Far Out Flora

June Blooms

June 14, 2011 by Megan Speckmann | 27 Comments

Calceolaria integrifolia 'Kentish Hero'

Happy June Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day! We’ve never had so many bloomiferous happenings out back before. A big shout out to Annie’s Annuals for offering a plant employee discount so generous I’ve tried out TONS of plants I never would have given a shot. My current fave that’s covered in buds and blooms is Calceolaria integrifolia ‘Kentish Hero’. How can you not love the freaky lip like orange blooms? I apologize in advance for the mass quantities of flower pictures.

Papaver commutatum 'Ladybird'

This is my first year growing Papavers. My favorite is hands down Papaver commutatum ‘Ladybird’. I’m sad to report that our Papaver ‘Greek‘ died an early death due to a gopher incident we’d like to forget, but it was pretty for the few weeks we had with it. This one’s safe and sound in a container.

Papaver 'Drama Queen'

Named appropriately, Papaver ‘Drama Queen’ almost got eaten by the gopher, too! I definitely would have staked this puppy if I knew how big and floppy it was going to be. The gopher action right next to it didn’t help the situation, along with the RAIN IN JUNE. I think I’m going to replace it with Dahlias this weekend. It’s squashing stuff.

Bulbine bloom

Gosh darn it. I forget which one this is. Love that it has peachy orange blooms.

Delphinium belladonna 'Bellamosum'

I was curious to see if Delphinium belladonna ‘Bellamosum’ could hack it in the cold, windy, foggy Outer Sunset. It went a wee bit sideways, but still pretty.

Fuchsia 'Fanfare'

The fuchsias are all freaking out, but ‘Fanfare’ is freaking out with wild abandon. It’s kind of out of control. Most of the canes are at least ten feet tall flopping all over the place. If I had carefully read the description I would have seen, “I have seen it espaliered to fill up the entire side of a house”.  Wholly crap! I’ve been chopping it back a little to promote some bushiness. Maybe it’s just going through it’s gawky stage?

Fuchsia Mystery

Here’s the mystery fuchsia. It’s been looking kind of sick (yellow leaves), but still busting out flowers. My best guess is that it’s getting sunburned. In the winter this side of the yard gets almost no direct light. The blue stuff is a Cerinthe major purpurascens seedling we let stick around.


Scyphanthus elegans

Scyphanthus elegans is a cute little vine from Chile. I planted Eccremocarpus scaber ‘Cherry Red’ next to it and they’re just starting to play with each other. I just realized they’re both Chilean. We have TONS of Eccremocarpus scaber ‘Tresco Gold’ from reseeding action on our shady side. It’s one of my favorite plants. The hummingbirds go crazy.


Clarkia concinna

Clarkia concinna gives the native section a little splash o’ pink. The native middle section continues to rock.


Poppy Attack!

Caterpillars have been having a ball with the California poppy blooms. This weekend I watched as flocks of little birds came in and went to town on the little flower eaters.

Camissonia cheiranthifolia

Still loving California native Camissonia cheiranthifolia. The flower action never ends. I’m going to shut up now, and post more pictures since it’s getting late.


Lathyrus odoratus 'Barry Dare' & Friends

Nemophila menziesii 'Penny Black' with cresting Graptopetalum

Phygelius capensis ‘Magenta’

Echium plantagineum with Scabiosa & friends

Cestrum newellii

Anchusa capensis 'Blue Angel'

Check out May Dreams Gardens for blooms all over the world. Happy Bloom Day!




Flower Floozy Fest

June 12, 2011 by Megan Speckmann | 8 Comments

Phacelia campanularia ssp. vasiformis

Last week I brought the camera to Annie’s and went on a little photographing freak out one morning. I put all the new plants on the website, and am continually updating current plant descriptions and pics to make sure we have the hottest photo possible. Sometimes I even use my own pics, especially if the plant is brand new. This Phacelia is looking extra hot right now. I’m kind of surprised I never brought one home for the CA native middle.

Clarkia amoena ‘Aurora’

I think we might give that cute red flowered guy (Galvezia speciosa)  hiding behind the Clarkia shot in the empty spot where the Echium wildpretii was.

Dahlia 'Dark Side of the Sun'

Here’s a good example of my laziness with photoshop for our flickr pics. Click on this link to see the same picture digitally fluffed. It’s nothing major, just a little tweak here and there.  I rarely (never) bust out the photoshop on the pictures we upload to flickr. Here’s a couple more pretty pics. If you’re hankering for some more Annie’s Flower Floozy photo fun check out Floradora’s recent post with even more FABULOUS flowery pictures from Annie’s.

Lupinus regalis 'Morello Cherry'

Pretty pink Lupinus regalis ‘Morello Cherry’.

Dianthus carthusianorum

I’m not a huge Dianthus fan (sorry Annie), but I really like Dianthus carthusianorum.

Perilla frutescens 'Purple Shiso'

Purpliscious Perilla frutescens ‘Purple Shiso’.

Layia gaillardioides

Adorable California Native Layia gaillardioides.

Fisherman’s Wharf Flower Freakout

June 10, 2011 by Megan Speckmann | 6 Comments

Fisherman's Wharf, Really?

Maybe it was the tasty Lagunitas beers I drank on the ferry ride back to SF from Tiburon, but I was pretty gosh darn impressed with the flower action happening in Fisherman’s Wharf. Looks like they combined Cotula lineariloba with Carex testacea here, but I’m not 100% sure about either ID’s. Lemme know if you think I’m wrong on any of these.

Big flowery freak out

In the lower right hand corner you’ve got the most awesome Penstemon in town, Penstemon X gloxinioides ‘Midnight’. It’s seriously hot. If only photos could capture its coolness…. Here’s another picture of it at Annie’s where I first started drooling over it.

