Far Out Flora

Coastal Roadside Detour

May 28, 2011 by Matti | 13 Comments

 

No highheals please.

No highheals please (on the beach?)

OMGosh, it’s Memorial Day Weekend.  We’re staycationing this holiday, but really getting the itch to do a little road trip soon.  Until then, we need to wet our appetite with a rewinding to some roadside fun from our last romp down south.

Giant Rodeo Hat - Salinas, California

Giant Rodeo Hat - Salinas, California

Just about two hours after leaving San Francisco, we saw the Salinas CA town sign.  It felt like we just got on the road, but decided to make that unexpected right hand turn completely out of our way. We heard about the biggest cowboy hats…how giant can they be?  Well, larger than a breadbox and smaller than a Mini Bus.

Bubble Gum Alley, San Luis Obispo

Bubble Gum Alley, San Luis Obispo

Bubble Gum Alley is disgustingly sweet.  When you get on the main drag in SLO, you really have the jerk your head fast to see it.  Fortunately, we were traveling on a holiday (and over winter break for the college), so plenty of parking.  Yes, gum is stuck to the walls floor to about as high as a 10 foot latter will allow.  Curious Places has some great pics on the place.

Hendry's Dog Beach

Stacked stones - Hendry's Dog Beach, aka Arroyo Burro Beach, Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara was our first pit stop in our adventure.  We’ve already blogged the pants off of Santa Barbara such as our <3 for Dudleyas.  We found this great dog friendly beach called Hendry’s Dog Beach.  Plenty of sand and waves for you and your dog to burn off a little energy.  It’s out there a ways, and worth it.  Bytemaps goes into location and details.

Shark on Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara

Shark on Stearns Wharf, Santa Barbara

Ah, the Stearns Wharf is okay…kinda of what you expect where main drag meets ocean.

Flowering Aloe Spikes.

Flowering Aloe Spikes.

But there were Aloe Blooms all over the place.  Yeah, don’t try to find them this weekend…they should be all spent by now.

Harrison Ford's Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Harrison Ford's Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

Next stop, Hollywood.  If you like cheesy head down to Grauman’s Chinese Theatre and be a good tourist.  I screamed every couple feet, “Megan Look!  (insert famous celebrity star’s name here)!”

Bob Hope's hands and footprints at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

Bob Hope's hands and footprints at the Grauman's Chinese Theatre.

Check out our Flickr to see who Megan and Matti picked to stand in their shoes.

All wigs.

All wigs.

So many wigs, so little time.

Runyon Canyon Dog Park in the Hollywood Hills.

Runyon Canyon Dog Park in the Hollywood Hills.

Another great Dog Friendly find, Runyon Canyon Dog Park.  Located in the Hollywood Hills, you can see the whole enchilada here, Hollywood sign (not on same hill), the backyards of the famous, & Downtown LA to the Pacific Ocean.  I can’t say for certain, but think I saw a celeb in big dark sunglasses on our hike.

Santa Monica Pier

Santa Monica Pier

Nothing like hanging out on Santa Monica Pier at sunset, picturesque.  Save enough time to get on the Ferris Wheel.  We didn’t and missed the ride.  Oops, something to look forward to next time.  Speaking of Santa Monica, Plant Propaganda has experience gardening there…it looks heavenly.

Hearst Castle

Hearst Castle

On the backside of our trip, we had to check out Hearst Castle.  Pre-2010, I had Zero % interest seeing this place.  Long story short, spent New Year Day 2010 in dog friendly Cayucos, CA…just 30 mins from the Castle.

We are this close..may as well see it right?  Holy Crap, it was awesome.  Now we visit anytime we are in the area…rain or shine.  Yeah, it was a moody that day at the castle…still great time was had by all.

So where were going?  We want to do a mini road trip in June, and a longer one in Aug (good time to get away from SF fog).  Any suggestions?

– Far Out Flora

Hugemongous Moreton Bay Fig

January 11, 2011 by Megan | 12 Comments

Moreton Bay Fig Tree - Ficus macrophylla

Moreton Bay Fig Tree - Ficus macrophylla

Near the Amtrak station in Santa Barbara, there’s one of the biggest Moreton Bay Fig trees in the country.  This monstrous fig spans just under 200 feet wide.  Wow, that like 4 Greyhound buses parked end to end.  Look above.  You see that little black thing on the far right?

Southern Pacific Train by Amtrak, Santa Barbara

Southern Pacific Train by Amtrak

It’s the old SP 142, a retired Southern Pacific train car.  Looks like the tree was last measured in 2010.  Not a record breaker, but still an awesome sight.

We accidentally stumbled upon this Moreton Bay Fig (Ficus macrophylla) while looking for place to rest our bones after looking at plants all day.  It’s located on the corner of Chapala St and West Montecito St… a block down from a great brew pub coincidental called the Brewhouse.

Detail of the foliage.

Detail of the foliage.

Ahh, great foliage on this tree.  Green on top, and a bronze pubescence on the underside of these stiff leathery leaves.

Trunk in detail.

Buttress roots at the trunk.

