Far Out Flora

Good-bye California, Hello Wisconsin!

March 31, 2012 by Megan | 45 Comments

 

Good-bye garden! (click for bigger pic)

No, this is not an early April Fools joke. We’re moving back to Madison, Wisconsin at the end of April. After nearly five exciting years of living in San Francisco we’re heading home to have a baby at the end of August (we find out if it’s a boy or girl next Friday). We’re still going to blog and we’re still going to garden, it will just be sconnie style (more beer, cheese and warm weather flowers and veggies). We’re confident there will be plenty of far out plants to grow in the midwest and you can count on us to find every succulent that can survive in zone 5. We’ve been researching it for a couple months now and the selection is surprisingly large. All of our sempervivums and cold hardy sedums are coming with, along with the others that can deal with freezing temps. Expect to see lots of alpine plants and Matti’s dream moss garden can finally become a reality! To keep ourselves sane in the winter, we’ll be starting lots of plants inside.

Lewisia cotyledon ‘Sunset Strain’ (cold hardy and coming with)

You’re probably wondering what we’re going to do with our current garden. We always knew it would come to an end at some point, which is one of the reasons we started a blog about it. Well, we’re going to sell it off in little pieces, along with containers and other gardeny things we won’t need, to raise funds for the move back and baby stuff.  That’s right, on Saturday, April 14th you can come buy a little piece of Far Out Flora. There will be more info and pics coming soon.  Another way to help us raise funds is to buy an ad on our blog. Click here for more info, they’re cheap. Feel free to just throw giant wads of cash at us, we wouldn’t turn away an all expense paid trip to Santa Barbara to visit Lotusland on our way back to Wisconsin, too. Okay, that’s getting greedy, but honestly living in SF (really the entire Bay Area) is crazy talk expensive. We’ve made it work, but it hasn’t been easy. Why do you think we spend so much time in the garden and outside looking at plants? It’s free!

Aloe polyphylla as a houseplant?

People of Madison keep an eye out for a 2-3 bedroom, border collie friendly house, within walking/biking distance to Olbrich Gardens and Lake Monona for $1000 or less.  It’s possible, isn’t it?  A fenced in backyard for Max, dishwasher and basement are all high on the list of wants, too. So that’s our dream place. In reality we’ll take space over location. We’ll be living with friends when we get back, turning their ginormous (we’re talking football field sized) backyard in to a garden paradise this summer and over the years. Right now we’re dreaming about making trellis forts with cool climbing plants for the kids (maybe even grown ups) to play in and growing happy tomatoes along with other warm weather loving veggies we’ve had to forgo living on the chilly coast. Maybe a small sunflower field and cutting garden… the possibilities are endless. Expect way more cool summery DIY projects and perhaps a spin-off kids gardening blog down the road. We’ve been missing the rock star thrift stores and garage sales in Madison. Thanks so much to everyone for all comments and follows along the way!

Matti, Megan & Max

Where it all started

Here are some more pics of the garden we took yesterday. We’re going to start ripping it out today. It will be well documented and sad, but we’re going to have tons of fun gardening in Wisconsin.

Graptoveria 'Crested Form' going to get chopped up

Erysimum franciscanum var. crassifolium isn't going anywhere

Primula auricula 'Angelo Hayes'

 

Aeonium town

Kalanchoe prolifera has all kinds of babies

Gardeny awesomeness

Pfeiffer, Plants and Beaches

March 29, 2012 by Matti | 8 Comments

Big Sur - over looking the Bixby Bridge

Big Sur - over looking the Bixby Bridge

One of coolest drives you can take is Highway 1. Our favorite stretch is from Carmel by the Sea down to Big Sur. Every mile you want to pull the car over and stand in awe. For miles you can witness the Pacific Ocean splashing against the rocky cliffs, little pockets of cool plants and beaches which you never seem to be able to touch.

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park Waterfall

Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park McWay Waterfall

About 38 miles south of Carmel by the Sea, you will stumble upon Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park. If you are lucky enough, you may see McWay Waterfall in action. I say lucky, because the falls can dry up during parts of the year. It’s an easy hike to the falls and always some flowers and foliage worth checking out.

Baccharis pilularis - Coyote Brush

Baccharis pilularis - Coyote Brush

I admire the integrity of the Coyote Brush (Baccharis pilularis). It tolerates harsh, salty winds and long drought summers. Most of the year it usually looks like it’s on the verge of death. Late fall into the winter, it flushes out a delicate display yellow and fluffy white flowers. There’s a dwarfy Bay Area native called Baccharis pilularis Twin Peaks that I want to bring home.

Hesperoyucca whipplei - Our Lord's Candle

Hesperoyucca whipplei - Our Lord's Candle

Megan was the first to spot these guys chilling along the rocky face. Hesperoyucca whipplei (syn. Yucca whipplei) goes by many names including Our Lord’s Candle and Spanish Bayonet. The common names are describing the 3-10 foot flower spike with a densely branched inflorescence (not seen here).

NOID - maybe Malacothrix saxatilis ?

NOID - maybe Malacothrix saxatilis ?

We believe that this NOID is Malacothrix saxatilis. Anybody have thoughts or a better guess?

Epilobium canum (synonym Zauschneria californica) - California Fuchsia

Epilobium canum (synonym Zauschneria californica) - California Fuchsia

The California Fuchsia (Epilobium canum) was putting on quite the show along the cliffs. Hummingbirds really dig this plant, and we spotted it many spots along our trek.

