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What’s Blooming

Categories: Blog, Garden

Week of April 16, 2018 – May 6, 2018

PDF RESOURCES: Garden Happenings – PDF   |     Blooming Calendar Year – PDF   |    Spring Display 2018 – PDF    |      Filoli Map – PDF


Your faithful writer will be heading off later this week for Filoli’s first Riverboat Tulip Tour of the Netherlands and Belgium. In addition to being excited about seeing these the beauty and culture of these two countries, I am very much looking forward to learning from the design of the gardens and the many new varieties of tulips and other bulbs I will see in bloom. I fully expect to infuse next spring’s display with ideas gleaned from this trip.

What’s Blooming Cart Debut:

Right in time for spring, we have 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 will have metal vases with chalkboard nametags, which will 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

Spring is HERE:

April into May is a time when there is probably the most color throughout the garden. The wisteria and tree peonies are at their peak, the annuals in the display beds are in full color, and many flowering trees and shrubs come into bloom. In the next few weeks, some of the highlights will be the rhododendrons and azaleas in the Woodland Garden, the fragrant Rhododendron fragrantissimum in the Walled Garden, dogwoods, Japanese rose (Kerria japonica), and rose should begin blooming.

Plant Highlights:

  • The last of the tulips will be blooming the next two weeks, with the last of the late tulips in beds and containers.
  • One of the highlights of spring is our stunning wisteria collection. All vines are in bloom or are budded and about to bloom. One of the favorites, the double Japanese wisteria over the garden shop (Wisteria floribunda ‘Viollacea Plena’) is beginning to unfurl. Now is the time to see the wisteria at their best.
  • And, in synch with the wisteria, the Lady Banks’ rose (Rosa banksiae ‘Lutea’) is beginning to bloom throughout the garden.
  • The lilacs along both sides of the Panel Garden Yew Allee are at the peak of bloom. Don’t miss strolling along the west path and drinking in the aroma.
  • The pink and white American dogwoods (Cornus florida) are blooming in and around the Woodland Garden.
  • Adjacent to the lilacs are our historic iris collection. Many are flowering or coming into flower.
  • Camellias throughout the garden are still quite stunning. The Japonicas are blooming throughout the garden, and many of the Reticulatas are in flower.
  • The tree peonies are blooming and will continue to get better the next few weeks.
  • Some of the last magnolias are blooming, including the late saucer magnolia (M. x soulangeana ‘Rustic Rubra’) at the Wedding Place and Magnolia liliiflora near the Panel Garden hydrangea bed.
  • The Camperdown Elm is becoming enrobed in its chartreus seed heads. This spectacle only lasts a short time, so be sure to catch it before the ornaments fall from the branches as the leaves begin to emerge.
  • 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.


Hedging Rose Garden boxwood
Tending to spring beds

Kitchen Garden Re-design

In an attempt to streamline the work in the Kitchen Garden, and also better interpret the production of vegetable crops at Filoli, we have redesigned the beds. This part of the garden has seen many uses over the years, including as an extension of the Cutting Garden and also as a spring and summer annual trial and display garden. Vegetables have always been grown on the grounds, and we have brought the beds back to one of their former iterations, which was a more typical design of simple rows. Garden apprentice Farruh Rustamov, who hails from Uzbekistan, reworked the Kitchen Garden as part of his apprenticeship’s independent project.

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.