Far Out Flora

Celebrate With Sunset This Weekend!

May 30, 2014 by Megan Speckmann | 0 comments

Tropical Garden, by Living Green

This weekend is Sunset’s Celebration Weekend in Menlo Park and we think you should go! Not only are there amazing gardens like the one above there are fabulous garden speakers happening both days. I was super lucky to get a sneak preview yesterday. Put on your shades, as it was sunny as heck and my pictures might burn your eye balls a little.

Nepenthe Love

I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an amazing vertical garden. One of the first places I plan on visiting is Living Green when we move back to SF. They’re the ones responsible for this crazy awesome tropical space.

Edible Bounty Garden, by Star Apple Edible & Fine Gardening

We LOVE Star Apple Edible & Fine Gardening! How can you not? Their gardens are to die for and more along the lines of how we’re gardening these days combining pollinator attractors and food.


Hooray for herbs!

Desert Modern Garden, by Sunset editors Lauren Dunec & Johanna Silver

Way back in the olden days when Matti and I first started learning about plants in Plant ID 101 at City College we met the fabulous Johanna Silver. She’s now a garden editor and doing super sweet things with her partner in gardening greatness Lauren Dunec. The test gardens are looking so so good right now. Zoe and I are going to move in to the berry garden.

Desert Modern Outdoor Shower

Showering outdoors kind of freaks me out, but many people seem to like the idea.

Urban Calm Garden, by Growsgreen Landscape Design

A crazy cool container find from Growsgreen Landscape Design, sadly my other pics of their garden turned out terrible (not their fault, but the sun’s). I didn’t get a good shot of the wonderful Ground Cover Landscaping garden either, so you’ll have to go check it out yourself.

All of these “Small Space, Big Dreams” gardens surround the cutest little home you’ve ever seen by Tumbleweed Tiny House Company. Matti, Zoe and I plan on hitting the road to visit on Sunday, so give a shout if you see us around. We’re super excited to see succulent king and queen, Robin Stockwell and Debra Lee Baldwin, along with our favorite carnivorous plant nerd and friend Robert Co speaking at the Garden Stage along with a bunch more great folks. Hope to see you there!


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.

Spring Flower Freakout

May 26, 2014 by Megan Speckmann | 3 Comments

Hurray for flowers!

Did you know that I’m a flower freak? We still have lots succulents hanging around, but I’m flower crazy. This was taken about a month ago and many of those annuals have passed on to make room for a bunch of seedlings from past plants. Linaria reticulata ‘Flamenco’ the orangey red plant in front is one of my faves. That little shorty blue guy is Echium plantagineum with Gilia tricolor in the middle.

Gilia tricolor and friends

Coreopsis ‘Tiger Stripes’

This Coreopsis is still kicking it, but the Tidy Tips next door is gone.

Euphorbia mauritanica

See, we still have succulents! Many of them are in containers, so we can easily bring them to the new place. I LOVE this Euphorbia and hadn’t even heard of it until we moved back to California last year.

Who let the mint out?

There was some citrus mint hanging out over here when we moved in. I did something crazy and left it. I always said to keep mint in a container so it doesn’t take over the world, but it smells so good.

Calceolaria ‘Kentish Hero’

I’m a sucker for orange flowered plants and this is one of my all time favorites. There’s a good chance it will be coming with along with us to SF. Most everything else will be staying.

Nasturtium party

I’m going to collect seed from my favorite orangey red nasturtiums.

More orangey blooms

How can you not love Cuphea ‘Strybing Sunset’ (left) and Asclepias curassavica (right)? We have little baby Asclepias popping up all over the place from last year’s seed.

Shady ladies

Our sweet Begonia ‘Ramirez’ has gotten so big! This is the first time I’ve grown Nicotiana ‘Lime Green’ and it really brightens up the corner. Can you believe I snagged that fuzzy leaved Roldana petasitis ssp. cristobalensis in the back for free at an awesome Oakland plant exchange? We’re bring a chunk of it with, too. I think we’ve really spruced up the place since moving in last July, but I’m excited to start over in SF.

Moving Back to SF!

May 25, 2014 by Megan Speckmann | 2 Comments

Our new neighbor

We signed a lease and are moving back to San Francisco in mid-June! I never thought we’d be able to move back since it’s nearly impossible to find anyone who will rent to a dog family at a somewhat reasonable price (it is the Bay Area), but we did! We’ve completely ditched the commute costs and time suck, and will be living one block away from Flora Grubb Gardens. Garden wise it’s a blank slate, with a big thumbs up from the landlord to go garden crazy. Here are a few more shots I took the last time I was there for a visit:

Wall of awesome

Zoe in the jungle

Container craziness

We’re really excited to be moving back!