Far Out Flora

Spring Flower Show: Wisconsin Woodlands

March 16, 2013 by Megan Speckmann | 5 Comments

Yesterday, Zoe and I took a trip to Olbrich Gardens to check out the spring show: Wisconsin Woodlands It’s very flowery unlike the cold, snowy outdoors and goes until March 24th. The Chenille Tree (Acalypha hispida) in the conservatory is still going crazy:

Chenille Tree (Acalypha hispida)

Please stay off the Liriope

October 29, 2012 by Megan Speckmann | 10 Comments

Please stay off the Liriope

We took advantage of one of the last warm days around to catch some late Autumn action at Olbrich Botanical Gardens last week before all the leaves fell. The freeze got a bunch of stuff a couple weeks ago. It was a sad day.

Bridge to Thai Pavilion

Thai Pavilion

Crazy Cabbage

I love ornamental cabbage & kale. Next year I vow to have more of both out back.

What’s this?

I even took a pic of the tag of this plant, but deleted it. Since moving back to Wisconsin my botanical Latin has gone down the tubes. I used to be so good, but it took lots of time to look up every damn plant I took a pic of. I googled that stuff to make sure my spellings were right on, but don’t have the time for that sort of shenanigans anymore. *update, there has been a positive identification of Amsonia hubrichtii by facebook fan George, thanks George!

 

Reflection

Matti & Zoe

Shorts and sandals weather last week, not so much this week…

Our Awesome August Garden

September 20, 2012 by Megan Speckmann | 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.

Summertime at Olbrich Gardens

September 18, 2012 by Megan Speckmann | 6 Comments

Brugmansia in a pot

So we’ve been blogging slackers since moving to Wisconsin. My pregnant hormones started out as sad and weepy, then transitioned to pissed off and angry. I would have been posting things like, “Nice use of way too much ugly red mulch, did you forget the plants?”, “It’s 107 degrees, I think we’ve moved to hell”, “Your lawn ornaments are terrible!” and other crabby things. It wasn’t a pretty time. We’re a fifteen minute walk from Olbrich Botanical Gardens here in Madison and it’s FABULOUS! I love that it’s continuously changing in ways that SF Botanical Garden just couldn’t pull off due to it’s ginormousness and year round need of upkeep. It was looking extra awesome this August. For all our summer Olbrich pics check out this link. If you didn’t hear already our baby is here and a week old today!

Zinnia

Dill and friends

Grass!

 

Joe Pye Weed

 

Euphorbia myrsinites, Donkeytail Spurge

Crazy Container

 

 

Always Awesome Amaranthus

August 13, 2012 by Megan Speckmann | 20 Comments

Allen Centennial Gardens

Long time no blog! We’re still alive and well. Made it to Madison, Wisconsin. It’s been one of the hottest, driest summers ever. I’ve been known to call it, “hell on earth”. Between the hormones and swollen feet it hasn’t been pretty, but then it happened. We’ve had consecutive days with temps below 80 and regular rain again. The grass turned from crunchy dead straw back to green and trees stopped dying.  My feet didn’t swell up for five days in a row, too. Last Sunday we took advantage of the weather and checked out Allen Centennial Gardens on the UW campus (I’m due August 30th).

Amaranthus

Not sure what cultivar this guy is, but I’m loving the dark red foliage. We’re going for more annuals in our garden these days since we’re renting and don’t have access to the coolest free/severely discounted plants in town. I like the instant gratification of big, flowery annuals. With a shorter growing season I don’t have the patience for perennials to establish themselves these days. We were also blessed with some nice perennial bones. Don’t freak out, but I’m not all about succulents anymore and more about big bee/butterfly/hummingbird attracting blooms.

Amaranthus caudatus “Love-Lies-A-Bleeding”

Our Amaranthus

Here are our guys. Not sure what type they are, but they’re just starting to get blooms. I picked up plants from a vendor at the Farmer’s Market who was growing some old school (heirloomy) annuals for crazy cheap in mid-June.  I’ve added more pics of our backyard to flickr if you feel like checking them out.  Next spring we need to move some stuff around like that iris at the front of the bed and we’ll start more cool annuals next year.