Far Out Flora

Good-bye California, Hello Wisconsin!



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


  1. Oh, we will miss you ! Happy to have a new baby succulent coming into the family congrats to you two ! Happy gardening in Wisc.

  2. Wishing you the best of the best for the family and garden.

  3. Congratulations!!!! Your going to be missed. But excited to read about your adventures in Wisconsin.

  4. We’re moving back to Madison, Wisconsin


    to have a baby at the end of August

    ! !

    W/r/t Aloe polyphylla as a houseplant: not sure. I’ve been trying since mid-December, and it’s not dead, but it’s been dropping a lot of lower leaves and I’m not sure why. At this point I would guess that it’s possible, if maybe not ideal.

  5. Wow! Big change. I am sad to see your garden go, but that’s life – never permanent. I am really happy to see that many of your far out plants will get new homes in gardens with equally cool stories. Best of luck to you!

  6. WOW! Ill be sad to see a fellow outer sunset succulent gardener leave. Ive been reading your blog for the last few months in order to gain inspiration to make my succulent garden dreams a reality. Can’t wait for two weeks when I can finally come check your out, although Im sure much will be out by then, regardless I would love to come see what u have and possibly make it my own. ALSO….I plan to do some succulent gardening in Tahoe this year, and u mentioned hardy winter succulents?? which ones exactly do you think will do the best and come back the following year?? Looking forward to finally meeting the two of you on the 14th!
    And congratulations!

  7. Ahhhh, so sad to see you guys go. I was always interested in succulents but you made my passion grow. You will be missed but best of luck in your new home. And congratulations on the baby :) I will hopefully make it over on the 14th as I’d love to adopt some of your plants!

  8. CONGRATS, guys. Change can be a good thing. I hope this is one is the absolute best. I for one will be watching, and can’t WAIT to hear more about your experiments with cold-hardy succulents. (Parenthood too.) I’m glad we got to meet in your California days, and I hope we get to meet again in this next chapter too. Best of luck in your big move back.

  9. WOW! That’s such big news. The BEST is the new baby! Congratulations, you are going to love being parents. I think I told you way back that I went to college at the University of Wisconsin and my years in Madison were the best of my (younger) life. My college-age daughter just happened to visit and couldn’t believe I got to go to college there. I’m sure you are going to be so happy!! Can’t wait to follow your adventure. Best of luck!!

  10. Get out! OMG…congrats on the baby, that is wonderful news. What lucky kid, he/she is going to have such amazing adventures with you two. Wish I could be there for your sale, just missed it by a couple of weeks. Good luck!

  11. WHAT? Nooooooo! I can’t even imagine moving back east! It would be a nightmare to me. Glad you are doing so willingly and happily and with exciting news of a baby on the way.

    Glad I got to meet you Megan! I’m sure FarOutFlora will continue to be one of my favorite gardening blogs!

  12. Congrats on the move! Bar-none your blog was the best garden blog in The City. I look forward to following your new garden in Wisconsin. Megan, I know of a certain nursery near there you can visit. They love garden bloggers. LOL!

    Best wishes!

  13. End of August…we Virgos like the sound of that!

  14. Congratulations on your new seedling ; I can understand the lure of family and warm temperatures in summer- theres no way I could stick it out for as long as you have in that challenging San Francisco climate ! I look forward to reading of your new adventures east of the Rockies .

  15. i have a better idea. i have a beautiful piece of land that’s wooded with southern magnolia, hickory, southern red oak, and sweetgum. i’ll give it to you!, well, i’ll give you a 100 year lease for $1. you just have to let me do most of the gardening. i’m developing it as an arboretum to be known as ‘tabula rasa’. and i want you to know i am serious. very serious.

  16. love you both and super excited for the football field transformation :)

  17. Congrats to all of you! It’s true, SF is crazy talk expensive. Can’t wait to learn more about Madison, Wis. on FFF.

  18. Wow! It’s been 5 years! I can’t believe it. I’m glad to hear you’re coming back to Madison, but you can’t have your amazing gardens here can you? Congrats on your baby. Very exciting. I hope to see you on your return.

  19. Okay, so many thoughts for my fave bloggers… My other Dirty Girl and I are coming to SF for next years flower & garden show and we were hoping to meet you, damn! Woohoo, you are having a babe… lucky kid!
    We moved from Chicago to Denver a bit before you moved to SF, so I understand your passion for everything succulent… but life moves on and you will make fun with all of your gardens in the future. Madison is an awesome town and shade plants rock!
    The best of luck to your new family, can’t wait to hear about your new adventures!

  20. Sooooooo excited to have you back in America’s Dairyland! See you soon!

  21. A sad day, indeed, for San Francisco. But you’ll always have a place to stay with us when you come visit, and I promise to do my best to not kill all the plants you’ve given to me.

  22. Wow…big news…congrats! I’ve followed your blog for lots of succulent inspiration…but rarely commented. Madison is not THAT far from me…would be fun to have a couple famous bloggers swing by sometime! Maybe even get you hooked on hostas 😉 I really look forward to following you Wisconsin gardening adventures!

