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What’s Blooming

Categories: Blog, Garden

Garden Happenings

The update below is provided by Terry Huang, our Woodside-Atherton Garden Club Collections Management Fellow.

June 10 – June, 23 2019

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


Summer Display 2019

The planting of the Summer Display is still underway, with a few of the beds still to go. This summer, there is a color theme of purple, chartreuse and silver. The Sunken Garden will be the main focus of this palette, but neighboring beds will also have elements of this scheme. However, there will be a number of beds of pink begonias, but look for some other surprises including bedding dahlias in the Dutch.
The inspiration for this color combination was from visits to a number of public gardens last summer.

However, this palette of colors can be seen when looking back at the Swimming Pool Pavilion: purple of the Japanese maple, silver of the olive trees, and chartreuse of the golden black locust!

Plant Highlights

Roses: It’s rose time! The Rose Garden is looking and smelling exceptionally good right now, but you can find more dotted about the rest of the garden. Look for climbers ‘Phyllis Bide’ and ‘Cécile Brunner’ in the Service Courtyard garden tumbling over the trellis and garden wall. Roses will continue to bloom throughout the summer, but this is the time of year when they have extra floral power.

Summer blooming trees, shrubs, perennials: Though spring is the season we typically associate with bursts of color, Filoli has a number of plants that bring color to the summer garden. Some of these that have started, beyond the Perennial Border and Rose Garden, the agapanthus in the eastern Walled Garden are starting to bloom, the banana shrub (Magnolia figo) west of the House is blooming with its exotic aroma, and the pocketbook plant (Calceolaria integrifolia) are in full bloom at the Visitor Center landing area.

Cutting Garden: Enjoy the luscious fragrance of sweet peas and the tall, stately foxgloves in the cutting cages. The cutting garden will continue to bud and bloom throughout the summer, so check back often to catch all the different blossoms.

Perennial Border: Late spring and early summer are the peak of the perennial border each year. Salvias, roses, veronica, smoke bush and dozens of other perennials and shrubs burst into color. We have also made some recent additions to the bed, including some bubbles of calamint (Calamintha nepeta “White Cloud”), a fragrant perennial in the mint family, which is a favorite of pollinators, as well as some recent acquisitions from Annie’s Annuals, including a shrubby Plectranthus and an ornamental pokeweed (Phytolacca).

Knot Garden: As with the Perennial Border, the Knot Garden comes into its glory in late spring and early summer. The ‘Hidcote’ lavender is in full bloom presently, and all the various shrubs that make this woven garden feature, are bursting with color.

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.


The Sunken Garden is nearly planted, and the beginnings of the purple, silver and chartreuse are becoming evident.


A detail of one of the inner square beds in the Sunken shows the three colors.

Not initially an inspiration for the colors of Summer 2019, but it’s been here all along!

Waterlilies in the Sunken Garden pool are always a beautiful part of the summer garden. Kids are also loving the thousands of tadpoles that are living in the pool this time of year.


The Rose Garden is bursting with color right now.

A favorite garden in early summer is the Knot Garden.  What makes this display particularly stunning is the backdrop of the copper beech hedge.  The adjacent Perennial Border is also nearing peak.

Though the beds are still filling in, the Kitchen Garden will be a lovely spot in its own right this summer.


  • Boxwood hedging
  • Annual beds planting

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 U.S. 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.