Far Out Flora


Ocean Beach

Ocean Beach

photo:Rendy Lai Photography

The following is totally old news, but I can’t bring myself to delete it… we now live in Oakland after spending a year back in Wisconsin. We moved back in July 2013 with our sweet, sweet daughter Zoe. Max is still around, too. Matti works for Flora Grubb Gardens keeping track of things and Megan runs the Web Shop, fulfilling orders, answering emails and making aeriums. Bubble machine and sidewalk chalk parties are a regular thing these days.

Zoe and the bubbles

Zoe and Max


Our Original Gardening Story:

We (Matti and Megan) live in San Francisco next to Ocean Beach and Golden Gate Park, a half block from the N-Judah turnaround. We’re plant nerds.  Succulents, bromeliads, carnivores and other weirdo plants are our faves. Both of us graduated from  the University of Wisconsin-Madison with art degrees.  Originally from the great state of Wisconsin, we lived in Madison off of Willy Street for many years before moving to San Francisco about four years ago.  Our favorite gardening quote by J.C. Raulston: “If you are not killing plants, you are not really stretching yourself as a gardener.”

Chilling with the Echium

Matti in our friend’s sweet Outer Sunset garden

Matti ripping out an Agave



  1. Thank you for your note re: SF Flower and Garden show. Love your website, AWESOME! Get down to the nursery when you can. Lots of nice beaches in the neighborhood.

    Happy Spring.

  2. Matti, thanks for visiting my blog and for your comments. I have a Nikon D50. The lens for the close-ups is a 50mm Nikon lens -here it is on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00005LEN4/ref=oss_product


  3. Hi Matti and Megan,
    Congratulations for your wonderful garden and your nice blog !
    My name is Claire, I live in south France in Marseille and I am a joung garden designer, specialy for little spaces like balconies or terraces.
    We (me and my friend Lionel, a gardener too) would like to live in Californie as you because it looks amazing with plants we can’t keep in France, even in south…
    I have a web site (http://www.slowgarden.fr/) and a blog (http://lejardindeclaire.blogs.marieclairemaison.com/) where I show my work and share my green discovers. I wrote a note about you, please take a look and say me if I’m wrong or if you want to add or skip something.
    Please follow this way : http://lejardindeclaire.blogs.marieclairemaison.com/archive/2010/05/07/far-out-flora.html

    Thank you for your nice blog !
    I’m waitting for your next note :)


  4. Hi – I just discovered your blog and have been catching up with what you’ve been up to. I was wondering if I could use your air layering post and photos on http://www.gardenology.org (the gardening wiki and plant encyclopedia). Or, since it’s a wiki, you could add it yourself. Your help in general would be much appreciated, and if you could tell your classmates, too, and add a link from your blog, even better! Like Wikipedia, the site thrives on volunteer editing, and so the more horticulture folks that know about it, the better!!

    Thanks, I hope to hear from you soon… -Raffi

  5. Love what you do and wanted you to know, we love you too.

    Robin Stockwell, Succulent Gardens

  6. i fucking love u two. youre soooo cute.

  7. Hi there! I must say that I just fffriggin’ adore your blog! LOVE IT! Y’all be rockin’ that garden! I love your photos and commentaries, and it always leaves me in awe! Simply AMAZING! Thank you for doing what you do; for sharing that far out flora passion and inspiring the rest of us! I’m in the SF Bay area too! My focus is mostly carnivorous plants in the genus Sarracenia (www.thepitcherplantproject.wordpress.com), and I was pretty stoked to see some carnivore posts on your site! Dude. That’s awesome! I grow pretty much everything else that can grow here and looking over your blog makes me want to get out of the office right now even more so and go to my garden! Again, I LOVE what you are doing, keep it up and continue to inspire us! I hope to see you guys around!! -Rob

    • Thanks for the good word Rob! Your blog is looking really sweet too. Great photographs! Our first carnivore was a little sarracenia root ball in a plastic baggy, we picked up free on craigslist.

