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What’s Blooming

Categories: Blog, Garden

Weeks of October 29, 2018 – November 18, 2018

PDF RESOURCES:     Garden Happenings 10 29 18 – PDF    |     Blooming Calendar Year – PDF   |    Summer Display List – PDF   |    Visitor Map – PDF


Don’t Miss: What’s Blooming Cart

This spring we debuted a “What’s Blooming” cart, where each week, five plants will be highlighted from the garden. Located in the Service Courtyard/ Plant Shop area, the cart has metal vases with nametags, which correspond to a map of the garden. Please seek out the Garden Information Docents for location, and other information on the week’s special bloomers. 

Golden Harvest Antique Farm Equipment Exhibit

Adding to the beauty of the fall garden, and the beginning of the autumn colors, an exhibit of antique farm equipment is happening throughout the estate. Historic farm implements can be found in the Garden Orchard, the Daffodil Field northwest of the House, and along the Estate Trail and at the Nature Center. Accompanying the equipment, scarecrows add to the autumnal festivities at each of the groupings. Thank you to our volunteer committees (Art, Lavender, Bonsai, and House Flower Arrangers), and staff, for their fun creations. The Fall Season runs through the week of November 5. 

Plant Highlights:

Although the Sunken Garden has been pulled and is on the brink of being planted, there is a beautiful stillness accented by the yellow of the mum pots and golden black locus behind the Swimming Pool.


Our biggest garden tree with nice fall color, the northern red oak (Quercus rubra) is at the peak of its autumnal show.
Another still and beautiful place to go and drink up the fall color is the Garden Orchard to the west of the Yew Allée.
The view up to the Wedding Place has hits of fall color, along with the deep green of the Irish yews and the white of the pansies around the pool and the Sunpatiens at the top of the tiers.
Summer has mostly faded from the garden, but the begonias continue to go strong in many locations near the House and in the Walled Garden.
The first of the big spring annual displays in the ground are the ‘Jersey Jem’ violas in the Chartres Cathedral Window Garden.
A tour of our three hydrangea beds (Sunken Garden, Panel Garden and here in the Walled Garden) is definitely worth adding to your visit to the garden in summer and fall.
Fall-blooming, naturalized Cyclamen hederifolium are one of the touches in the garden that excite the end-of-season corners of Filoli.


There is quite a bit of fall color around the garden. The northern red oak (Quercus rubra) is fading to yellows and oranges and dropping its leaves fast, Virginia creepers are turning red, peaches in the Garden Orchard are beautiful orange, and many other corners of the garden as well.

We are in the thick of switching the Summer 2018 Display into what will become the Spring 2019 Display. The Chartres has been planted, and over the next few weeks, many of the annual beds will be pulled, beds prepped, boxwood hedged if this wasn’t already accomplished in spring, and planted with bulbs and annuals. Some of the spring displays that are inspirations from my Keukenhof visit in April include the Sunken Garden, Bell Beds and Dutch Garden. More about these displays will be described in the coming weeks.

The Rose Garden continues to bloom and bloom.Make sure to stroll the beds and find your favorite bloomers or the ones whose fragrance you like best.

The Cutting Garden still has some late season blooms especially many asters: zinnias, chrysanthemums, dahlias, etc.

Post-Autumn Festival, we have picked the last of the apples and the quince for our end of season fruit butters program. We also have sent 2600 pounds of apples to Tilted Shed cidery to be made into hard cider for 2019 sales in the Clocktower Shop. In early October, Village Harvest gleaned over 2 tons of fruit to feed the needy.

Here, in early fall the hydrangeas are looking spectacular. Blooms will continue to arise, while older flowers fade to beautiful shades of purple, blue, rose and green.

Some of the late summer and fall components of the garden are looking quite lovely. The tree peony bed in the Cutting Garden is the height of its fall color. The exotic love vine (Ipomoealobata) has begun to bloom. Hydrangeas, plumbago, pocketbook flower and many others are adding color and interest to the garden. Silver lace vine (Fallopia baldschuanica) is blooming, and Chilaean bellflower (Lapageria rosea) always has one or more blooms.And another fun fall waif, the ivy-leaved cyclamen (Cyclamen hederifolium) is blooming particularly well all around the garden. Be sure to explore all the corners of the landscape to discover the beauty that is all around.

October into November means the arrival of the first camellias of the season. Look for the Camellia sasanqua to start blooming behind the Clocktower Shop, Walled and Woodland Garden, and Main Courtyard.

The Camperdown Elm has leafed out and become its cool umbrella of shade.

Filoli has one of the largest collections of ivy in the world. In the tradition of many historic English gardens, ivy was a component chosen for the walls in many places, particularly along the Bowling Green. In the late 90s, Filoli received an enormous collection from Dr. Cliff Coon, an avid ivy collector and breeder.Many of the varieties are represented on the fence line that wraps around the south and west side of the garden. In addition, a collection of adult ivies, which are more shrub like in form, grows to the west of the High Place. This peaceful corner of the garden is a lovely spot to sit and read a book. 


Spring display planting
Annual bed pulling
Holidays lights

Trees Update

I was asked recently write an update on some of our trees and issues we are having. First, as part of the High Place renovation project, several oaks, madrones and a cypress were removed for the return of the landscape back to its Bourn-era design. Many of the trees removed were dying, diseased, or failing in some way. With this open landscape, we can continue with the remaining planned work and ultimately replant the line of Lombardy poplars from the east and west edges of the upper Panel Garden, and wrapping around the High Place yews. Also, an olive tree from behind the High Place will be moved to the Visitor Center olive grove.

Sadly, the eastern the European hornbeam (Carpinus betulus) tree at the base of the Yew Allée is in the last stages of life due to infection from oak root fungus, and has subsequently been infected with split gill fungus. We will be removing the tree in the spring.

The older New Zealand black beech (Fuscospora solandri, syn. Nothofagus solandri), like its former mate, is also highly infected with oak root fungus.This is evident as the dying branches at the top of the tree.For now, we will be dead wooding the tree, but expect that it will be removed in the coming year or two. 

Garden Irrigation Information

I recently received a question from a docent asking why some irrigation programs run during our hours of operation. In general, we try and run all programs during the early morning.This is often what is most healthy for the plants. However, for some blooms, waiting until the plants have had a chance to dry from the morning dew, before running the irrigation, keeps the flowers from fading or prevents them being subject to some diseases. Some annuals, like petunias, and the bearded iris, do best when irrigated during the warmth of the late morning. 

Bloomin’ Bucks Program

Whenever visitors, volunteers or anyone else asks about where Filoli purchases our bulbs, after telling them that the bulk of our bulbs are purchased wholesale from the Netherlands, I tell them the best retail vendor in the US that I know is Brent and Becky’s Bulbs.

As part of the company’s commitment to public gardens, schools and other non-profits, Brent and Becky established the Bloomin’ Bucks program. With each purchase from Brent and Becky’s through the program, the designated non-profit receives 25% of the funds. Filoli is a participant in this program. So, if you’re planning to order bulbs this year, and like Brent and Becky’s products, please go to the Bloomin’ Bucks page (www.bloominbucks.com) to start your purchase by choosing Filoli as your non-profit of choice. From there, you will be sent to the regular Brent and Becky’s Bulbs website to start your shopping.