Far Out Flora

Our Hungry Little Caterpillar

January 18, 2014 by Megan | 6 Comments

Back in September a visitor arrived on our pot of flat leaved parsley. Right before we moved back to Wisconsin from SF we had the pleasure of seeing some Anise swallowtails released in our garden thanks to Tim.

This time one hatched out back all on its own. I’m all about planting for pollinators these days and it looks like it paid off.

Anyone know what this guy is on the Coreopsis tinctoria?

I love this tiny guy, but have no idea what it is. We have all kinds of cool stuff  flying around out back.

One last pic on the oregano it hatched from. For more butterfly action check out Butterflies & Blooms at the Conservatory of Flowers.

Beneficial Insect Spotted

November 2, 2013 by Megan | 4 Comments

It’s smiling

On Halloween we found this cute little lady bug in our garden.

Ladybug on the peas and dill

This spent dill and volunteer pea have created a real life ladybug haven in our garden.


Sunflower ‘Japanese Silver-Leaf’

This sunflower has been covered in aphids for quite some time. There’s a constant stream of ants going up and down farming them. It doesn’t seem to bother the plant too much, and is probably one of the reasons we have our ladybug hang out. It’s an awesome sunflower.

More ladybug action

Here are a few more pics from the garden:

Asclepias curassavica ‘Silky Deep Red’

Marigold ‘Harlequin’




Lotsa Love for Lettuce

June 13, 2013 by Megan | 9 Comments

Lettuce babies

Way back in early April after the snow finally melted on our cinder block raised bed, I planted a bunch of lettuce seeds that were left over from my failed indoor lettuce growing experiment. It’s totally possible and easy to grow greens inside, I’ve done it before successfully. The key is you have to remember to water them. Oops!

Getting bigger

I was convinced the hungry bunnies that ate any type of cabbagey plant in our garden would go after my lettuce babies, but they left them alone. We currently have a wee freshly kicked out of the nest baby bunny living in one of our garden beds that has started chomping on stuff and making me very angry. My poking at it with the tennis ball chucker a few times a day doesn’t seem to bother it enough to find a new spot to hang.

Violas make salads prettier

I wasn’t able to fill up all the cinder block holes with salad, so I threw in some violas. We’re still moving back to California, so I went a little crazy on early season stuff I could get in the ground before the last frost date. Matti’s actually in SF right now looking for a place for us to live and working at Flora Grubb Gardens. Zoe, Max and I will follow in mid-to-late July.

The spinner

Dill, chives and flat leaf parsley, even a wee bit of oregano spice things up. I pick and wash a big batch, throw it in a bag and it’s good for at least a week.

What it looks like now

Heck, it’s probably even more out of control since I haven’t harvested for a few days.

The whole deal

This is embarrassing… all of the left overs have been planted here. The red box is a bunny nightclub. One day everything is fine the next day it looks like they got wasted and rolled around on everything, leaving chunks of fur. They’ve left it alone for awhile now, but I’m hesitant to plant more stuff.

p.s. chain link fences are ugly, but better than no fence

Our Awesome August Garden

September 20, 2012 by Megan | 15 Comments

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.

So Long San Francisco

May 4, 2012 by Megan | 18 Comments

Last view from above

We left town last Sunday and have been on a whirlwind road trip to Big Sur, the Central Coast, Santa Barbara, Yosemite and now South Lake Tahoe. In a couple hours we’ll be leaving the beautiful state of California for a day long drive through Nevada, on to Moab, UT and then Summit County & Denver Colorado, before making it back to Wisconsin. Here are a few pics of the remaining plants of our old garden right before we left  just for the heck of it (I’m being a bit of a roadtrip photo uploading/labeling slacker right now).

Papaver commutatum 'Ladybird'

All the broken surfboards are on their way to Wisconsin :) We’re thinking of going with a beach theme for the new nursery.

Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars

So my caterpillar babies didn’t make it to this size, but wonderful Tim brought over a bunch we released on our vine about a week before we left. I must have spent hours watching them eat away on the pipevine.

Calceolaria integrifolia 'Kentish Hero'

Papaver hybridum 'Black Swan'

Eccremocarpus scaber 'Tresco Gold'

Cerinthe major purpurascens

Matti mowing one last time