Far Out Flora

Awesome April Bloom Day

April 15, 2012 by Megan Speckmann | 9 Comments

Eschscholzia californica 'Red Chief'

Happy Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day for the very last time from San Francisco. Thanks to everyone who came out for the big sale yesterday! It exceeded all our expectations so much so that we just added Monterey, Morro Bay and Santa Barbara as road trip stop overs on our way back to Wisconsin. We’re excited for one last garden hurrah down the coast before we go and my dream of visiting Lotusland is going to come true! The California native middle section is really rocking it out right now.

California Natives

Our Erysimum franciscanum var. crassifolium (big yellow San Francisco Wallflower) is still going strong.

Sisyrinchium bellum 'North Coast'

The blooms on this Sisyrinchium are ginormous!!! They’re even more purple-blue in real life, as this pic is pretty blown out.

Brugmansia sanguinea & the bee

I’ve been thinking about chopping off a chunk of this guy to bring back to Wisconsin. Sounds like  it’s easy to root in water and will do just fine in the summer.  We’ll just have to throw it in the basement every winter for a little nap.

Cerinthe major purpurascens

Happy Bloom Day!

Merry March Bloom Day

March 14, 2012 by Megan Speckmann | 15 Comments

Eschscholzia californica

Happy March Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day! I have to admit I’ve been kind of bloom picture taking slacker lately (some of these pics are from a week or two ago). The California poppies are in action out back and they’re cabbage looper free so far. Last year all our poppies were covered in holes and little green caterpillars. I’m not bitter.

Grill full o'plants

So the crazy orange flowered Lotus maculatus (parrot’s beak) has been blooming its little heart out for months and months. It doesn’t stop. I shake the spent blooms off now and then and trim parts of it that start strangle the other plants in the grill.

Gilia capitata

The California native section is starting to take off and after all the rain stops in the next few days stops it’s going to be insane. I’m a big fan of all the Gilias.

Awesome Aeonium

The Aeoniums have been a bit sad with so little rain this winter. We’re not seeing very many blooms. It looks like birds have been hitting the leaves of this guy (a free score from a neighborhood garage sale a couple years back).

Aristolochia californica

The pitcher party is almost over and the leaf (crazy freak out take over the world) party is taking over. This pic was taken at the start of the month.

Helleborus foetidus 'Gold Bullion'

Our one and only hellebore is doing its thing. I was hoping it would be a little more gold, but still love it. If you crush the leaves it’s supposed to stink hence it’s common name “Stinking hellebore”. We’ll have to give it a try to experience the stench.

Crested Euphorbia 'Tiny Tim'

As soon as the rain started all of the freakazoid crested blooms weighed down this poor plant, so they’re no longer standing up.

Crested Euphorbia 'Tiny Tim'

How can you not love the monster like blooms?


Kalanchoe prolifera

I can’t believe how long this thing has been going for. We lost a stalk in a wind storm a month or two ago, but this one’s still standing tall.

Kalanchoe prolifera & friends

Thanks to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting the flower share-a-thon!


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!

January Bloominess

January 14, 2012 by Megan Speckmann | 17 Comments

First Coreopsis gigantea bloom

Happy Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day! We don’t have a whole lot going on in the bloom department right now, but are crazy excited our Coreopsis gigantea  just started to bloom. We had a little gopher scare with it a couple weeks ago. I walked out one morning to find it completely droopy, with two gopher mounds about five feet away and panicked.  This freaky California native is one of my favorite plants we have out back. After a good long water it recovered and Matti took care of the gopher.

Lobelia aguana

My favorite new, super rare, orangey-red Lobelia aguana blooms just started to open up in the last few days. I’m in love! Mark D. (aka serialplantfetishist on flickr) picked up this cool Lobelia at a Strybing plant sale and shared the seed love with Annie’s. Check out the online sign for the cool story and more info.

Crassula multicava

I’m not a huge fan of this Crassula, but it seems to bloom continuously… dropping it’s tiny weeny babies all over the place. It’s not terrible or anything, but I have a feeling its days are numbered. Matti and I aren’t big fans of white flowering plants in our garden.

Eccremocarpus scaber 'Tresco Gold'

I can’t believe this dude is still kicking it.

Layia platyglossa

The first Tidy Tips bloom of the season!

Kalanchoe prolifera

This weirdo Kalanchoe known as “Blooming Boxes” is still doing its thing. I haven’t really seen an actual yellow flower peeking out from the box (technically bracts).

Black Petunia

A big shout out to Carol at May Dreams Gardens for hosting the monthly bloom share-a-thon!

