Far Out Flora

Cresting Succulents

November 28, 2011 by Matti | 13 Comments

Graptoveria 'Fred Ives' crested

Graptoveria 'Fred Ives'

We’re starting to get a sweet collection of cresting succulents these days. Check out this Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’. Fab color and adds a lot of punch amongst the green and gray succulent. Parents of this cultivar are Graptopetalum paraguayense and Echeveria gibbiflora. Crazy how some plants can cross breed between genera.

Graptopetalum paraguayense crested

Graptopetalum paraguayense crested

I believe this was the first cresting succulent that we had in our garden. Back in the day, we picked up some Graptopetalum paraguayense cuttings from a buddy. Turned out that a couple of them started to crest. We’re not exactly sure how, why or when cresting happens, but found this article from the Cactus and Succulent Society of America that explains some of it. Seems that the growing point starts to go a little funky where the single growing point turns into a growing line or plane. Then the plant may form a crest or fan shape. It’s not limited to just succulents, but can occur on a variety of other plants. Yesterday, we noticed that one of our Euphorbia flowers is starting to crest. Strange.

Echeveria 'Doris Taylor' crested

Echeveria 'Doris Taylor'

Here’s a cresting Echeveria ‘Doris Taylor’ which we added to our collection a couple of months ago. Recently, we saw one available over at Urban Bazaar, which was awesome. Sometimes known as the Woolly Rose, parents are thought to be Echeveria setosa and Echeveria pulvinata. It has hairy leaves and normally grows in a rosette.

Aeonium 'Sunburst' crested

Aeonium 'Sunburst'

Another fun succulent that I picked up from work is this cresting Aeonium ‘Sunburst’. You can really see the flat stem here caused from the growing point happening over a line. BTW, cresting is also known as Cristate.

NOID crested

NOID crested

Okay. These next two, we aren’t exactly certain what they are. Would love some help on IDing it…or even some guesses. If I had to take a bet, I would say this on above is some sort of Pachyveria.

NOID crested

NOID crested

Here’s another to we’re not exactly sure, but think it’s another Graptoveria ‘Fred Ives’…just growing under different sunlight conditions in our garden.

Senecio vitalis crested

Senecio vitalis crested

Here’s a crester we no longer have, Senecio vitalis. The succulent was growing in a container and I think it got tossed during one of our revamping our garden sessions…oops.

Echeveria 'Winter Sunset' crested

Echeveria 'Winter Sunset'

We just planted this last one, Echeveria ‘Winter Sunset’ crested form. It has a cool looking stem and the rosettes are curving more than I could hope for. Does anybody have some fave succulents cresting in their collection? Would love to hear about them. Post some pics on our Facebook.

— Far Out Flora

Strybing All Day Long

November 22, 2011 by Matti | 3 Comments


Salpiglossis - Painted Tongue

Gotta love the SF Botanical Garden at Strybing. There’s always something to check out year round. How adorable is this Salpiglossis? Also known as Painted Tongue, it was popping in the beds. Found a great write up on Salpiglossis over at Life on the Balcony.

Fuchsia boliviana 'Alba'

Fuchsia boliviana

I’ve a love hate relationship with this Fuchsia. About a year ago gophers attacked and we lost a couple plants. Then requested you to help pick out our replacement plant. Well, the Fuchsia boliviana ‘Alba’ just squeaked in as the winner and I am a huge fan. However as I recall, F. b ‘Alba’ wasn’t available and we ended up planting F. boliviana instead…no Alba. Ours is getting big and I can always pop over to Strybing to get my Alba fix.

Amaryllis belladonna

Amaryllis belladonna

Every time I see Amaryllis belladonna, I think it’s gonna be the last of the season. Then I’ve got to bust out the camera and document. Just how late in the season will these guys bloom? Dirt Du Jour Northern California has an cool pick showing how it looks in the garden.

Dahlia tenuicaulis

Dahlia tenuicaulis - Tree Dahlia

I’ve been hearing a lot of stories about this plant, Dahlia tenuicaulis (aka Tree Dahlia). Early last spring while up in Mendocino, I just missed seeing them in flower. I mean, can it really be…a Dahlia that is a tree. Well, it’s true. We even scored a couple plants this past summer, which we planted up in a big container and they’re just about to flush out its first bloom. I just hope that the wind doesn’t snap off the main trunk before ours flowers. There’s a mystery what color they’ll be as it was unmarked. Stay tuned.

Salvia ‘Anthony Parker’

Salvia ‘Anthony Parker’

So many Salvias…so little time. Glad Strybing has ample space to grow out a bunch of them including this Salvia ‘Anthony Parker’. Gorgeous contrast between the purple and green.

Melianthus major 'Purple Haze'

Melianthus major

We’re in the search for our own Melianthus major ‘Purple Haze’. So far no luck, but we’ve put out the feelers. I suspect that if we get off our seats and head down to a Strybing plant sale…we’ll likely find one. Until then, just need to drool over this guy.

