I will be posting about these incredible beings from time to time, as I know I am by no means alone in my insanity and there is often a dearth of people to consult in one's immediate vicinity; having learned a lot from many online sources I feel it behoves to give back a wee bit. It's also our good fortune to have obtained a copy of Aloes the Definitive Guide (Carter, Lavranos, Newton, Walker; Kew) and thus we have an impeccable contemporary source to quote from into the bargain.
Anyhoo, let us begin with one of the many species coming into flower with the cooler weather.
Aloe Gilbertii is a large (to 150cm) shrubby number branching from the base in a more or less upright manner, producing huge, tiered flower stems exceeding a metre high in come cases. I'd say mine is approaching that though it is still a young plant. Leaves are quite deeply recurved with a smooth matte texture, the odd pale spot (sometimes) and I'd call them a medium lizard green with the suggestion of glaucous bloom, especially in a sheltered specimen. Flowers are red and green, almost like a gasteria's whilst in development, ripening to bright crimson.
Hailing from acacia scrub and highland hillsides in Ethiopia at up to 1400m in altitude, I have found it unfussy, at least here, where conditions are probably quite similar to its native clime; I grow it outside
I bring all but my hardiest aloes under cover during wet weather in winter; we don't really get down to fatal temps here, seldom nearing 0C, but cold plus wet is broad-spectrum killer to be avoided if at all possible. I suspect Gilbertii would be perfectly fine if planted out kindly but don't intent to risk it until I have a back up underway. All in all, a very promising plant relatively new to cultivation with some lovely features. Try it if you can find it: I believe suckers and tissue culture pups are becoming available from specialty nurseries.