I learned an odd tidbit about Ficus macrophylla.  It’s considered a banyan fig, that is, their seeds can lodge themselves into the canopy of a host tree.  It germinates high above the ground and can live as an epiphyte.  During this stage, the fig sends down roots to the ground often wrapping these feelers around its host.  Eventually the fig takes root becoming freestanding, and I guess at this point…technically becomes a tree.

Megan with the Fig

Megan with the Fig

Those buttress roots above dwarf Megan.  So, what’s the story behind this gem?  The worn plaque next to the tree states it best:

This Moreton Bay Fig Tree (Ficus macrophylla) was planted in 1877 on land then owned by the Southern Pacific Transportation Company.  The tree was officially designated as a historic landmark in 1970 and the property was deeded to the City of Santa Barbara in 1976.  The tree is believed to be the largest of its kind in the United States.  Measured in November 1991, the branch spread was 167 feet with a total height of 76 feet.  The trunk diameter above the buttress roots is 12.5 feet.

For your own safety and for the health and preservation of the tree, please enjoy the tree from the area beyond the surface roots and do not climb on or carve into the roots or branches.

Located between State Street and Montecito Street.

Located just off State Street on the corner of Chapala and West Montecito.

Cool little find.  Don’t you love when you’re on a road trip and come across something completely unexpected?

– Far Out Flora

Mission Santa Barbara

January 2, 2011 by Megan | 8 Comments

Mission Santa Barbara

Mission Santa Barbara

We hit Southern California over the holiday starting in Santa Barbara.  Wow, amazing how fast the use of succulents changes…can I say Agave attenuata galore.  After getting a tip, we swung by the Old Mission Santa Barbara.

Kalanchoe sp.

Kalanchoe sp.

This isn’t your standard supermarket kalanchoe, but not certain of the species.  The flowers are amazing.  Any thoughts on the species?  We did some poking around and looks like it may be Chandelier Plant (Kalanchoe tubiflora).  A Succulent Life has a nice pic of the K. tubiflora.

Varigated Century Plant - Agave americana var. variegata

Variegated Century Plant - Agave americana var. variegata

There’s a ton of succulents hanging out outside the building.  This Agave americana var veriegata was impressive.

Santa Barbara Mission

Santa Barbara Mission

Aloes (right is Aloe plicatilis)

Aloes (right is Aloe plicatilis)

Flowering aloes.  Love the plicatilis on the right.  How long before our Fan Aloe gets that big…hum.

Aloe sp.

Aloe sp.

Another aloe.  Not familiar with these guys above and below.  Maybe an Aloe ferox below.  Any thought on species?

Aloe ferox?

Aloe ferox?

Mission in Santa Barbara

Mission in Santa Barbara

We decided to skip the inside tour, but looked pretty cool.  So many plants…so little time.  Couple more stops in Santa Barbara then we head further south.

– Far Out Flora

Happy Roadside Holidays

December 24, 2010 by Megan | 6 Comments

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays

Happy Holidays from Far Out Flora…Northern California Style!  The Northern Roadtrip to Northern CA was a success.  Here’s a taste of the roadside sweet finds such as this creepy santa tree just north of the Sea Ranch Chapel.

Bouy House

Buoy House - somewhere along Coastal Hwy 1

Druid Cemetery - Coffey's Cove

Druid Cemetery - Cuffey's Cove

We made a stop at Cuffey’s Cove, a circa 1850′s local settlement near Elk CA.  Not much remains except the cemetery.  Here’s one of the entry gates. Druid section in the graveyard? Awesome.

Drive Thru Tree - Leggett CA

Drive Thru Tree - Leggett CA

The Drive Thru Tree is about 2000 years old found in Leggett CA.  Not certain when they decided it was a good idea to saw a big hole through it…but have to say…sorta cool.

Elk Meadow, Orick CA

Elk Meadow - Orick CA

Who knew that you could see a ton of elk just lying around near the road just  outside of Orick CA. Here’s a funny one.  As we made our approach to Elk Meadow, the car ahead was literally getting charge by one of the elk.  Hum.  Somehow, we still felt safe…and a good idea to get out of the car to take a closer look.  Ahh…the magic of a roadside attraction and its ability to make you toss all good judgment out the window.

Elk, elk, and more elk.

Elk, elk, and more elk.

Redwood Trails

Redwood Trails

Chainsaw sculptures fill the wayside at Redwood Trails outside of Trinidad CA.  Check out that mega Agave (Agave americana var. marginata)!

Giant Man Walkin'

Giant Man Walkin'

Seems like every mile, you can see some outsider-esque chainsawed art.  This guy was found along the Ave of the Giants.

Corn...Giant Corn.

Corn...Giant Corn.

Also along old Hwy 1, we found the Big Corn Monument near Pepperwood CA.  Corny huh?

So Matti, Megan, and Max are now headed to Southern California.  We hear there’s a bunch of unusual plants and gardens down there.  Stay tune.

– Far Out Flora

December 19, 2010
by Megan
7 Comments

Eureka!

We made it to Eureka, cute little historical town.  All the houses look like the one above.  Okay, not really…but Carson Mansion is dubbed as the most photographed Victorian House in America. Believe it or not Folk Artist Romano Gabriel … Continue reading