Far Out Flora

Cool Container Town

January 20, 2015 by Megan Speckmann | 6 Comments

Containerville on the deck

It’s been a super long time since I’ve blogged, but we’re trying to get back in action again. After losing the battery charger for our DSLR camera for six months it was miraculously found and I took some pics of the backyard recently including the deck. When you are fortunate enough to work for a very nice garden center, sometimes pots get chipped or otherwise compromised in transit. That means employees get to take them home or they go in the trash. None of our pots are perfect with the exception of the terracotta pots are all cool hand-me-downs. All of the others have chips, cracks and other “issues”. Many of the filler plants are rescues from the plant hospital at Flora Grubb Gardens.

Cussonia spicata & friends

I have never loved a weird tree so much. This is our bathroom window. One night I was having beverages at Flora Grubb Gardens and decided Cussonia spicata was the perfect plant for the bathroom screening container. I can’t believe how huge it’s grown so quickly. I’ve always loved the scent of Pelargonium tomentosum and finally planted one in the turquoise container.

Greenovia aurea

I’m not 100% this is Greenovia aurea. Our plant geek friend Derek of Plantgasm moved to Oregon and we inherited a bunch of his fabulous plants including this one. So darn cute.

I’m a Euphorbiaholic. I can never have enough. That cool cresty Graptopetalum paraguayense in the background is also from Derek. I think it may have been one of our original La Playa Garden plants. We got quite a few of our old succulents back, which was really cool.


I can’t remember the name of the tall reddish guy in there, but I like it. Can anyone help me out?

African Blue Basil Bloom

A few months back I planted this guy and it just keeps blooming and blooming and blooming. The bees love it.

Othonna sp.

Love this cute thing I grabbed from the hospital at Flora Grubb Gardens. It’s been blooming like crazy this fall and winter. Hopefully you’ll be hearing from us more often here.

The New Backyard (Cement Slab)

July 13, 2014 by Megan Speckmann | 5 Comments

Our new place from the back deck

The back is finally presentable, so I thought I’d share some pictures. Caution, many include a small child doing cute things.

Bubbles are back!

Zoe enjoys being pants and diaper free like Max.

Drinking from the can

Our little helper

More helping

We still have a bunch of big honking containers that need filling, but I think we’re off to a good start. I’m so happy we scored the wooden playhouse on Craigslist. Zoe hangs out in it all the time. I’ll take more close up plant pics when they’re bigger and more exciting. I took a bunch of perennials we had in pots in Oakland and set them free in the ground.

Sweet, Sweet, Sweet Peas (Lathyrus odoratus)

May 29, 2014 by Megan Speckmann | 1 Comment

Sweet peas and friends

One of my all time favorite spring annuals are sweet peas. Some time in February, maybe early March I planted ‘Cupani’ and ‘Black Knight’. I will plant ‘Cupani’ every year wherever I live, as it is the cutest, most fragrant and even historical sweet pea around. Even after a few 95 degree days it’s still holding up strong, though I think its days are numbered to. There are a couple tomatoes hiding underneath the sweet pea insanity going on there.

Sweet pea bouquets

Here’s a little history of some of my many mini bouquets over the past month or two on instagram. Cutting little sweet pea bouquets is one of my favorite gardening activities, plus the more you cut the more flowers you’ll get. It’s just like early dead heading.

Zoe’s spot

We put Zoe’s little chair in the garden in hopes it would stop her from ripping out the strawberry plants and it worked. She sits back there and plays with the mulch. She still likes to eat up all of the green berries…

Zoe hanging next to the sweet peas

Butterflies Being Awesome

May 27, 2014 by Megan Speckmann | 3 Comments

Gulf Fritillary caterpillar

If you grow it they will come! A few days ago I was hacking at the passionflower where it was trying to eat our Canary Island Sage and found this little dude hanging out.

Passiflora ‘Oaklandia’

Here’s the Passiflora he likes to chomp on which is fine with me since there is plenty of passionflower to go around. I originally planted it in hopes that it would eat and choke out the jasmine I really hated. I just ripped the jasmine out a couple months ago.

Gulf Fritillary

Here’s what we will hopefully be seeing a couple weeks. This might even be the momma of the caterpillar. Gulf Fritillaries are found as far south as Argentina, North to the Bay Area and feed on Passifloras.

Anise Swallowtail in the dill

Last fall we were lucky enough to be able to witness an entire life cycle of an Anise Swallowtail in our backyard, so this year I planted even more plants to woo them back including tons of dill and parsley.

Verbena bonariensis

Verbena bonariensis is one of my all time favorites as an all around awesome pollinator attractor I can’t live without. A big shout out to Timtastic, the butterfly whisperer who hooked us up with caterpillars and butterflies before we moved back to Wisconsin. He’s always there to identify my mystery caterpillars and butterflies on Instagram.

Verbena and an Anise Swallowtail

Poop Alley pee pee

Random pic alert! Poop alley isn’t just for poop… Zoe usually doesn’t get to hang out there very much since we also keep a bunch of dangerous crap besides poop in the driveway. Max provided the pee for Zoe’s pose.

Our Hungry Little Caterpillar

January 18, 2014 by Megan Speckmann | 8 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.