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What’s Blooming

Categories: Blog, Garden

Week of February 19, 2018February 25, 2018

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

Spring has Sprung:

The warm temperatures we saw in early February have really moved the plants along. Daffodils are blooming all around, which is perfect for Daffodil Daydreams this weekend. Flowering quince is stunning, early tulip containers are out in the garden, and camellias are blooming everywhere. You won’t be disappointed when visiting this week, right in time for our official Spring Season at Filoli.

Spring Preview:

The spring beds and display pots have been planted and now we await the beauty. Some of the highlights include the Sunken with over 4000 ‘Dordogne’ tulips, the Dining Room Terrace “Lily-Flowered Mix”, a blue hyacinth mix in the West Reception beds and a pink hyacinth mix in the Bell Beds. We’ll be repeating the mix of tulips in the Dutch Garden again, and an enhanced River of Tulips in the Perennial Border.

Plant Highlights:

Late winter is definitely the time to enjoy the structure of the formal garden. Hedges are tightly clipped, fruit trees are expertly pruned, and the intricate layout of the walled garden is on full display. If you enjoy getting a feel for the “bones” of the garden’s design and an appreciation for what Bruce Porter, Arthur Brown, Jr., Bella Worn, the Bourns and the Roths have created, the winter is the time to take in their collective vision and creativity.

Camellias-Camellias-Camellias! For the most part, the camellias throughout the garden are absolutely stunning for opening week. The Japonicas are blooming throughout the garden, and many of the Reticulatas have begun to flower.

Daffodils naturalized around the garden are peaking this week. All of the daffodil containers are out in the garden and looking glorious. Hyacinths in pots and beds are blooming at the west side of the house and elsewhere. Tulips are starting in the Garage Beds, and the containers will be coming out in force the next few weeks.

Many early spring perennials and shrubs have begun blooming around the garden. Filoli has a large collection of hellebores, including Lenten roses (H. orientalis), that grow in extensive stands in the Woodland Garden, the Main Courtyard, and many other locations.

The exotically fragrant yellow-edged winter daphne (Daphne odoraAureomarginata’), Mrs. Bourn’s favorite plant, blooms in dozens of locations around the garden.

Another exotically fragrant plant is the evergreen clematis (Clematis armandii), with its orange-scented flowers, which blooms at the Wedding Place and on the Garden House.

As the first round of magnolias is finishing, the second round, including the saucer magnolia (M. x soulangeana). There will, in fact, be a third round later in the season.

Some of the early trees and shrubs that have begun to bloom are the flowering quince hedge (Chaenomeles speciosa) near the Cutting Garden and the Cornelian cherry (Cornus mas) on the Yew Allee. To the north the house, the Taiwan flowering cherry (Prunus campanulata ‘Formosiana) is at its peak bloom time.

The Camperdown Elm with its gnarled branches, bare to the world, is a spectacular sight to behold.

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.


Winter pruning including fruit trees and wisteria

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 are in the midst of re-designing 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 will soon be bringing the beds back to one of their iterations, which was a more standard design of rows. Garden apprentice Farruh Rustamov, who hails from Uzbekistan, will be working in the Kitchen Garden as part of his apprenticeship’s independent project.

End of a Garden Era:

Last week Filoli saw the departure of longtime gardener and horticulturist Dave Lesser. Dave began is connection at Filoli through the garden intern program in 1984. He was hired on the heels of his internship, and has been a Filoli staffer ever since. Dave spent some time working around the garden, but was the lead horticulturist in the Panel Garden for decades. He trained hundreds of interns, dozens of assistants, and worked with thousands of volunteers over the years. Dave, and his wife Shelley, also a former intern and staff member, have moved to North Carolina where they look forward to new adventures.

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.