Bloom Watch

Bloom Watch

Categories: Blog, Garden

PDF RESOURCES: Blooming Calendar Year – PDF | Summer Display List – PDF | Visitor Map – PDF

Summer Display 2020

Lots of color in and around the Sunken Garden pond, including several types of mixed containers around and ‘Cannova Lemon’ canna plants, water lilies and a large Gunnera manicata in the water.


The summer display has been completely planted, beds are filling in well, and in my opinion, this will be the best summer combination of colors, themes and plants ever! Building on the color theme from last year’s Sunken Garden with the combination of silver, purple and chartreuse, this palette will carry throughout much of the garden. The Sunken 2020 will be a refinement of what was done last year, emphasizing the silver and purple much more. The Dutch Garden will be a mosaic of different colored coleus varieties. And more exciting, the Garden House Beds are themed after the great cottage garden displays at Great Dixter in England, with 20 different plants in these beds.

A detail of the Sunken beds showcasing the ‘First Knight’ pennisetum and ‘New Look’ dusty miller, a new introduction and donation from Benary Seed Company.

Plant Highlights

The Garden House beds are teaming with colors, textures and fragrances.


A detail of the Garden House beds showing the Salvia viridis ‘Oxford Blue’ and Dianthus ‘Rainbow Loveliness’.

We are just past peak, but hundreds of blooms are still open in the Rose Garden. Late April through June seems to typically be a spectacular time for the roses in both the Rose Garden and the Chartres Cathedral Window Garden. We should have our second peak later this summer, usually around August.

Knot Garden

At its absolute peak right now. All the blooms are in vivid color and should hold the next few weeks.

Perennial Border

The border is its second wave of blooms that begin in early summer. We’ve also recently added some Lychnis coronaria and Centaurea gymnocarpa, both grey foliage plants, to the front of the border. These will be behind the present bloom and bloom later this summer.

Summer Containers

Almost all of the summer containers are out in the garden. The Sunken is rich with both mixed containers displaying the purple, silver and chartreuse color scheme, SunPatiens are installed in most of their locations, and petunia pots are in many of the sunny spots, including the ‘Shock Wave Purple Tie Dye’ at the West Reception beds. The ever popular pocketbook plant (Calceolaria integrifolia) containers are blooming near the Visitor Center.

And an even tighter detail of a native bee in a California poppy (Eschscholzia californica ‘Alba’). Although not planned, excitingly, these cottage garden beds are teaming with pollinators!
One of the Chilean jasmine (Mandevilla laxa) vines on the face of the Garden House.
Cutting Garden

Early summer cutting flowers are in full bloom. Dahlias are starting, globe thistle, gladiolus and others are in full color.

Other Highlights

Rhododendrons are blooming in the Woodland Garden. The Chilean jasmine (Mandevilla
laxa) and Chilean bellflower (Lapageria rosea ‘Alba’) are blooming on or near the Garden House.
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.


Summer bed weeding

Summer fruit tree pruning

Although past peak, there are still hundreds of blooms to admire and smell in the Rose Garden.


Some, like this ‘Elle’ rose plant, are already sending out a new wave of blooms.
Hinoki False Cypress Update

For many years, we have struggled with the condition of the two, lower tier Hinoki false cypresses
(Chamaecyparis obtusa) trees west of the house. For this reason, have removed the lower two- NOT the upper tier- trees as part of our winter tree work. We are actively propagating new trees to replace these two trees. The two upper tier trees should now thrive even better with more sunlight.

Rose Garden Persimmon Update

It is with great sadness that we report that we had to remove the ‘Hachiya’ persimmon tree from the Rose Garden. The tree had been suffering from oak root fungus the past few years. Last year saw the beginning of it spiraling into decline. This year, the tree looked very poor, leafed out late and very sparsely. We look forward to planting a replacement persimmon in this location at a future time.

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 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.

Don’t miss the Knot Garden during your visit!