  8. Fun blog! I like it.

  9. Excited to see folks exotifying Sunset gardens! The potential is huge — imagine Outside Lands gardens with Protea, Leucadendron, Banksia, etc. Thanks for sharing your enthusiasm.
    Jason Dewees

  10. Hi Matt, love your writings here. You are a fun loving couple with a fun blog..

    If you have time, drop by my gardening blog and leave a comment. Cheers!

  11. Hello!
    I am the garden blog editor for Horticulture Magazine and would like to talk to you about your blog. Please drop me a note with your email at your earliest convenience.

    Thank you,

  12. your photos are amazing! i’m curious if you’d like to share what kind of camera/cameras you use primarily… i’m about to go camera shopping and i’d love some advice.
    thanks for posting such beautiful work!

    • Thanks Rae! We bought ourselves a basic Nikon D40 about a year and a half ago. We don’t have any fancy lenses or anything. I’m usually all photoshopped out from work to bother adjusting any of the images we take.

  13. Very, very nice site! I just wanted to send a compliment from a fellow Wisconsin Finlander (Douglas County) living in San Francisco (26 years). I came upon your site because I was looking to answer my visiting mother’s many questions about local plant life — I was embarrassed to be so ignorant! I guess you CAN take the Wisconsin out of the girl — some of it, anyway!

    Again, very nice site!


    • Hey Deanna, glad you like the site. It’s been a huge learning curve for us understanding the plants out here in SF, but a lot fun. Crazy…the Finn side of my family is from Douglas Cty from a little town called Maple off hwy 2. I remember there’s a big population up there with Finnish ties. Gorgeous area there.
      Hope your mother has a great visit. First place I would head in SF is Stybing. Matti

      • I know Maple! My family settled in that area (Poplar) fresh from the boat. Maybe we’re related. 😉

        My husband and I have a furniture store/art gallery in Hayes Valley — please stop in and say hello if you are ever in the neighborhood (insidemodern.com)!


  14. Pingback: DIY: Succulent Table | Interior Designing Blog

  15. We moved from Milwaukee in my teens – to hot, lovable, livable Lodi (36 miles south of Sacrament0); in frequent return visits to relatives in WI, I envied the peonies, humongous hostas, other plants which got the cold shock they need; you appear to be having an absolutely fabulous time in your new gardening life; I am a master gardener from santa clara county, and people with your enthusiasm is what we love to see; there is an MG program in SF City/County. Continued success to you. L. Fraboni

  16. Hey it was so cool to run into you guys at the Sunset Wkend. Your
    table was so great we loved it. Your on to something big ! Love your
    blog its the best of the bay. Can’t wait to visit your place and all he
    great garden places. Looking forward to all your great blogs.
    Cheers and happy summertime in the city, Lynn

    • Hey Lynn, it was great to finally see you in person too. Megan and I love doing what we do and glad that there I such a large group of fun gardeners here in the Bay Area. Certain that we will see you soon. Matti

  17. Hi Megan,

    I love your WEB page, garden pictures and Max. So nice, makes me want to move to the west coast. I’m starting a sempervivum collection and they would look so good in your rock planters. Can you please send me the directions on how to make them. They’re wonderful.

    thanks, Heidi
    Happy gardening!

    • We didn’t make the rock part of the planted containers. We found somebody (in the biz?) that we were able to score about 40 of them. They’re clay or ceramic. The planting part. Use a loose soil, and we just planted mostly succulent cutting into them. Rooted plant would be just fine too.

  18. Love our enthusiasm and your garden. I, too, am a lover of plants and gardens but do not do it for a living. A treasured avocation! Live not too far from you ie Alamo Square. http://www.flickr.com/photos/frothydelight/sets/72157625384360536/

    • Awesome flickr pics. I remember my first trip to SF and getting inspired by the planted boots in Alamo Square. Not sure if they are still there anymore, but super cool.

