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.


SF Botanical Garden is Blazing

February 9, 2012 by Matti | 17 Comments

Bomarea sp. - Climbing Alstroemeria

Bomarea sp. - Climbing Alstroemeria

Taking advantage of our warm weather here in SF, we headed to one of our GoTo spots for dazzling displays of color…the SF Botanical Garden at Strybing.  Speaking of gorgeous, this yellow bell-shape bloom above is a Bomarea species. It seems to meander in and out of the other cloud foresty shrubs while showing off its dense umbel of flowers.

Bomarea sp - Climbing Alstroemeria

Bomarea sp - Climbing Alstroemeria

Here’s another Bomarea buddy in a shade of reddish-orange. They have tuberous roots and belong to the Peruvian Lilly Family (Alstroemeriaceae).  Odd tidbit about Bomarea, the leaves are resupinate…that is, each leave twists from the base so that the top of the leaf is actually the underside.

Colletia ulicina - Cunco rojo

Colletia ulicina - Cunco Rojo

Colletia ulicina is another cloud forest bloomer found in Chile where locals call it Cunco Rojo. Those aren’t lime green leaves you’re seeing, they’re short spiny thorns…ouch. Oh…check it out, J.G. in S.F. has the sweet pic of Colletia ulicina. Wow!

Ribes - Currant

Ribes - Flowering Currant

Ahh, the Ribes are starting to pop…Cactus Jungle has a recent pic.  It’s a sure sign that spring is just around the corner.

Roldana chapalensis - Groundsel
Roldana chapalensis – Groundsel

Roldana chapalensis is an intriguing shrub.  Frankly, I can’t remember ever seeing it before, but the large-scale blooms and odor caught my attention.  It had one of those guilty pleasure scents…I thought it smelled a little off, but couldn’t stop sniffing it.

Puya coerulea var. violacea - Dark Purple Puya

Puya coerulea var. violacea - Dark Purple Puya

The succulent section was looking glam.  These Puya coerulea var. violacea (Dark Purple Puya) were standing proud with their stiff, sharp and silver leaf blades.

Agave parryi var. parryi mescal and friends

Agave parryi var. parryi mescal and friends

Can’t get enough of this Agave parryi var. parryi mescal (on the bottom right).  Yes, the drought tolerant peeps are looking lush.

Wollemia nobilis - Wollemia Pine

Wollemia nobilis - Wollemia Pine

Okay, we’ve searched a couple times at Strybing looking for this Wollemia nobilis…aka the Wollemia Pine.  Well, we finally found it!  Yeah, we could have asked for directions, but that takes all the fun out of it.  BTW, the Wollemia Pine is pretty rare.  Check out an early post of one we found in the East Bay.



One last adorable show of color during our hike.  We couldn’t find an ID for it, but thought somebody probably knows what it is.  Any guesses on this purple bloomer?   Before we forget, Strybing is having a plant sale this Saturday Feb 11, great time to load up.

– Far Out Flora

SF Botanical Blooms

December 11, 2011 by Megan Speckmann | 5 Comments

Succulent Wonderland

The day after Thanksgiving I headed up to the foggy SF Botanical Garden to see what was happening. The succulent section is looking super sweet right now with all the Aloe arborescens freaking out. They’re starting to go nuts in gardens all over town right now, too. Winter Aloe bloom time is one of my favorite flower seasons. Check out the mega-giant Agave salmiana starting to shoot out a flower.

Montanoa grandiflora

Lots of crazy tree daisy action going on. This one smells like cupcakes. Sweet, sweet cupcakes. I think I stood in front of it for at least five minutes just sniffing. It’s right off the main path that goes by the succulent section at the bottom of the hill across from Puya hill.

Vertical Agave attenuata

I wish I had a rock wall of my very own to shove full of succulents.

Brugmansia sanguinea

I’m still obsessed with Brugmansia sanguinea. This one has some really nice coloration. Ours isn’t as deep red. I still get a little freaked out when I see how big our “little” guy could potentially get (I’m still in denial about its size).