  23. Meg and Matti — congratulations! I am so very excited for you and your growing family (and garden)! I also f*ckin’ miss you like crazy. Thank you for your passion, and your inspiration. You two have really inspired me more than you’ll ever know. I am grateful for you. I sincerely wish you all the best and look forward to hearing about all your new adventures! :)

  24. Wow, congratulations on the baby & the move! :)

    I for one will be excited for Mid-west inspired blogging – can’t wait to see your new gardens.

    And I wish I could shop your garage sale!

  25. Congratulations on the baby!! And it will be so much fun to read about your Wisconsin experience. Wish I lived closer and come enjoy your sale.

  26. Just so you know… Aeonium Town is design perfection in my world. Brunnera world will be coming up next?

  27. Oh I am happy for you but so sad. LOVE this blog. :(
    Happy trails!

  28. wow! I wish you guys the best of luck on the move! I know this sounds incredibly selfish, but I sure am going to miss all your wonderful san fran/cali coast adventures!!!! I wonder if you could keep an agave parryi alive in Madison?!?!

  29. Wow ! :( :) Change is so sad, and exciting, and sad… you guys have been a total inspiration! Thank you so much for all your amazing work and I look forward to more from WI ! Bring on the Brats! I will do my best to make sure the lil Lawton civic gardening circle continues on! The Outer Sunset will miss you…

  30. Hi,

    Just happened upon your blog, congratulations on your new baby! That is my life’s work :). I am beginning to make succulent art as a new venture and would love to come to your sale…can you please send me address and times.

    I am an Annie’s regular and had planned on going to her Spring Party that day, but will try and do both.

    Like your blog BTW :)


    • Thanks Linda. They both will be well worth the visit. The address is 1344 La Playa, 94122 going from 9-5. Would love to hear about your succulent art. I feel there’s a lot more to explore around it.

  31. But I’ve just discovered you and your awesome succulent garden. I love coming here to drool over all your fabulous photos and cool ideas for all things gardeny. I suppose I can still do that but irt will never be the same again. Have fun with your next BIG adventure. ps I wish I could come over to buy some of your awesome plants, but they would never survive in my northern garden.

  32. This makes me just a tad sad, but I’m sure it’s for the best. You guys have the most incredible tropical garden, it’s always looked more like alice in wonderland then reality. All things pass, I wish you the best of luck in your travels. :)

  33. Boo-urns!!!! We’ll miss you guys! You’ve been a major inspiration to us SF plants freaks! but sweet congratulations on the good news and I can’t wait to see your new adventures and projects in Wisconsin:)

  34. Just discovered your blog today. As I mentioned in my previous note, I live about five miles from Olbrich. Congrats on the baby-on-the-way and the move! I do have some cold-hardy succulents in my garden and would be glad to share.

  35. Having done it, I know it is always tough to leave a garden but I can’t wait to see what you do here! Are you looking to rent or buy? House across the street from me is for sale. Huge lot, a few big trees at the edges and nothing else. It is calling out for gardeners! The next door neighbor is a great gardener and at the house after his, they raise chickens. Far west side Madison. Looking forward to meeting you.

  36. Wish I could make that far out sale! If you do get wads of cash & make it to Santa Barbara on your way out of Cali, give a holler. Much happiness in Wisconsin & enjoy some warm summer gardening ( I know what you mean … I lived in SF for 19 years).

  37. Dear Matti and Megan,
    Oh my…while we wish you the best on your move and your new adventures we think it’s terrible timing! We’ve only just discovered you…you’re garden is beautiful and your blog is such a good read. Looking forward to keeping up with your Midwest move :)
    -Sara and Scott (who have a website called Flora+blog called Field Guide to Flora [we specialize in photos…still working on having green thumbs], who have lived on the other side of GG Park for 6 years, and who are expecting a baby in August….!!!! Weird, right?)

  38. Congratulations and good luck on your move. What a life changing adventure, go and have fun with it!!

  39. Pingback: Far Out Flora, Thank You. | The Pitcher Plant Project

  40. Ahhh, I’ll miss you guys. Looks like you’ll miss our garden party this May but your fellow bay area plant peeps are all invited anyway. If you aren’t completely crazy packing and would like to stop by before you go you would be most welcome.

    The studio belongs to my wife, Lia. You can see some of her work on her website: http://www.liacook.com/ The garden is mine and getting close to 20 years old. You may scout ahead to see if it is the sort of garden that interests you by checking out photos I’ve posted to flickr

    We’re in Berkeley at 2127 Bonar St and the party is on Sunday May 20, from 10 am to 4 pm. Watch out for any little people you bring though as there are sharp, toxic and heavy items both in the studio and in the garden as well as falling and drowning opportunities in the garden.

    You can RSVP at mdelepine@liacook.com but it isn’t necessary.

  41. I will miss that you are so close. Wish we could have met. But am very excited to continue following the further adventures life has in store for you.

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