  19. Hello from North Carolina! We are obsessed with succulents also & are planning a visit out your way in October. What are the MOST succulent-filled places to visit? Thank you so much & your garden is stunning!

  20. Just discovered your blog – love your yard! I live just on the other side of GG Park (Fulton and La Playa). I was wondering if you offer succulent cuttings for sale or trade?

  21. Hi, you left a comment in April asking if you could use my pic of Lilium lancifolium flore pleno. I’m afraid I don’t own that one but my plant has just bloomed and I would happily send you a selection if you still want one? They’re not as good, but they are in focus etc!

  22. Pingback: Flora's Blog- Flora Grubb Gardens

  23. Hey guys!
    I’m from just outside of Vancouver BC and recently have fallen in love with succulents. I have had a “subtropical-ish” thing going for a few years, but nothing comes close to my recent obsession with my little succulent friends. Needless to say, when I came across this blog I was AMAZED! I absolutely love what you guys have done! (being a plant geek it also brings bundles of joy to find people with as much passion as you guys!) Honestly I can’t get enough of your garden, keep the pics rolling!!!

  24. Thanks for sharing the information. I just about live outside, so here are some things you ought to consider. Wood wears and comes apart eventually. You need to treat it yearly, which is no fun. And you must treat every nook and cranny of each piece, since water will find a way in. Resin will stain and have to be bleached to clean, but it’s inexpensive. It can be kind of uncomfortable. The durable garden furniture is wrought iron. And when you get a quality set, it’s worth the money. I’m a long time reader and first time commenter!

  25. I thought of your garden when I came across these very cool upside down planters.
    Here’s a link in case you’re interested.

  26. I really love your blog! I recently started my own: http://blog.terrabellalandscape.com/

    Keep up the cool posts!

  27. Whats up friend ..
    I recently began to get my green thumb.
    I adore my garden. It is absolutely relaxing. I need this hobby. =)

  28. hi,
    your new site looks amazing. i have not seen any other blog pop like yours!! amazing design and colors! anyway, just wanted to make sure you guys saw this generous endorsement of your blog:

  29. Hi, my name’s Jordan, and I stumbled onto your blog sometime around 8 last night. I think I got a few pages in (oh about a dozen) before I finally realized, crap I have to go to work tomorrow! Your blog is fantastic; your love for plants really shines and it’s something I can relate too. Oh, and if you visit my blog please don’t think much of it, it was a pet project that I abandoned because of computer issues at the time and I haven’t had the time or energy to reboot it. Someday. I just wanted to ask something; how DO you guys do so well with your succulents? Seriously? I love them. All kinds. Sedums, cacti, and oh the agave. How I love agave, even though I’m up here in Southern Oregon in a zone 7 that shuns all but some sedums and sempervivum, but that hasn’t stopped me from searching nurseries near and far to get my succulent fix. But I can’t seem to get them to thrive like you. I’ve tried in ground, I’ve tried containers. I can understand them not liking are usually clay-like soil that’s saturated and chilly all winter, but my containers always take a long downward slope until I have to compost the poor things out of guilt. I want a garden like you have. If you have any tips, anything, thank you. I’ll continue reading your guys awesome blog!

    • Hi Jordan!
      Glad you found us! Succulents rock where we live because our backyard was a sand dune in its previous life. We pretty much have perfect drainage. It’s rare for it to get frosty in our parts, too which helps. We’re pretty spoiled with all the ridiculously cool stuff we can grow in SF because of the fog. It’s never too hot, or too cold. Great blog, you should start it up again!

  30. Hey there,

    I thought you might be interested in an event that AIA SF is having in a few days at Flora Grubb Gardens as part of our annual Architecture and the City festival. We’ve asked Boor Bridges Architecture and Flora Grubb to co-host an interactive workshop on September 23 from 3:00-5:00 that looks at ways of using landscape design to transform mood and space. Attendees will also have the chance to design their own model planting arrangement (this is a very hands-on workshop) and present it to the group. You can find more information on the program at http://www.aiasf.org/archandcity.