Penstemon X gloxinioides ‘Midnight’

Crazy succulent crab

The succulent encrusted crab made my day. I kind of want to bring some Aeonium cuttings down to fill in the empty spaces. They seem to be thriving.

Flowers and lots of Alchemilla mollis ‘Robusta’ I think

Salvia patens perhaps?

Lavender land

A little Cerinthe action



Ferry Ride to Wild Tiburon Flower Fun

June 6, 2011 by Megan Speckmann | 5 Comments

Leaving the Ferry Building

Memorial Day I took the ferry over to Tiburon to check out Old St. Hilary’s. I was googling around about wildflowers in Marin, and found this description from the landmarks society website “Wildflowers surround Old St. Hilary’s, Tiburon’s iconic hillside landmark, which was originally a mission church named for St. Hilaire, Bishop of Poitiers. The heirs of John Reed—who held title to El Rancho Corte Madera del Presidio, the Mexican land grant that included the Tiburon Peninsula—deeded the one-quarter acre site for $2 to the Archdiocese of San Francisco, which built the church as a place of worship for local railroad workers in 1888.”

Old St. Hillary's in Tiburon

I was sold, and love any excuse to get on a boat in the bay. It’s not a long walk from the ferry drop off to Old St. Hillary’s. In early spring you can find the super rare Tiburon Paint Brush (Castilleja neglecta). I was able to track down a couple wildflowers while I was there. Didn’t see a single other person the whole time I was there except for a lone jogger.

Calochortus luteus loveliness

Mariposa lily cuteness was in bloom all over the place. Lots of little black beetle like bugs in most of them.


Thanks to Annie’s I can identify crap loads of plants I was clueless about earlier, but I’m still a rookie. As a junior level California native plant identifier, I think the above is a Brodiaea of some sort, but that’s all I know. They were everywhere!

Cute little Dudleyas

Keep an eye out for Dudleya blooms this time of year if you live near the coast. Guessing this is Dudleya farinosa. All of our backyard duds are in flower right now.

Old St. Hillary's

California Poppies

Lots and lots and lots of California poppies blooming all over the place. They were the cute little light orange guys.

Gosh Darn Yellow Composites (GDYC)

I have four guesses of what this might be, but for now I’m going to call it Gosh Darn Yellow Composite. Update, thanks to a helpful flickr member help I have a positive id: Hemizonia congesta ssp. lutescens

Silene californica

This was another unknown (to me) until a kind flickr member ID’ed it for me as Silene californica. I love you flickr! Next year we’ll get our wildflower searching happening a little earlier when more is going on.

DIY Succulent Pallet Table

June 4, 2011 by Matti | 272 Comments

Max with the new Succulent Table.

Max with the new Succulent Table.

Can you believe that our latest DIY project was once just a couple of junky pallets and some scrappy table legs?  Crazy…if I didn’t have photos, I wouldn’t believe it myself.  Not too long ago, we whipped out a coffee table sized succulent table out of an old shipping crate.  Now we scaled it up.

The pallets.

The pallets.

First bit of advice, deconstructing pallets are a big pain unless you have the right tools…and our hammer and wall scrapper wasn’t quite doing the trick.  Boards were cracking and splitting left and right.  Good news.  We had three pallets to figure out how to do it, and by the second one…we were getting usable boards.

Couple good planks.

Couple good planks.

Love the scares of time left on these chunks of pallet wood.

Attaching the legs.

Attaching the legs.

After pulling apart two pallets, we used the 2 x 4 sized boards to make a rectangular frame to attached the appropriated table legs.  Debate went back and forth whether or not to strip the paint off the legs…we’re not huge fans of washed out creamy yellow.  We ended up just leaving them dinged up how we found them.  In the end, it worked in our favor.

Dry run for fittings.

Dry run for fittings.

Like TV magic (and 2 days later), the table was more or less put together.  We got so into the project that we forgot to take some pics during the building of the succulent hole, oops.  Basically, the top is made up in three sections.  Two flat boards make the right side, three boards make the left.  The center three boards were built as a separate planting box…again all using parts of the pallet.  We made it this way because we knew the succulent table was going to journey about 45 minutes south to Sunset Test Garden.  The plan was to make the succulent section removable so that it could ride inside the car while the rest of the table may need to be strapped to the roof of the Subaru.

Megan with some semps.

Megan with some semps.

After a weekend of slivers and sweat, we finally got to plant this baby.  Megan had the pleasure to do the ceremonial dividing up of the first bunch of semps.

Getting messy.

Getting messy.

3/8 inch holes where drilled in the bottom, and we decided to go with a fast draining cactus mix.  The bulk of the plants are Sempervivum, Sedum, and a hint of Orostachys iwarenge.  We plugged in some pea sized pebbles to stabilize and dress up the top.

Packing them in.

Packing them in.

Yeah, we didn’t hold back on jamming them.  By all means, it would be fine to plant the strip thin and let it grow in.  But when you need it to look full fast…you just hold, tuck and stick until it looks more or less done.

Succulents playing together.

Succulents playing together.


Finishing touches.

Finishing touches.

Here you can get a sense of how the center box is separate from the rest of the table…great for traveling.

Ready for action.

Ready for action.

Speaking of journeys, this guy is on view Jun 4-5 at the Sunset Magazine Celebration Weekend in their Test Garden down in Menlo Park, CA.  While your there, say hi to Johanna Silver, aka Ask a Garden Girl and Sunset Test Guru.  She has rock star garden skills and one of the most engaging personalities you’ll find.

Hey, you can stay up-to-date with us on Facebook or place an ad.  We have super low intro pricing right now.

— Far Out Flora