The McWay Waterfall is one of those many beaches along Hwy 1 that you can never reach because of steep cliffs. However, there is one beach that you can reach and we always visit. It’s 8 miles north of the McWay Falls (or 30 miles south of Carmel by the Sea)…

Pfeiffer Beach Big Sur

Pfeiffer Beach Big Sur

It’s called Pfeiffer Beach in Big Sur…and it can be a real challenge to find. You need to look for a sharp turn that leads to a one-lane road called Sycamore Rd. At the end, you will find a $5 toll booth and a beach that does not disappoint the senses. Oh bonus, it’s semi dog friendly too. I say semi because I believe it’s on leash only, but many dogs run free after you get to the north end of the beach.

Abronia latifolia - Coastal Sand Verbena

Abronia latifolia - Coastal Sand Verbena

Here’s a new old friend that we see a lot along the coast…Abronia latifolia (Coastal Verbena). It’s a cute little salty succulent. While Max the Border Collie stretches his legs, and Megan takes a bunch of pics….Matti loves too balance rocks.

Matti balancing rocks.

Matti balancing rocks.

Yes, it is a little known fact that I love rock stacking.

Big Sur Spirit Garden

Big Sur Spirit Garden

In Big Sur and still need more plant action? We highly recommend these two of our favorites, Big Sur Spirit Garden and Nepenthe. The Spirit Garden is this funky little watering hole that has a whole lot of charm, while Nepenthe will let you fill your more sophisticated needs. Either way, their plants are worth a stop. Anybody have other Big Sur or Hwy 1 plant stop favs? Would love to hear about them.

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– Far Out Flora

Succulent Table Spotted

March 24, 2012 by Matti | 9 Comments

 

Succulent Pallet Table

Succulent Pallet Table

The San Francisco Garden Show is going full force this weekend.  That’s where we found this beauty…succulents growing down the center of a table made with pallets.  Okay, okay…it’s our Succulent Pallet Table that was first featured at the Sunset Celebration Weekend, and is still making the rounds.  After all this time, we’re glad to see that the succulent babies are looking happy.

Matti and Megan with the Succulent Table

Matti and Megan with the Succulent Table

Wanna see the best parts of the show?  You must check out Bamboo and More, where Gerhard Bock and Candy Sweetstuff captured the cream of the crop.

Succulent Gardens' Growing Wall Garden

Succulent Gardens' Growing Wall Garden

Speaking of greatness, we never miss see Succulent Gardens when they are at a show.  Here’s a peek at one of their Succulent Vertical Gardens that Robin Stockwell masterfully creates.  BTW, all the plants for our Pallet Table came from Succulent Gardens…they grow the best succulents found anywhere.

Anne of Green Gardens

Anne of Green Gardens

Another person we had the pleasure to meet for the first time was Anne of Green Gardens.  Anne is filled with garden info and brought in some of our Mini gardens to the Show.  Stop and say hello.

Sproutopia Horton Hears a Who

Sproutopia Horton Hears a Who

The first place we darted to was Sproutopia.  Kids and gardening…what a perfect combo.  I’m always impressed how children design there special 2×2 foot space.  In two words…No Fear.

Succulent Pallet Table

Succulent Pallet Table

There’s still plenty of weekend left to…..Go to the Show, See our DIY Pallet Table, then Head over to watch Star Apple Edible Gardens at 2:30PM Sun.  Stefani and Leslie will amaze you how easy it can be to Grow Food in the City.

– Far Out Flora

Driftwood Insanity in the Sunset

March 17, 2012 by Megan | 29 Comments

Succulent driftwood container of happiness

About two years ago I blogged about this rock star of a garden in Outer Sunset. While walking the dog a couple weeks ago I ran in to it again and  it’s gotten better with age. Whoever created this work of garden awesomeness rocks! It’s on 44th avenue around Pacheco maybe (I can’t remember, but I’m pretty sure it’s south of Noriega).

Aeonium nobile

Succulents on the street

Ceanothus and super sweet fence

The fence was still a work in progress last time we visited, but we knew it was going to turn out amazing. Now I want to copy it. Looks like they used bits of reclaimed wood mixed in with driftwood. Hurray for Ceanothus bloom time!

The border

Sexy Salvia africana-lutea

My all time favorite Salvia. It’s gotta be the orangey-rust blooms. Now I know I planted ours in a ridiculous spot seeing how big they get. Ooops. I seem to have a problem with size denial… “It won’t really get THAT big”.

More happy border

Driftwoody container

This place is definitely worth swinging by if you’re in the neighborhood. Be sure to check out the best succulent garden on the Great Highway while you’re at it.

Foliage Follow Up First Timers

March 16, 2012 by Megan | 11 Comments

Euphorbia rigida & friends

So yesterday’s Bloom Day post was kind of lame. Lots of repeat blooms… nothing really exciting, so I finally got my act together for a Foliage Follow Up post. Not sure why we never did one before. We’ve got way more going on in the foliage department than flowers most of the time. Thanks to Pam at Digging for hosting the leafy online get together!

Dudleya pulverulenta

Momma Dudleya with new little pup. There’s another cutie on the other side.

Succulent friends

You gotta love Oscularia deltoides (the frosty blue guy crawling around in the Aeoniums). This side of the garden gets no direct sun for a couple of months in the winter, but the succulents don’t seem to care.

 

Othonna capensis

This teeny weeny little succulent is in my top ten favorite succulents list. It’s just so gosh darn cute.

Agave & friends

Dang it, I have no idea what Agave this is. We won it at the SF Succulent Society Sale a couple years ago and I never bothered to write down the name. Anyone know what it might be?

Succulentfest

Sorry the pic is so blown out. This is one of the oldest and least touched (rearranged) succulent sections of the garden besides the succulents under our Agave americana.

 

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Plectranthus neochilus & Aeoniums

The Plectranthus buds don’t count as blooms, do they? I love this plant and its herby smell. You either hate the smell or love it. It’s super tough if you have a spot where nothing else with grow. Happy Foliage Follow Up!