Far Out Flora

Totally Tulipmania

February 28, 2012 by Megan Speckmann | 12 Comments


This past weekend we headed to a part of town we rarely frequent, Fisherman’s Wharf. After a quick stop at the Ferry Building to load up on an assortment of free samples at the Farmers’ Market we headed down to Pier 39 to check out the Tulipmania. Warning there is nothing very “Far Out” in this post, but we saw lots and lots of tulips, spring bloomers & tourists.

Icelandic Poppies

Hooray for Icelandic poppies (Papaver nudicaule), too!

Back to tulips


Even more tulips

They planted parsley to fill in some of the beds, which looked fabulous.

More gosh darn tulips

Through the twitter world we found out that Denise Dirickson has been the gardener at Pier 39 for thirty five years! She rocks it. Check out my blog post from last year’s summer bloomfest at the wharf here. I have to admit I was a little shocked at how awesome the gardens were. If you find yourself in Fisherman’s Wharf make sure you don’t miss out on the coolest thing there, the Musee Mechanique. Here’s the link to all our pics from Tulipmania on flickr.

Linaria Flamenco Looking Fab

February 20, 2012 by Matti | 13 Comments

Taken Sept 10ish.

Sept 10ish Linaria reticulata 'Flamenco'

We’re thinking over some container ideas for the late winter / early spring planting time.  Last year we went with this Linaria reticulata ‘Flamenco’.  Man that’s been a gorgeous plant.

Planted April 1st ish..no foolin

Planted April 1st ish..no foolin

For some reason, I thought we started this planting a lot earlier, but looks lie it was on April 1st…ish.  I bet would do fine with seed, but opted using 4inch starters instead.

April 16th.

April 16th.

Amazing how fast the Linaria ‘Flamenco’ took and started to flower…in less than a month. Those red and golden blooms are mouthwatering.

April 30th

April 30th

May 22

May 22

Besides being a showstopper, Linaria reticulata ‘Flamenco’ is one of those bloomers that keep on giving. It flowered for us for at least half a year. We did cut it back a couple times and that seemed to extend the flowering. Oh, bonus…after established, we didn’t have to feed it much water.

July 2nd Linaria reticulata 'Flamenco'

July 2nd Linaria reticulata 'Flamenco'

As we sit and ponder what to plant next, we wonder what sort of plant combinations are you peeps are getting ready for this (upcoming) season.  Share them…we would love to know!

— Far Our Flora

February Flowers

February 14, 2012 by Megan Speckmann | 21 Comments

Ferraria crispa

Happy Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day! We’ve got all kinds of sweet stuff blooming right now, but this Ferraria crispa is the freakiest. It’s our first fancy South African bulb. The foliage on this guy is what sold me. So often SA bulbs have lame grassy leaves, but this guy is almost succulent. Blooms are super fragrant, smelling like a combo of vanilla and butt. They’re fly pollinated, so the stank works for them. Check out all our pics of it here. Now for some of the California natives that have started to bloom.

Coreopsis gigantea & friends

During our first big rainstorm in what seemed like forever ago one of the branches took a dive, but it didn’t break off. We think it might help counterbalance the giant poofy top. It’s growing a with a bit of a tilt, but we’re going to get another big bunch of blooms soon. The Aeonium nobile above the bowling pin is going nuts! A shout out to Jenn at Dirty Girl Gardening for giving it to us last summer.


Phacelia viscida

Aristolochia californica

Three years ago I went on a mission to find this plant. I had seen cool pipe covered pictures of it via google and thought it was the coolest thing ever. Matti and I went to our first SF Garden show in 2009, where I tracked one down from Bay Natives. It was a little slow to establish and I thought it was dead the first year it went deciduous… right now it’s about to do the amazing thing I saw online. It put on a decent show last year, but this year is going to be nuts. If it wasn’t deciduous I don’t know if I could deal. Hopefully this is the year the Pipevine Swallowtails will sniff it out. They’re welcome to eat as much of it as they want.