  31. hiya –

    I am not sure if you are interested in Wildflowers, but we will soon publish two Wildflowers books. Please email me at jessica_pellien@press.princeton.edu for more information.

    Thank you,
    Jessica Pellien

  32. Living in Southern California where is hardly rains and where it’s actually a superficially urbanized, cacti and succulents make a whole lot more sense than any other flora. So for the past several years we’ve been replacing existing plants with a variety of succulents which look terrific and are thriving.

    Hey Megan, I think I’ve mentioned this before but I’m going to repeat myself here again. I really like your blog with its great postings and photos and so I visit it quite often. Because I believe it to be a good resource for my visitors, I added your link on my OrchidCare.org website. Would you kindly help me out by adding my link to your Plant Links section?

    Thanks a million.


  33. Hi, I just discovered your website ( via my store on Etsy … studiogardias ) and I like what you do (… a lot ) . Nice website and garden!


  34. I am glad I found you! I write a blog mostly in reference to flower bulbs, and am a flower freak. I like to read & look at pictures of flowers from all over the US.

  35. Pingback: Far Out Flora | VDPRaxis

  36. Hi Matti & Megan,

    LOVE your guys’ blog! I work (and blog) for Habitat Design, and want to invite you guys to an event we’re hosting. It’s called “Building Communities through Social Media: A Panel Discussion” and I know you guys are really into social media so it would be AWESOME if you joined us. You can get more info & RSVP here: http://is.gd/010hW5

    Thanks and hope you can make it!

  37. I think you two (and others will appreciate this woman’s work:


  38. Love your page ! I live in South Alabama and would so love if you guys could help me with an article sometime of a succulent garden design for those of us who live in mild climates but who do freeze . Is there any hope for lush succulent gardens for those of us who don’t live in freeze free zones? :)

  39. I want to do this, but I live in Montana. Would that be a bad idea? I actually have a wagon ready to go!

  40. Glad to hear plans of your Midwest return! Can’t wait to hear about your succulent selections for zone 5 :) Best of luck on the move

    Andy S.
    Ann Arbor, MI

  41. Hi guys!

    I’d love to talk to you about the possibility of writing for the gardening magazine I work for. Please email me if you’re interested! Thanks! molly@wilderquarterly.com

  42. Hi Matti & Megan,

    As a succulent enthusiast, I’m quite jealous of the succulent planter in that you just posted. Recently we created a Urban Agriculture Infographic for city dwellers that are looking to start their 1st rooftop or balcony garden. I thought that you might like it. It’s specifically for the DC area but we’d love to hear what you think.

    Amanda R.
    Online Community Engagement

  43. I really enjoy your blog!! I am also a Wisconsinite in Madison at UW and I cannot wait to read about your adventures planting in Madison. I am hoping to start a succulent garden this summer and am hoping to look to you for good plants to add to my garden.

  44. I love all of your succulents they are beautiful! I saw in one of your pictures rocks that look like they have been hollowed out. Did you guys make them or what? Another question do you guys use a special dirt mix? I live in Arkansas & would love to start a garden like that here. Any advice that you can give me would be appreciated! Thanks, Brandy

  45. HI Megan–

    You are NOT going to believe this–I couldn’t find an email address for you, so I am posting here…Do you remember me, from that horrible work/resort place in Egg Harbor? Peeling onions for what seemed hours…. I JUST found a letter from you dated 1997! So then I FB’d you, and then I Googled you, and then I saw you were in SF. Guess where I live? Marin. And now you’ve gone back to WI. WHHHAAAATTT?

    Anyway, email me sometime, would you? So nice to see all your beautiful work online! Wished I’d found that letter sooner–I couldn’t ever remember your last name!