Canna edulis

Canna edulis

Another dazzling display. Canna edulis you look like fireworks shooting off into the sky.

Crinum moorei

Crinum moorei

Frankly, I know nothing about Crinum moorei. I didn’t even know the name until I found the tag. (shh… don’t tell Megan). What I do know is that Derek over at Plantgasm has the Coolest time-laps video EVER! of it blooming. Man, that was the best 90 seconds I’ve spent in a long time. Thanks for doing what you do…Derek!

— Far Out Flora

Adios Agave americana!

November 18, 2011 by Megan Speckmann | 14 Comments

Agave americana before

Last year we ripped out this middle section which was full of loser succulents we didn’t know what to do with to plant a bunch of California natives (one of the best gardening moves we’ve ever made). Way back when we first moved to San Francisco we picked up this Agave americana baby (we still have big momma) for free on Craigslist. The owner’s baby was starting to walk and she was worried the kid might fall and get stabbed.

Going for the kill

We only use the highest tech protective gear when gardening, like this stinky old sweatshirt. I’m pretty sure Matti has a few permanent scars from ripping out and moving these spiky plants over the past few years. Here’s a post we did about pulling out its little brother back in May and another post from last October, when Matti ripped out a bunch of babies and moved this guy to the middle.

Agave americana rip out, success!

This was back in early October. I have to point out the massive clump of Erysimum franciscanum var. crassifolium on the left. Have you ever seen a happier San Francisco Wallflower? It might just be one of my favorite plants. Can’t wait for it to be covered in yummy scented yellow blooms this spring.

Here it is frolicking last May with one of my favorite CA natives Gilia tricolor.

View from above

Here’s the view from the dining room window last weekend sans the Agave.  It’s kind of ridiculous how many plants we’ve crammed in back there, considering this is only half the yard.

More Erysimum franciscanum var. crassifolium love

If you live next to the beach in sandy land definitely give Erysimum franciscanum var. crassifolium a shot. We barely ever water it and even without flowers it’s a handsome fellow year round. Annie’s has a bunch of them right now.

P.S. We’d love it if you would vote for our terrarium entries at Potted (probably not the wisest move to enter the same week)

November Blooms

November 14, 2011 by Megan Speckmann | 17 Comments

Helenium autumnale 'Helena Red Shades'

Happy November Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day! This is the time of the year when we start to feel a little guilty about having all kinds of stuff blooming, not too guilty. Maybe two months ago I stuck Helenium autumnale ‘Helena Red Shades’  in a container on the part shade side of the garden not expecting much, but I’m loving it.

Lotus maculatus explosion

It’s a waterfall of orangey goodness! We flipped the grill container around a month or two ago & the Lotus is going nuts.

Crassula falcata

We ripped out a big Crassula falcata last winter, but a kept a couple chunks around. This one’s looking remarkably clean. The old one was pretty spotty. Seems to be cool with part shade.

Crassula corymbulosa


Cestrum 'Newellii'

Aloe arborenscens

Tropaeolum tuberosum & Eccremocarpus

The hummingbirds have been going nuts for the Tropaeolum tuberosum. Just when I think that the Eccremocarpus scaber ‘Cherry Red’ is dead it busts out with another flower.

Asclepias physocarpa

I thought this plant was a goner back in August/September. It was getting beat to crap by light brown apple moths & pretty much looking pitiful, but it looks like we’re going to see some “Family Jewel” action soon. It’s happy & covered in flowers.

Faucaria sp.

Nemophila menziesii "Baby Blue Eyes"

I’m hooked on Nemophilas. I’ve heard snails love them, but so far we’ve been lucky.

Nemophila menziesii 'Penny Black'

Nemophila menziesii ‘Penny Black’ is one of my favorite annuals on the planet. I’ll be jamming this plant in to nooks and crannies forever. Tons of my favorite CA native spring annuals are back at Annie’s along with poppies & sweet peas.

Petunia exserta still looking sexy

Cuphea cyanea "Pink Cigar Plant"

Happy Blooms!







Marvelous Magic Garden

November 11, 2011 by Megan Speckmann | 10 Comments

Viola Frey Sculpture

I’m taking a little break from my Wisconsin blog-o-rama fest (there’s only one, maybe two more left, I promise) to show you some pics of a super sweet private San Francisco  garden we had the privilege of visiting back in mid-October. Right away we recognized the sculpture by Viola Frey. This amazing space was created by Aerin Moore and Christian Cobbs of Magic Gardens (their website is rad & they even have a nursery in Berkeley that I’m kind of embarrassed we haven’t visited yet). Here are a few of my favorite pics from the visit, but you can check them all out here.

Recycled wall


Aeonium 'Cyclops'

Sultry Salvia confertiflora

Succulents out front

Senecio vitalis & friends


Dreamy Euphorbia rigida

Passiflora bee party