Far Out Flora

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.

Rearranging Rocks

March 8, 2011 by Megan | 18 Comments

Max and succulent containers.

Max and succulent containers.

It’s cleaning day in the garden and Max the Border Collie is always ready to help.  Last summer, Megan cranked out a bunch of succulent containers which we arranged on a homemade bench.  Every time it rains or the wind blows…the neighbor’s big Myoporum laetum tree drops debris on, underneath and in between all these succulent containers.  It was time for a good cleaning.


Succulent bench.

Succulent bench.

BTW, these wooden boards were found way back in the day when we excavated the patio.  There was so much sand in the backyard that we didn’t know where the concrete ended and the potential garden could begin.  After digging out all the extra sand, we kept finding bizarre stuff…a 20 foot plank of wood here, some rebar there, bricks, broken glass, and even some beef shank bones.


Succulent container.

Succulent container.

Here’s one of our favorites of the pots.  Nice hodgepodge of succulent cuttings…Crassula lycopodioides, Sedum rubrotinctum, some sedums, and aeoniums.


Mix and match.

Mix and match.

Now the fun part, rearrangement time.  Also tucked in are a couple of rock containers we spray painted silver which we like to call moon rocks.  BTW, they are not really made of rock…they appear to be some sort of ceramic made to look like a rock.


Max back to helping.

Max back to helping.

Max knows just where to drop his ball, strategically right where I am working.  He does that until we chuck it for him.  Ahh…you got to love a dog’s determination.


Max chasing his ball.

Max chasing his ball.

Amazing how crisp and clean the bench looks AND how quick Max can build up speed.  I know this photo makes him look like he’s doing some business, but he’s actually sprinting for his ball.  Check out more pics on our Flickr.

— Far Out Flora