Bloom Watch

Bloom Watch

Categories: Blog, Garden

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

Garden Happenings
May 06, 2020

Summer Display 2020:

The summer display is in the process of being installed, and in my opinion, 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

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. Some of the beds have already been planted, but at present, there is still some of the spring
color remaining as we transition into summer.

Plant Highlights:

Roses. The peak of roses is happening now. Mother’s Day seems to typically be a spectacular time for the
roses in both the Rose Garden and the Chartres Cathedral Window Garden. Roses in other parts of the garden
are also blooming away!

Camellias-Camellias-Camellias! We still have a number of shrubs in bloom around the garden.


Peonies. Tree peonies are coming peaking, with abundant flowers across the border. Herbaceous peonies are
starting to bloom.

Iris .Historic iris border west of the Yew Allee is at the peak of bloom. Bearded iris around the garden are

Cutting Garden. Spring and early summer cutting flowers are in full bloom including sweet William and
watsonia. Dahlias are in the midst of being planted.

Knot Garden. Shrubs are budding up in preparation to bloom in the next few weeks.

Perennial Border. Perennials, along with roses and other shrubs are looking great presently.

Other Highlights. The golden black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia ‘Frisia’ is fully leafed out and blooming. The
Camperdown elm’s leaves are starting to unfurl. In the woody border north of the Swimming Pool, the Chinese
dogwood (Cornus kousa) is beginning to bloom. The intoxicatingly fragrant Rhododendron ‘Fragrantissimum’
on the wall adjacent to the Garden House is in full bloom. Look for this vine in other locations around the
garden as well.

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.

Planting summer display
General clean up and mowing around the garden and estate

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.

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

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.