  46. Im looking for a short large bright pot of succulents for a glass outdoor covered table. I want to buy it already planted and ready to go. I live in tx and I’m having a hard time finding it. Any idea where I could get that and am willing to pay shipping etc…


  47. Hello out there, is there anyone that could please mail to me a few cuttings of Fuchsia vulcanica André also known as Fuchsia Hitchcockii. I have a customer wanting this but am unable to find up here in the Pacific Northwest.

    thanks, Don

  48. Hi Matti and Megan,

    What a wonderful blog you have! I’ve just started gardening this year, and am finding that blogs like yours are the best way for me to learn quickly (and find answers to my questions!).

    I’m writing today on behalf of Tuli Fisher, of Fisher Blacksmithing. Tuli hand-makes beautiful gardening tools, and has been fortunate enough to earn a spot in the finals of Martha Stewart’s American Made Contest. This is a huge honor and privilege! The final step of this contest is largely decided by a public vote – which is what I’m writing to you about today. Our thought is that the gardening community around the country is going to be our best source for gaining votes. We’re reaching out to our favorite gardening blogs for help, since we think your audience will be our best supporters. Any help you can give, be it a tweet, Facebook mention, or really anything, would be greatly appreciated!

    Each person is allowed one vote PER DAY until September 24. We can get a lot of votes by then! The link is below.


    Thanks again for your consideration – we’re really excited about the possibility of winning this contest!

  49. that flower in the botanical garden you didn’t catch the name of: Globba

  50. Hi Matti and Megan,

    I’m a local San Franciscan, who passes by your area every week for my weekly voice lesson. I just discovered your blog and love it. I have a garden blog, jessegarden.com, where I posted many garden related subjects. So I love to drop you a few lines to say hello &connect with my local fellas.

  51. I am really inspired by your blog and great pictures having had just stumbled upon it! Thank you for keeping the love for plants vibrant and educating along the way!

  52. If you’re looking for a Melianthus Purple in my backyard here in South Georgia. Monrovia in Washington propagates them, from cuttings I think. You can get seed from TM Seed.

  53. Megan & Matti, welcome back to the West Coast and to Oakland!

    Not sure you’ll remember me, but I visited your place before you left SF (I was with Casper Curto) and bought some plants from you—many of which have been incorporated into my succulent garden. If you’re ever in my neighborhood, off Piedmont Ave in Oakland, you should let me know and drop by for a garden visit! Otherwise I’ll see you at a SFCSS club meeting. Take care, Mark.

    • Hi Mark!!! We totally want to come see your garden. I let you have my Dudleya babies (one of the hardest plant partings to this date). I’ll send ya an email in a few minutes :)

  54. Hey, it’s great to know there are other cheeseheads out here in the SF East Bay! I’m in Pleasanton, and I came across your blog while researching how to design an indoor succulent arrangement for my office window sill. Growing up in WI I appreciated all the plants that could grow in California to make a beautiful garden. I’ve been here since 1999 and love it.

    Your site has given me a lot of inspiration for some designs. Where do you recommend I go in the bay area to buy plants, planters and supplies?


  55. Love this blog! I also live in the Bay area and would love to see your garden if/when you show it ! Mine isn’t much to see yet as I’ve started all over from scratch 9 months ago after moving to the bay area from Seattle !

  56. Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to your blog before
    but after going through some of the articles I realized it’s new to me.
    Anyhow, I’m certainly pleased I stumbled upon it and I’ll be
    bookmarking it and checking back often!

  57. Hi Matti – I couldn’t see where to just contact you but wanted to give you a heads up on one of your NOIDs. In your Firey Aloe section from 2012, the very last photo is Kalanchoe carnea ‘Modoc’. Thought I’d pass it along as it took me forever about 2 years ago to finally find out what it was! Cheers, love your stuff!
    Bob Reidmuller – Resident Horticulturist, Altman Plants – Vista, CA.

  58. Woe is me! Fucshia denticulata is NOT hardy up here in Portland, Oregon. No one seems to be carrying it locally; they cannot get it through the growers they used to. Any clues as to sourcing? Much appreciated, Michael Missing the ‘Flamingo Fever’

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