Far Out Flora

Mendocino Garden Madness

July 27, 2011 by Megan Speckmann | 28 Comments

Viola nigra 'Bowles Black' & Armeria maritima

We spent a morning checking out the fabulous Mendocino Botanical Gardens. This was our first summertime visit, and it rocked! Any garden that uses Viola nigra ‘Bowles Black’ as a groundcover is awesome in my book. I went a little crazy in the picture taking department.

Eucomis comosa coolness

Globularia 'Blue Eyes'

I freaked out when I saw Globularia ‘Blue Eyes’ in bloom for the first time. It’s just as cute as I expected it to be in real life. It’s a funky little Canary Island native I want.

Mass of Angelica stricta 'Purpurea'

Wholly gigantic patch of Angelica stricta ‘Purpurea’! Annie brought seed for this guy back to the nursery from Mendocino Gardens.

Salvia transsylvanica

Dahlia 'Neon Splendor'

The Dahlia garden was in full freak out mode. There was a Dahlia ‘Siclor Procyon’ almost as big as Matti’s head. I bet the Dahlia Garden next to the Conservatory of Flowers is looking good right now, too.

Jasione sp.

I had no idea what this flower was until a kindly flickrer helped me out. It’s adorable! Are you noticing a purple theme? This was not intentional.

Rhodochiton atrosanguineum

Rhodochiton atrosanguineum rocks! We’ve got this funky “bell” shaped vine growing in our garden and love it. We picked it up in the nursery here last time we were here back in November.

Cool blue Commelina coelestris

After a little googling around it looks like this pretty blue flower is kind of prolific (weedy bordering on invasive). That’s too bad.

Fuchsia vulcanica

Fuchsia fulgens x splendens

A post about Mendocino Botanical Gardens is not complete without a couple of Fuchsia pics. They have a great collection. I saved succulents for Matti, but you can check out all 126 of our pics are on flickr here.

Simply Succulent = Sweet!

July 22, 2011 by Megan Speckmann | 15 Comments

Succulent Bicycle Heaven

Last weekend we headed up to Mendocino for a little vacation. Before we go all crazy with posts from the botanical garden (looking super awesome right now) and the town which is pretty much exploding with blooms I wanted to call out a cool little succulent nursery we’ve never checked out before called Simply Succulent in Fort Bragg. Super friendly and knowledgeable owner Rella was happy to let me take pictures like a crazy person, and even brought me in to one her employee only Epiphyllum hoop houses to check out the amazing blooms.

Epiphyllum Awesomeness

I did a really crappy job getting the names of Epiphyllums, which shouldn’t have been the difficult considering they were written clearly in sharpie on the leaves. Never have I seen so many Epiphyllums in bloom in one place!  Fort Bragg resident Jim Goekler has been hybridizing them for years, and has shared quite a few with Renna for the public to buy. They’re amazing.

Senecio articulatus

Love this striking chalky blue Senecio, but I have to admit we did not buy a single plant on our entire trip. I think it’s a first for us.

Succulent Sculpture

Sedum Grouncover Lawn Alternatives

How cool would it be to have an entire lawn area covered in these Sedums? Rella has written an article about transforming your water hogging yard into a low water oasis in the most recent Mendocino Travel Guide.


Aeonium Forest

You gotta love mass quantities of Aeoniums grouped together. All in all, Simply Succulent is definitely worth a visit if you’re in Mendocino. Rella has an amazing assortment of awesome plants. You can check out all our pics from the nursery here.


Strybing Super Flowers

July 19, 2011 by Megan Speckmann | 11 Comments

What the heck?

Recently I did my interpretive station volunteer gig at the SF Botanical Garden, so Matti and I went a little early to wander about. I had seen this crazy ass thing budding a couple weeks ago. Couldn’t find a tag with a name. I’m guessing it’s some sort of New Zealand wonder plant, but have no idea what the heck it is. It’s at least 15′ tall.

Berkheya purpurea "Zulu Warrior"

This freaky Zulu Warrior purple sunfloweresque guy from South Africa was in bud last time I strolled by. I kind of wish I would have planted one of these puppies in our garden this past spring. This spike o’flowers has to be at least a foot long! (Annie’s has it available this very second if you want one).

