Far Out Flora

Our Awesome August Garden


Max in the flowers

We hit the backyard jackpot here in Madison. Our fenced in backyard is not only spacious, it has great bones. Lots of perennials were already hanging out, so we just filled in with some annuals. We didn’t move in until June 1st, so in May I was buying and potting up to 4″ any cool annual I could find on my friend’s front porch. The best nursery in town for non-shrimpy annuals was Kleins (I love you Kleins!). That’s where I was able to pick up Verbena bonariensis, Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’, Zinnia ‘Zowie’, Ageratum houstonianum and a few other good and tall annuals. Next year we’ll have time to start plants from seed, since I was severely disappointed with the overall annual selection in town. Seems like every nursery has the same stuff in these parts. Considering our circumstances and the insane heat in June & July I think things turned out pretty well.

Zinnia ‘Zowie’ & Gomphrena ‘Fireworks’

Who said you can’t plant hot pink and orange together? We’ll definitely be planting these two again next year. The bumblebees  LOVE the zinnias. I’m always finding them taking naps.

Amaranthus Alley

I posted about my love of Amaranthus earlier. We picked up these plants for fifty cents a piece at the farmer’s market, but they’re crazy easy to start from seed. Word is they re-seed like crazy, but I consider that a good thing. Next year we’ll be sure to stake them, as we’ve lost a couple in wind storms.

Warty Gourd Blooms

A total impulse buy, I’m not really sure what I was thinking when I planted this Warty Gourd. The bees LOVE the blooms and we now have a bunch of weird looking gourds we have no use for. I’m thinking we should glue some googly eyes on them and give them names.

Dahlia & Echinacea

I picked up some Dahlia bulbs at a really cute neighborhood garden club sale for a buck. Another plant we need to remember to stake next year…

Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate

I was really excited to find Kiss Me Over the Garden Gate at the farmers market for fifty cents a piece. Unfortunately they seem to be Japanese Beetle magnets. This one made through the attacks fairly well, but I was constantly picking them off and throwing them angrily in to a bowl of water.

Morning Glory ‘Heavenly Blue’

As a kid I helped my dad in our big flower garden and  always loved planting Morning Glories. There’s no need to worry about them taking over the world here in Wisconsin (there’s no way in heck I would have planted them in CA). I started these guys from seed and thought they’d never bloom, but they finally started going nuts at the end of August and are still going strong today. The blue really and truly is heavenly.

Asclepias curassavica

Totally in love with Asclepias curassavica, another score from the farmers market. It never stops blooming.

Zinnia ‘Zowie’

For a short moment Zoe’s middle name was almost Zinnia. I can’t wait to grow more big honking Zinnias next year. The just keep blooming and blooming.

Convulvus tricolor

Here’s another guy I started from seed in quite possibly the worst conditions ever. I jammed seeds in a crack in front of our basement window in a spot that often gets smashed with our gate. They look a little scrappy, but considering their crappy placement I think they look pretty decent.

Sunflower ‘Teddy Bear’

I started these guys from seed, too. Sadly they’re pollen free, which means bees don’t get anything from them. They’re still cute, but next year we’ll plant a bunch more big pollen filled sunflowers.

One more Zinnia ‘Zowie’ pic

Last gratuitous pic of the Zinnia. For more pics of our August garden check out this link. My pregnancy hormones made uploading pics to flickr seem like the worst torture I could possible put myself through, but now that they’re gone I’ve gone crazy uploading pics. The good news is we never stopped taking pics, just blogging and uploading.


  1. Your August gardens are blasting with color… lucky you considering the heat! Love orange and pink together in a garden, definitely makes a statement. I almost never put annuals in my perennial beds but I had to this year since the heat was so intense for so long that new perennials couldn’t adjust. I landed on Gomphrena ‘fireworks’ and it will forever be a garden staple… LOVE that plant!