Cuphea micropetala

There were masses of Cuphea micropetala blooming in the Exhibition Garden, which I often forget to visit.

Nerine bowdenii

Nerine bowdenii was going completely crazy in the South African section. There are masses and masses of it looking pretty all over the place.

Pretty Protea repens

One last pretty bloom. Check out our buddy Derek’s blog post on Plantgasm for more cool pics (he went the day after me). More pics from my visit are here on flickr, too.

September Strybing

September 7, 2011 by Megan Speckmann | 7 Comments

Bomarea caldasii

It’s been over a month since we were last at the SF Botanical Garden, so we headed up last Sunday afternoon in the fog. I was hoping to see some nice Meso-American Cloud Forest action, and was sweetly rewarded. I have no idea why we don’t have a Bomarea planted out back. I think I’m secretly afraid they’re finicky, but in reality they don’t seem that tough to keep alive. One would be right at home in Fuchsialand out back. There’s a trellis with a half-dead sweet pea and sad looking, heat/sun deprived pitiful Mina lobata that could use a new plant.

Foxy Fuchsia boliviana

The Fuchsia bolivianas were going nuts. Huge trees are covered in blooms which means I’ll most likely be hanging out near these fabulous plants next Saturday from 1:30-3:30 at my Interpretive Station as a docent. Wanna be a docent? Get more info and sign up for the upcoming fall training class here.  It’s a fun way to learn more about plants.

Deppea splendens

Just a short stroll down from Fuchsiaville is a Deppea splendens getting ready to bloom like crazy. It’s covered with buds. Anyone know if there’s another Deppea besides this guy? I’ll most likely be setting up my Interpretive Station very near this plant on September 24th from 11:30-1:30 for the show.

Geranium 'Rozanne'

I have to admit, I didn’t understand what the all the fuss about this plant was for earlier this spring at Annie’s (there are a bunch available right now). Customers were getting into fist fights for the few we had available. Well, maybe not that extreme. I get it now. I’ve been watching a mass that’s been blooming its head off for months now. It’s impressive.

Haemanthus coccineus

At first I thought someone had thrown some trash in this bed, but it was really full of fiery little red flowers. They’re cute little South African natives related to the Naked Lady pictured below.

Amaryllis belladonna

Eucomis bicolor

Eriogonum giganteum

We took a little stroll through the California native section where we caught this ginormous Erigonum giganteum going crazy.

Eriogonum grande var. rubescens

The little native/dry section in front of the County Fair Building is starting to fill in. To check out baby pictures of this garden check out our post from last October when it was first installed. All our pics from Strybing are right here on flickr.





Strybing Super Flowers

July 19, 2011 by Megan Speckmann | 11 Comments

What the heck?

Recently I did my interpretive station volunteer gig at the SF Botanical Garden, so Matti and I went a little early to wander about. I had seen this crazy ass thing budding a couple weeks ago. Couldn’t find a tag with a name. I’m guessing it’s some sort of New Zealand wonder plant, but have no idea what the heck it is. It’s at least 15′ tall.

Berkheya purpurea "Zulu Warrior"

This freaky Zulu Warrior purple sunfloweresque guy from South Africa was in bud last time I strolled by. I kind of wish I would have planted one of these puppies in our garden this past spring. This spike o’flowers has to be at least a foot long! (Annie’s has it available this very second if you want one).

Lobelia excelsa Excitement!

I drive by one of these hotties on my way in to work everyday, but the one at Strybing was in full freak out mode. Now I really want one.

Passiflora parritae

The freaky awesome Passifloras are doing their right now. There was a Passiflora parritae x antioquiensis
‘Mission Dolores’
in the tree across the way, but the flowers were too far away to get a recognizable pic. My favorite, Passiflora membranaceae was freaking out all over a tree in the cloud forest. It’s looking really good at the entrance right now, too.

Oenothera tetragona & Digitalis friend

There’s exciting news at SF Botanical Garden. They’re going to be selling plants in a cool new lath house behind the gift shop in the main entrance every weekend, and maybe more often if volunteers make it happen. If it hasn’t already started, it should be getting going soon.