Eccremocarpus scaber 'Cherry Red'

It’s the vine that won’t quit. Last year our Eccremocarpus died back quite a bit, but this year our masses of them (them reseed like crazy,  annoying cut off the pods crazy) are keeping the hummingbirds happy.

Fuchsia fulgens with Aeonium 'Cyclops' friend

Fuchsia boliviana

Brugmansia sanguinea

Senecio cristobalensis

Euphorbia wulfenii

Crested Euphorbia 'Tiny Tim'

Pretty much all the flowers on ‘Tiny Tim’ are cresting with bizarre monster like flowers. My crackpot theory is that aphids had something to do with it. They were all over this guy and I didn’t really do anything but blast it with the hose once. We have another big honking Euphorbia that’s currently under attack. I’m keeping my fingers crossed it will have a bunch of freaky blooms in a few weeks, too.

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Garden for hosting Bloom Day!

SF Botanical Garden is Blazing

February 9, 2012 by Matti | 17 Comments

Bomarea sp. - Climbing Alstroemeria

Bomarea sp. - Climbing Alstroemeria

Taking advantage of our warm weather here in SF, we headed to one of our GoTo spots for dazzling displays of color…the SF Botanical Garden at Strybing.  Speaking of gorgeous, this yellow bell-shape bloom above is a Bomarea species. It seems to meander in and out of the other cloud foresty shrubs while showing off its dense umbel of flowers.

Bomarea sp - Climbing Alstroemeria

Bomarea sp - Climbing Alstroemeria

Here’s another Bomarea buddy in a shade of reddish-orange. They have tuberous roots and belong to the Peruvian Lilly Family (Alstroemeriaceae).  Odd tidbit about Bomarea, the leaves are resupinate…that is, each leave twists from the base so that the top of the leaf is actually the underside.

Colletia ulicina - Cunco rojo

Colletia ulicina - Cunco Rojo

Colletia ulicina is another cloud forest bloomer found in Chile where locals call it Cunco Rojo. Those aren’t lime green leaves you’re seeing, they’re short spiny thorns…ouch. Oh…check it out, J.G. in S.F. has the sweet pic of Colletia ulicina. Wow!

Ribes - Currant

Ribes - Flowering Currant

Ahh, the Ribes are starting to pop…Cactus Jungle has a recent pic.  It’s a sure sign that spring is just around the corner.

Roldana chapalensis - Groundsel
Roldana chapalensis – Groundsel

Roldana chapalensis is an intriguing shrub.  Frankly, I can’t remember ever seeing it before, but the large-scale blooms and odor caught my attention.  It had one of those guilty pleasure scents…I thought it smelled a little off, but couldn’t stop sniffing it.

Puya coerulea var. violacea - Dark Purple Puya

Puya coerulea var. violacea - Dark Purple Puya

The succulent section was looking glam.  These Puya coerulea var. violacea (Dark Purple Puya) were standing proud with their stiff, sharp and silver leaf blades.

Agave parryi var. parryi mescal and friends

Agave parryi var. parryi mescal and friends

Can’t get enough of this Agave parryi var. parryi mescal (on the bottom right).  Yes, the drought tolerant peeps are looking lush.

Wollemia nobilis - Wollemia Pine

Wollemia nobilis - Wollemia Pine

Okay, we’ve searched a couple times at Strybing looking for this Wollemia nobilis…aka the Wollemia Pine.  Well, we finally found it!  Yeah, we could have asked for directions, but that takes all the fun out of it.  BTW, the Wollemia Pine is pretty rare.  Check out an early post of one we found in the East Bay.



One last adorable show of color during our hike.  We couldn’t find an ID for it, but thought somebody probably knows what it is.  Any guesses on this purple bloomer?   Before we forget, Strybing is having a plant sale this Saturday Feb 11, great time to load up.

— Far Out Flora

Happy Birthday Matti!

February 4, 2012 by Megan Speckmann | 21 Comments

Agave Mustache Matti

Happy Birthday to Matti today! He has reached a new decade which will remain anonymous, but let’s just say it starts with an f. Hurray!!!!

Matti & Aloes

Matti & Playland

Matti in Mendocino