 2 from PCSS and 5 from the Park), so more time and energy can be spent on improvements to the garden. We’d like to focus onthe OWG on aloes, and collect and show as many aloe species as possible in the garden and potentially in the new greenhouse. As of today, we have ~130 aloe species in the garden. There are an estimated 600 species of aloes in total, which is a manageable but still very diverse genus as a collection. They can be 2" small or 40' tall. We have a lot of aloe experts within the SDCSS and PCSS clubs.

Together, we have a chance to build the most comprehensive aloe collection in the US. We’ll continue to work with Kelly to get access to aloe species with data. We’ll also continue to collect and plant aloe hybrids in our “Hybrid Corner” of the OWG. Other ideas for the OWG include creating an area with plants endemic to the Madagascar area and working with Jeff Moore on an “Undersea” garden.

We’re looking forward to moving into a new greenhouse in September. Initially the greenhouse will be used to propagate and nurture plants. In the future we hope to use the greenhouse to house the more delicate aloes and allow visitors entrance to the greenhouse. A shadehouse will be built near the greenhouse likely in 2018, and will be used to house our collection of large cacti, as well as propagate some African trees and bushes.

Finally, accession of our collection is 80% complete thanks to the work of several volunteers, including William Kadonaga, who has proved invaluable due to his knowledge of our mapping and data collection system. We hope to get the garden accredited in the next two years.


We’d like to obtain a large amount of chunky, light-colored, decomposed granite for use around our plants in the OWG. This material would look better and appear more natural than the wood chip mulch we currently receive from the Safari Park. Donations are gladly accepted! As always, if you have plants or materials to donate please contact May Fong Ho at (760) 233-3948 or


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