December Bloominess

December 14, 2011 by Megan Speckmann | 15 Comments

Dahlia imperialis 'Double White'

Happy Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day! We’ve got tons of cool stuff blooming right now including the tallest plant we’ve ever grown Dahlia imperialis ‘Double White’. There were a bunch of big babies in one gallons at Annie’s that needed a new home, so I took one home not knowing which tree Dahlia it was going to be (we’re usually pretty anti-white flowers). It’s pretty awesome, but I kind of want to try Dahlia tenuicaulis or crazy awesome Dahlia campanulata next year. There’s another shot of it in the container here (it’s kind of skinny).

Fuchsia thymifolia

Maybe a month or two ago I hacked this puppy back pretty hard since it was getting scraggly. Now it’s covered in flowers again. I think this is one of our very first Fuchsias. It loves a good hacking every few months.

Fuchsia denticulata

Quite a few of our Fuchsias are blooming right now and Fuchsia denticulata is one of my faves. Hummingbirds are having brawls and it’s December. The Wisconsinite in me is still in awe that it can be sunny and 65 sometimes even 70 degrees in December. January through March used to be my most hated time of the year and now it’s my favorite. Bring on the rain!

Fuchsia fulgens

While I love Fuchsia fulgens, I’m more excited about the Kalanchoe carnea growing behind the flowers. We started this guy from a stem we picked up on the ground in Santa Barbara last winter. I keep moving it around and pissing it off, but it seems to like the new spot.

Cyanotis somaliensis (Common Name - Furry Kittens or Pussy Ears)

A big shout out to Plants Are The Strangest People for helping us ID this purple poofy flowered thing several months back. I’m pretty sure this plant withstood dog pee in its not so great spot in the yard back in the day, but it now lives happily in a pee free zone. Everything I’ve read says it needs to be in zone 10 or above and I remember it dying back pretty hard after a frost. It’s been a great houseplant for us, too. We picked it up at Lone Pine Gardens a nursery that specializes in succulents and bonsai trees in Sebastopol. Cool place.

Oxalis herrerae

Matti picked up this bizarro Oxalis herrerae at Cactus Jungle last Spring. If we put it in the ground, kept it watered and fed it could potentially turn in to a three foot tall leafy shrub. We like the freaky succulent petiole action, so we keep it abused in a little pot. I wasn’t all that excited about it at first since Annie’s had some pampered plants leafy plants at the time. It’s pretty dang cool.


Eccremocarpus scaber 'Tresco Gold'

It took Eccremocarpus scaber ‘Tresco Gold’ a little longer to take off this year since most of it sprouted from the abundant seed of one crazy floriferous plants from last year. It seems to be lasting later in the season. Snip off the pretty seed heads if you don’t want lots and lots and lots of babies, but they’re easy to spot and pull, too. The hummingbirds go crazy for it. I’m convinced they like it more than any of our Fuchsias.

Anagallis monellii

I planted this Anagallis monellii in a big container last May or June. It bloomed like a little trooper for a couple months, got rangy, hacked it back and it’s coming back. It’s seriously one of the prettiest shades of blue out there, but it’s  tough to capture in photos. I severely abused (moved at least three times in a not so nice manner) a different plant last winter that olerated my cruelty no-problem. Annie’s almost always has them available, so I started fresh with this guy.

Kalanchoe marmorata

We’ve had a couple of Kalanchoe marmorata hanging around for at least a year. They haven’t loved life in our garden (honestly, they’ve usually been jammed in sub-prime real estate), but this one finally liked it enough to shoot out some crazy four inch long flower. One of our favorite succulent bloggers Candy got a great shot of it looking happy, but not as spotty at Huntington Gardens this fall. From what I’ve read it sounds like the more sun it gets to more pronounced its leopard spots are.

San Francisco, if I haven’t told you how much I love you lately I apologize. Gardening in Winter is one of my favorite activities, especially after checking the temp in Wisconsin and giggling. I’m going to shut up now and show some more pics of stuff that’s blooming out back. Hurray for December!

Petunia exserta

Froofy Fuchsia (don't really know what hybrid it is)

Helenium autumnale 'Helena Red Shades'

Crassula erosula 'Campfire'

Graptoveria 'Fred Ives'

Lotus maculatus

Okay, I can’t keep my big mouth shut… Back in early October I was walking the dog around the neighborhood with the camera and took a pic of a house using Lotus maculatus as a ground cover in the middle of their driveway. It looks nice, check out the pic here.

Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii

Brugmansia sanguinea

Nemophila menziesii

Impatiens nyungwensis