Far Out Flora

Dudleyas, Dudleyas, Dudleyas

March 21, 2013 by Megan Speckmann | 5 Comments

Dudleya & Lewisia hanging basket

Love the hanging baskets of Dudleya and Lewisia at Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. I want it hanging in my backyard. SBBG has one of the best collections of Dudleya around. I want them all.

Dudleya vicida

Dudleya ‘White Sprite’


Dudleya anomala

Hurray for Dudleyas! Get more Dudleya action from our last trip to SBBG here.

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden Bling

March 19, 2013 by Megan Speckmann | 6 Comments

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden

I keep finding good pics from our trip back to Wisconsin last May. We hit up almost all of our favorite plant places including The Santa Barbara Botanic Garden (it’s all California natives and all awesome). It was foggy when we visited, so the poppies weren’t open. I think that purple-blue plant is Penstemon heterophyllus, but I’m not 100% sure.

Salvia leucophylla

Hurray for California native Salvias!

Salvia spathacea

Just for fun I’ve been checking out Ceanothus varities online, since I want to plant one when we move back. I think ‘Kurt Zadnik’ might be the one. I like this description from Yerba Buena Nursery,“The same species as ‘Carmel Creeper’, this selection differs in having a slightly smaller leaf, brilliant midnight purple flowers, and in that it has not been planted over thousands of acres of the state. ”

Mimulus and more!


Even more Mimulus

Pretty sure this looker is ‘Pamela’ but not 100%. I’ve been starting a list of CA native plants we’re going to need in my head.

Agave shawii

Another cute little reasonably sized agave I’ve always liked.

Phacelia sp.

Hot, hot Heuchera ‘Canyon Delight’

That’s it for now, but did you notice I didn’t include our all time favorite CA native succulent that starts with D? It’s coming soon.

Butterfly in the Sky

April 8, 2012 by Megan Speckmann | 4 Comments

Pipevine Swallowtail babies

Three years ago I tracked down an Aristolochia californica from Bay Natives at the SF Garden Show. I had dreams of Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars chomping on it, but so far they haven’t found it. I’ve heard it can take years… unless you get an awesome flickr message offering up babies in exchange for some food cuttings. On Friday we became proud parents of a hungry little group of caterpillars thanks to butterfly guru Timtastic (the link will take you to his sweet pics on flickr).

Anise swallowtail

Since we won’t be able to see our babies turn in to butterflies, Tim brought over a pair of Anise swallowtails to release out back. I got to hold them while they warmed up and took flight.

Anise swallowtail & Erysimum franciscanum var. crassifolium

For the rest of the day they hung out on our ginormous (we’re talking nearly five feet wide) San Francisco Wallflower, (Erysimum franciscanum var. crassifolium). As we rip apart the garden it’s a sunny site in the middle of the yard, that I know isn’t going anywhere. We’re leaving all the California natives except for the Dudleyas and Lewisias.

Collecting Aristolochia californica

Our Aristolochia californica is huge and happy! This is one of my favorite plants we have, so being able to raise caterpillars that will  use it is like a dream come true. That’s why I planted it. By the time we move, they’ll be big enough to release on the vine.

Caterpillar hotel

This is where the babies are living right now. They eat together in a big mass. So far they’ve gone through almost two leaves. I look at them at least once every three hours. They’re a great distraction to the stresses of packing and getting ready to move cross country in three weeks. I even made a butterfly garden pinterest board for Wisconsin. I admit it, I’m a pinterest addict. Where else would a find a recipe to make very realistic jello worms, or collect all my raised bed planter ideas in a pretty fashion? I’m starting all kinds of lists for plants I want to grow when we’re back in WI, too.

One last pretty pic

The Anise swallowtail hung out of the Phylica pubescens for a little bit. Thanks again to Tim for hooking us up! We’ll be posting lots of pics of all the plants and stuff we’ll have for the big plant sale soon.

Foredune Beach Plants

January 21, 2012 by Matti | 2 Comments

Astragalus nuttallii - Ocean Bluff Milk Vetch

Astragalus nuttallii - Ocean Bluff Milk Vetch

We found these salt tolerant gems down at the Asilomar State Beach along the foredune.  I’m always amazed that plants can grow in such harsh conditions such as this Astragalus nuttallii (Ocean Bluff Milk Vetch).  I fell in love with the highly textured leaves, but its seed pods made me giggle.

Astragalus nuttallii - Nattall's Milkvetch

Astragalus nuttallii - Nattall's Milkvetch

Here’s another pic of Astagalus nuttallii gripping on between the sand and a rock.  You’ve seen foredune before if you lived near a salty beach and even some fresh water lakes.  There’s a moment when the sandy beach stops and vegetation starts.  Basically, that’s called the foredune.

Abronia latifolia - Yellow Sand Verbena

Abronia latifolia - Sand Verbena

Here’s another foredune trooper, Abronia latifolia (Sand Verbena).  It more succulent than herbaceous when you see it on the beach.  Seems Abronias come in yellow or lavender blooming forms…and probably others that I’m just not yet familiar with.

Asilomar State Beach

Asilomar State Beach

Oh BTW…all these pics were taken down in Asilomar Beach in Monterey Bay, but we see these beach plants along our beaches too here in SF.

Erigeron glaucus - Seaside Daisy

Erigeron glaucus - Seaside Daisy

A couple of Erigeron glaucus (Seaside Daisy) were poking their heads out of the beach scrub.  We found these blooming up closer to the road than along the crashing ocean waves.

Erigeron glaucus - Seaside Daisy

Erigeron glaucus - Seaside Daisy

We just received our first big rains of winter which means that wildflower season is just around the corner.  We can’t wait to see some mega patches of wildflowers.  I think this year we definitely want to hit the Edgewood Preserve a little earlier this year, as we missed all the action in 2011. Do any of you have sweet spots you wanna share?

— Far Out Flora

Adios Agave americana!

November 18, 2011 by Megan Speckmann | 14 Comments

Agave americana before

Last year we ripped out this middle section which was full of loser succulents we didn’t know what to do with to plant a bunch of California natives (one of the best gardening moves we’ve ever made). Way back when we first moved to San Francisco we picked up this Agave americana baby (we still have big momma) for free on Craigslist. The owner’s baby was starting to walk and she was worried the kid might fall and get stabbed.

Going for the kill

We only use the highest tech protective gear when gardening, like this stinky old sweatshirt. I’m pretty sure Matti has a few permanent scars from ripping out and moving these spiky plants over the past few years. Here’s a post we did about pulling out its little brother back in May and another post from last October, when Matti ripped out a bunch of babies and moved this guy to the middle.

Agave americana rip out, success!

This was back in early October. I have to point out the massive clump of Erysimum franciscanum var. crassifolium on the left. Have you ever seen a happier San Francisco Wallflower? It might just be one of my favorite plants. Can’t wait for it to be covered in yummy scented yellow blooms this spring.

Here it is frolicking last May with one of my favorite CA natives Gilia tricolor.

View from above

Here’s the view from the dining room window last weekend sans the Agave.  It’s kind of ridiculous how many plants we’ve crammed in back there, considering this is only half the yard.

More Erysimum franciscanum var. crassifolium love

If you live next to the beach in sandy land definitely give Erysimum franciscanum var. crassifolium a shot. We barely ever water it and even without flowers it’s a handsome fellow year round. Annie’s has a bunch of them right now.

P.S. We’d love it if you would vote for our terrarium entries at Potted (probably not the wisest move to enter the same week)