  2. Beautiful, beautiful!! Starting plants from seeds is great fun and very rewarding :) Some plants here look like they are getting ready for winter sleep, but today the gardens persuaded me that some still have summer :) the colours are awesome!

  3. So happy to see you back up and running in WI! Congrats on the new family addition!

  4. Hello. Pictures are super. Good move, but I couldn’t handle the winters.

  5. Such beautiful abundance growing so well & very beautiful. Great job !

  6. Beautiful! Those blooms are really vibrant.
    Thank you so much for sharing your garden. So lovely!

    Jill @ http://www.CheapSheds.co.nz

  7. Hi!
    I think that I randomly found and started following you just before you stopped posting and moved to Madison. I put your blog in my google reader…and sort of forgot about finding and being excited about your blog.

    I love your pictures of your garden! And am so happy that you started posting again. What are those freaky fungus in your flickr stream? They are intense and kinda scary. Also, at my local garden center (here in Minneapolis) we bought one of those Japanese beetle traps for my aunt’s yard. She caught zillions of them in it–it seemed to work well.

    I loved the flower in picture 107. What is it? Very cool. Love your thoughts about bees napping in your flowers. Thanks!

    • Hi Monika!
      We have no idea what the freaky fungus is, but it was here and gone pretty quickly. Pic 107 is a Strawflower (Helichrysum). We’ll be planting more of them next year. They make great dried flowers, too. I only see the bumblebees taking naps in the flowers. Maybe because they’re solitary and just need a place to crash here and there? Thanks for following!

  8. Your garden looks wonderful esp. given your pregnancy and the ghastly summer we’ve had. We are still way down rain-wise on our side of town. Isn’t Olbrich amazing? So beautiful even this summer with the stressful conditions. Staking some of your tall plants is more of an issue here since we tend to get some serious winds in all seasons. Did you go to Olbrich’s plant sale as they have a whole tent filled with annuals? Can’t remember if I mentioned it but you might want to join the Wisconsin Hardy Plant Society which meets at Olbrich on the 3rd Wed. of the month at 7 p.m. Check out their web site: http://wisconsinhardyplantsociety.com/

    Sorry those comments sound a bit goofy as I was trying to mention everything that occurred to me while reading your recent posts.

    • We did hit up Olbrich’s plant sale, but they didn’t have the sweet annuals I see growing in their gardens. I was on the hunt for the tall ones (3′ or more). Klein’s was hands down the best, but I heard a rumor that K&A hired a new propagator from CA for the next season. Next year we’ll have plenty of time to start the plants we want inside and in the ground. Olbrich is looking fabulous, Zoe and I took our first stroller ride there yesterday :) It’s funny about the staking Matti made industrial sized cages for the tomatoes, but we totally spaced out on everything else.

  9. I absolutely love your garden! You’re right ….the zinnia Zowie is stunning. I have always wanted to try kiss me over the garden gate, it is so cute! Perhaps this year.

  10. Fantastic blog and a fantastic garden. I have really struggled with ‘Morning glory’ this year, not enough sun to encourage the blooms sadly. I loved your Zinnia and thought they looked very much like Gallardia to begin with, a plant you may consider adding in the future. I also planted sunflower ‘Teddy bear’ which i think is one of the best Helianthus which started flowering only 3 weeks ago.

    Keep up the good work, many thanks, ICB

  11. Congrats on the new addition! One day she will thank you for showing restraint and not naming her Zoe Zinnia. Nice to see your work in your new space. It looks great!

  12. Et le bébé ? je veux voir le bébé !!!

  13. You guys have a spectacular blog; your green thumb(s) extend not just to gardening but to blogging as well! I’ve followed you guys on and off for a year or so and you guys have inspired me to get into gardening and even start a blog of my own. Madison is a great place; my girlfriend used to live there and I visited quite a bit. Olbrich gardens is a great place, we’ve visited there before she moved. Coincidentally it would seem right as you guys were moving in, she was moving out!

    Best of luck in wintery north!

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