Far Out Flora

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!

Poop Alley Poppies

May 24, 2014 by Megan Speckmann | 5 Comments

Poppy love

This is a story of how we turned our weedy strip next to the driveway we call “Poop Alley” in to a flowery fun place for super cheap.

In the beginning: March 3rd, 2014

Sometime back in February Matti pulled out all the huge weeds growing next to our driveway (we don’t use this part to park) and gave the ground a good hoeing. That’s when my seed insanity began. I planted a jumbo bag of Baby Blue Eyes, a bunch of CA poppies, Nasturtiums, Clarkia, Cerinthe, Nigella and a Papaver I’m thinking is rhoeas. I also stuffed some random succulents in.

Starting to fill in: April 6th, 2014

In a short time things started to fill in and I shoved in some more free plants we got at a local plant exchange and a few from the free pile at Flora Grubb.

Baby Blue Eyes in action: April 28th, 2014

Fast forward a few weeks and the Baby Blue Eyes (Nemophila menziesii) started to rock.  I wish I would have seeded some Tidy Tips (Layia platyglossa).

May 12th, 2014

It’s still kicking with almost no water. I throw a little on it once a week. The best part is that pretty much everything I seeded will reseed again next year to do it all again. I’m still waiting on the Nigella and Clarkia flowers to happen. They might have been eaten by the poppies. We knew our landlord would be returning to our house to retire when we moved in, so I looked for quick super cheap ways to make the garden spaces better.

May 12th, 2014

The view from my office. I work out of our garage and get to watch my flowers through the front doors every day. You can see the spot where Max actually poops down by the garbage cans. He pees on a little crack on the other side of the driveway. He’s been living with us long enough to know where to go potty with out making me mad.

Gratuitous close ups

LOVE this super little flowered red dude!

Gratuitous close up

I planted Renee’s Copper Pot and Tropical Sunset Mix of California poppies (Eschscholzia californica) for a little bit of everything, but I’m a sucker for deep orange flowers.

Gratuitous close ups

Cerinthe and friends

Max enjoying his alley, May 22nd 2014

We’ll miss you poop alley!

ps: We’re signing a lease this afternoon. More details to come soon and a big shout out to everyone who kept an eye out for a place for us.