Far Out Flora

I Love You Olbrich Gardens

November 6, 2011 by Megan Speckmann | 7 Comments

Bolz Conservatory, Olbrich Botanical Gardens

I love Olbrich Botanical Gardens. It used to be a beautiful twenty minute bike ride from my old apartment, so I was there all the time. Especially during my old school photography class days. The outdoor gardens are totally free and the Bolz Conservatory only costs a buck. The Conservatory is always a great spot to visit for a little humidity and heat in the freezing, super dry months of January and February. Here’s a great little page from the website about their sustainability practices.

Yucca filamentosa 'Bright Edge'

If I was still living in Wisconsin, this would definitely be growing in my garden. Hardy to zone 4 and still looking super foxy in late October, you can’t really go wrong.

Euphorbia griffithii 'Fireglow'

Wholly hotness!!! Another sweet plant that would be growing in my zone 4 Wisconsin garden if I still lived there. I didn’t even know what a Euphorbia was until I moved to California.

Euphorbia myrsinites magic

Here’s a shot from the rock garden section that was full to the brim with Euphorbia myrsinites. I’ve heard that it could be “weedy”, but it looks like it could make a rockin’ ground cover. Betcha it’s bunny proof, too. I also ran in to a sweet little patch of Euphorbia cyparissias rubrifolia while walking back downtown.

Callicarpa dichotoma 'Early Amethyst'

Okay, so this is pretty much a post about plants I’d grow if I lived back in Wisconsin. Love the chartreuse leaves & bright purple berries on this cutie.

Succulent kaleidoscope

There was a big old bowl full of sedums with a giant kaleidoscope set up. The bowl spins for succulenty visions.

Sedum 'Angelica'

More Sedum.

Thai Pavilion

No visit to Olbrich is complete without checking out the Thai Pavillion which was gifted to the University of Wisconsin-Madison from the Thai Government and the Thai Chapter of the Wisconsin Alumni Association. Additional random fact from the website: “The pavilion is only one of four located outside of Thailand. The others are in Germany, Norway, and Hawaii.” Nice.

Colchicum autumnale

Naked Ladies of the midwest! Wikipedia claims that Colchicum autumnale is also approved by the USDA as a medication for gout. I’m going to shut up now and show you a bunch of cool meadow grass pictures that I love, but have no idea what they are.

Grassy Love

Happy Place

Gorgeous Grass

More grass

Want to see Olbrich in late May? Here are a bunch of posts from my trip back over a year ago (I went a little blog crazy):

Thai Pavillion in Madison

Succulents in Wisconsin

Shady Olbrich Gardens

Rosey Day Thursday

Peony Party

Sunken Meadow Garden






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

February 25, 2011
by Megan


You wouldn’t know it today, but it was gorgeous about 2 weeks ago when we were re-tooling the back garden…SF has a 30% chance of snow tonight.  Hey, the succulent corner experiment is coming along.  Historically, this was the last … Continue reading

December 31, 2010
by Megan

Happy New Years Rehash

Here’s our kind of lame list of the most popular blogs from the last year: Succulent Gardens Containers was hands down the favorite of the year.  And why not…Robin Stockwell is the succulent king. Nothing is more fun than a … Continue reading

December 13, 2010
by Megan

And the Winner IS

We had a great response for our Facebook Succulent Cuttings Giveaway…25 people in all. About a week ago, we were putting together a bunch of succulent terrariums and thought…Hey, wouldn’t it be great to share some of our succulents from … Continue reading