Far Out Flora

Super SF Botanical Garden

March 23, 2013 by Megan Speckmann | 6 Comments

Puya alpestris

We couldn’t miss out on the SF Botanical Garden when we were back in town for a visit. I think the Puya alpestris pictured above is blooming right now, so you should go check it out. Check out our blog about the Puya insanity at SFBG last year.

Zoe & the Kniphofias

Zoe loves traveling around in the Ergo. It’s pretty amazing to be able to nurse and walk around looking at plants without anything hanging out.

Aloe busting out of a rock wall

Aloe plicatilis

The CA Native section was starting to get all flowery.


Puya Alert! Puya Alert!

April 23, 2012 by Megan Speckmann | 12 Comments

Puya chilensis

Freaky Bromeliad alert! On Friday I went to the San Francisco Botanical Garden for what may have been the last time while living here in SF. I must have spent at least four hours walking around visiting all my favorite plants. While wandering around the CA Native section back by the greenhouses I ran in to Derek of Plantgasm finishing up his propagation volunteer time. I had seen these crazy Puyas getting ready to bloom maybe a month ago, so we headed over to see what was going on and check out succulent land one last time.

Puya chilensis I think

I couldn’t find a sign, so I’m guessing this is Puya chilensis. Anyone know for sure?


Puya alpestris

Puya alpestris is still blooming. It looks like the Puya venusta should be doing its thing in a couple weeks, too.


Matti and the Puya

I took this pic back on March 18th and the bloom pictured is now shot. The bud to the right is blooming right now.

The Succulent Garden

I hate to get all mushy and stuff, but the San Francisco Botanical Garden is where we received the majority of our plant education. Nearly three years ago Matti and I enrolled in Plant Identification class at City College with Malcolm Hillan, it changed our lives. We spent two semesters of Saturdays at the botanical garden from 9 to 1, learning anywhere from 12-15 plants per class. We had to learn it all including family name, genus, species, origin, zone, sun, water, and spelling counted on quizzes and tests. Matti and I were both pretty freaked out after the first class when we could barely remember all the details for our first plant California native, Platanus racemosa and knew we had 149 more plants to go. Thanks Malcolm and our favorite classmates Rene and Johanna for making it so much fun!

p.s. the CA Native section is going off right now, too!

Dude, the Deppea is Rockin’

October 19, 2011 by Megan Speckmann | 6 Comments

Deppea splendens doing its thing

This past Sunday Matti & I headed up to the San Francisco Botanical Garden to ogle the Deppea splendens in the Meso-American Cloud Forest section. I’ve been watching it for the last couple months waiting for this moment of bloomy freak out goodness.Hopefully our little dude will be doing the same thing this time next year. Go see it if you’re in town. More gratuitous pics of our favorite flowering tree:

Deppea splendens

Deppea splendens

Want your very own Deppea splendens? Annie’s doesn’t have them online right this second, but they’ll be available again. A little bird told me there might be some out in the nursery as of yesterday, but isn’t guaranteeing anything. You can find the rest of our Strybing visit pics here.


Sweet SF Botanical Garden

June 23, 2011 by Megan Speckmann | 7 Comments

Verbascum 'Letitia' looking cute

I’m still a little lame about my total lack of plant names from Ruth Bancroft Garden, so I’m going to try and redeem myself with plants with botanical names from a couple visits to SF Botanical Garden over the last two weeks. In late April I graduated as an official docent, so once a month you’ll find me wearing a really cool apron next to a table (interpretive station) getting excited about plants. So far it’s been super fun.

Who the heck knew Verbascum came in a cute little shortie form? It’s going nuts in the cool rock garden circle at the main gate. While googling ‘Letitia’ I came across a cool little online nursery I’ve never been to before that specializes in rockery plants Wrightman Alpines. Check it out, lots of cool shorty plants, and interesting stuff.

Primula vialii

Bizarro, I just looked up Primula vialii and I think this is some sort of mutant flower. They’re supposed to be pointy on top instead of flat. It looks like the flower crested. Also called fasciation, here’s what wikipedia has to say about this freaky plant happening: “Fasciation (or cresting) is a condition of plant growth in which the apical meristem, normally concentrated around a single point, producing approximately cylindrical tissue, becomes elongated perpendicularly to the direction of growth, producing flattened, ribbon-like, crested, or elaborately contorted tissue. The phenomenon may occur in the stem, root, fruit, or flower head.” Our graptopetalums do it all the time.

California Native paradise

Phacelia, Layia platyglossa, Gilia tricolor and the poppies were going nuts last weekend in the native garden. It’s looking pretty awesome.

Wachendorfia thrysiflora

Gotta love the South African section. I’m strangely fascinated by Wachendorfia thrysiflora. It’s huge!

Kniphofias in yellow

There’s lots of Kniphofia action going on right now. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that our Kniphofia northiae will bloom this summer. It’s getting pretty big and popping out babies.

Salvia africana-lutea

This might sound crazy, but we haven’t jammed a Salvia in our backyard yet. I think this might be the one. It’s common name is “Beach Salvia”, and as it ages the flowers turn deeper orange and then brown. It doesn’t mind hanging out next to the foggy, wind infested coast (I’m a little bitter about the fog and it being 57 degrees at 5:30PM). Summer is not my favorite season in San Francisco. We live in the foggiest (cheapest) part of town.

Matti and the Mega Bartlettina sordida

Wholly gigantoid ageratum like monster!!!! Bartlettina sordida is native to cloud forests. As much as I bitch about the fog, I really should appreciate the amazing plants we’re able to grow that ONLY thrive in our cool summers and mild winters. More pics from Strybing are here if ya want to check them out.