Far Out Flora

April Bloominess


Primula polyantha Victoriana Silver Laced Black

Hurray for Garden Bloggers’ April Bloom Day! We finally have a bunch of new stuff in flowery action! May’s going to be even crazier in the new bloom department. We have a mystery iris about ready to bust, and a bunch of other new plants on the verge of going nuts. Matti’s been loving Primulas recently, so I brought this cutie home awhile back for the part shady side of the yard. The trailer on the left is sexy little Fuchsia procumbens we have in a pot.

Wholly Sh*t, Echium wildpretiis starting to bloom!!!!

We did everything wrong. Who the heck puts an Echium wildpretti in a container and expects it to bloom? Not us. While doing a little search of old blog history, I found a post talking about our bad move in November (there’s a baby pic at the bottom of the post). Apparently we thought we didn’t have room to plant it in the ground (this was pre-working for Annie’s, so I’m not sure what type of crack we were smoking to not find a spot for it) so we planted it in a wood box Matti built of out reclaimed wood. I would not recommend planting wildpretii in a container, or watering it all the time but it seemed to not care that we did everything wrong. Right now it’s the coolest thing to have ever bloomed in our backyard, and it’s just getting started. To celebrate its bloominess I’ve created a nerdy flickr slideshow of its life (one pic is not from our backyard, probably Huntington). This plant is available for purchase this very second from Annie’s. I suggest you either drive out there now and buy a few, or order them via the interwebs. Seriously, can a plant get much cooler than this? When we win the lottery and acquire a large, well drained parcel of land there will be a Canary Island zone complete with an Echium forest.

Erysimum franciscanum var. crassifolium "San Francisco Wallflower"

“San Francisco Wallflower” hangs out in our California native middle yard. The common name alone made me want to bring it home, but then the mention that it, “thrives in sandy soil” sealed the deal. Super rare and endemic only to San Francisco and the coastal bluffs from Santa Cruz to Sonoma County, it smells fabulous! I loved it so much I brought home orangey “Western Wallflower”
Erysimum capitatum ssp. capitatum a month later which should have some flower action next month.

Cotyledon orbiculata

After a long stretch of cold, rainy weather the Cotyledon’s buds are starting to open up. It’s one of my favorite succulent blooms.

Lupinus succulentus "Arroyo Lupine"

Another California native that we abused, but still flowered. I jammed it in a too small container with another plant, didn’t plant it deep enough… oh yeah the container when crazy and stopped draining properly during the last rain storm.

Gunnera tinctoria

Our awesome friend Rob from The Pitcher Plant Project hooked us up with this Gunnera last August. It was so cute and innocent back then (here’s the post about it). Monster G. Rex (our name for the mega plant) is getting HUGE! Check out this pic of it in full view. We have plans to create some sort of rolling bog garden for him in one of our classy red shopping carts soon.

Aeonium and Nemophila menziesii Penny Black

Miss ‘Penny Black’ is still going strong! I love her so much I just brought home another one yesterday. Love the super dramatic Aeonium bloom going on, too. All our backyard pictures from April are here if you want to check ‘em out. Happy Bloom Day!


  1. YAY for the Echium! Great photo…and it’s wonderful to hear that even in “doing everything wrong” you’re still getting a bloom. I managed to overwinter one in the ground, and one in a container (insurance – it’s now in the ground) but of course this being wet Portland they are both getting a lot of water. Here’s hoping that mine can live up to the standard set by yours!

    • Thanks for all the great comments everyone! Kaveh, I don’t know what you were thinking moving to LA. The closer to Annie’s the better. I’ve been eyeing up Musschia wollastonii since I started at Annie’s, but haven’t been able to commit space for it. Rachel, you should give wildpretii a shot as long as you have a sunny spot for it. I’ve never been so excited about a flower before.

  2. you got that right! my powerball house will be aeonium, aeonium, aeonium.

  3. everyone of your photos is so exciting! a lot of blooming drama going on up there!

  4. So neat to see primulas getting lots of attention, and wallflowers too. The echium is pure drama. Can’t wait for May!

  5. Now these are some cool plants. Drama galore.

  6. So jealous that you work at Annie’s. Heck I’m just jealous of the fact that you live near Annie’s. Why oh why did I move to the LA area instead of the bay area. Such a dumb move on my part. When I have a yard I want a Canary Island zone too. Have you discovered Musschia yet? I fell in love with it when I was in Mendocino.

  7. LOVE the Echium! I bought one of the Echium Mr. Happy plants from Annie’s a few years ago and planted it in a spot with crappy light. It was fine but started growing out into the yard to get more light which drove my husband bonkers when he tried to mow. Every few weeks he begged me to rip it out but that just wasn’t an option :) It never bloomed and eventually got a really weird crested form to it (which was AWESOME) and became entirely unwieldy so I did need to dig it up :( Now every time I buy a plant for the back yard he says “just as long as it isn’t a Mr. Happy!!”

  8. You have some fabulously unique plants that i have never seen before – so glad i stopped by! xoxo, tracie

  9. That gunnera is stunning. Obviously the echium is too. LOVE your garden.

  10. That Echium is soooo awesome! Wow what a great bloom stalk! Whatever you did wrong, keep doing it. Everything looks so wonderful. I have been doing a lot of work in the yard lately and have tons more to do. This winter really wiped a bunch of great stuff out.

    And hey I went to the California State Flower, Food and Garden show at Cal Expo last weekend. They had some great stuff. But best of all I met a great guy named David who owns Garden Hortica in Oakland. Is that too far from you. You should meet. He has a great little shop and loves succulents. On 4/23 he is having a Easter Egg Hunt, BBQ and has new exciting plants. You guys should try to check it out. If I can I will too!

  11. These are Gorgeous!!

  12. checkout my garden on corner of 44th and Rivera!

  13. I like the first flower the most, but all are beautiful. You gotta love spring!

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