Lobelia excelsa Excitement!

I drive by one of these hotties on my way in to work everyday, but the one at Strybing was in full freak out mode. Now I really want one.

Passiflora parritae

The freaky awesome Passifloras are doing their right now. There was a Passiflora parritae x antioquiensis
‘Mission Dolores’
in the tree across the way, but the flowers were too far away to get a recognizable pic. My favorite, Passiflora membranaceae was freaking out all over a tree in the cloud forest. It’s looking really good at the entrance right now, too.

Oenothera tetragona & Digitalis friend

There’s exciting news at SF Botanical Garden. They’re going to be selling plants in a cool new lath house behind the gift shop in the main entrance every weekend, and maybe more often if volunteers make it happen. If it hasn’t already started, it should be getting going soon.




Blooming in July!

July 14, 2011 by Megan Speckmann | 12 Comments

Pelargonium trigonum miracle flower!

Happy Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day! We’ve got some stuff blooming in the backyard. You might be thinking, “Hey, that’s a geranium flower. What’s exciting about that?”, but it’s a freak Pelargonium we picked up at a Succulent Society meeting. We still have the tag calling it Pelargonium trigonum, but I can’t find anything on the interwebs about it. I’m thinking maybe it’s Pelargonium tetragonum, it’s gotta be closely related. It has square succulent stems, might be confused for Euphorbia and is weird. I think it would be a lot happier in a different (sunnier/drier) spot, now that I’ve finally took the time to read about it. Here’s a pic of it back in May when it wasn’t getting eaten by a Calceolaria.

Calceolaria integrifolia ‘Kentish Hero’ & friends

You can barely see the poor Pelargonium between Calceolaria integrifolia ‘Kentish Hero’ and Cerinthe major purpurascens. The Calceolaria has been going crazy with orangey mouthed flowers.

Cotyledon orbiculata that keeps on giving

Cotyledon orbiculata has been blooming since early April. It just keeps pumping out flowers.

Dahlia 'Dark Side of the Sun'

So far my Dahlia experiment has been doing pretty well. No powdery mildew, yet! The cold, damp, drizzly fog is definitely here for Summer.

Keckiella cordifolia (CA Native) getting cuddly with the Agave

Gilia capitata chamissonis fluffy cuteness (CA Native)

Eccremocarpus scaber 'Cherry Red'

New Zinnia & Eryngium tripartitum

We’ve quite a bit more blooming all over the place right now. Check out our backyard flickr set for all the action in July. Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting Bloom Day!


Fort Funston’s Wildflower Freakout

July 8, 2011 by Megan Speckmann | 10 Comments

Abronia latifolia

Last Sunday morning Matti, Max and I hit up Fort Funston about four miles south of our place for some wildflower hunting. Thanks to Anni J. at Annie’s, know that the above clump of round yellow blooms is Abronia latifolia, or Sand Verbena. It’s very succulenty. According to Las Pilitas Nursery it likes to be really, really close to the beach, like a couple hundred feet from the surf close. It’s also the sole food source for the almost endangered Copablepharon fuscum or Sand Verbena moth.

Dudleya farinosa

This is why we really came to Fort Funston. It’s Dudleya flowering season which means you can actually find them via their red stems and flowers all over the place. Sweet! Pretty sure these are all Dudleya farinosa. We saw some less frosty green guys, too.

Cirsium occidentale

One of the coolest things about being the plant sign maker at Annie’s is seeing plants I’ve only read about in the wild for the first time. The even cooler part is being able to identify them. This Cirsium is one of those plants. Here are a few more favorites from the wander around.

Coast Paintbrush - Castilleja affinis

Erigeron glaucus

Camissonia cheiranthifolia, I think.

Mystery Ferns

Anyone know what these sand/sun loving ferns are?

Happy Dog Max

Fort Funston’s still full of tons of beachy blooms. It’s chock full of Eriogonums in all shapes and sizes, and oh yeah it’s also an off-leash dog park so bring the puppy. You can check out all our Fort Funston pics are here, including many of Matti looking super excited.