Bloom Watch

Bloom Watch

Categories: Blog, Garden

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

Garden Happenings: June 01, 2020


Thousands of blooms and hundreds of different fragrances to feast your eyes and noses upon in the Rose Garden.


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 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.  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 the roses continues.  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.  Roses in other parts of the garden are also blooming away!

Waves of pinks, purples, greys, yellows and others colors drift in and out along the Perennial Border.


Knot Garden.  At its absolute peak right now.

The Knot Garden is at the peak of color, texture and movement presently, with lavender, rosemary and germander in the southern bed.

Perennial Border.  The border is near its peak. We’ve recently added some Lychnis coronaria flosand Centaurea gymnocarpa, both grey foliage plants, to the front of the border.  These will be behind the present bloom and bloom later this summer.

To the north, lavender cotton (Santolina), dwarf barberry, germander and myrtle make up the plant palette. Featured in the middle are one of the Kristine Mays sculpture installations.

Cutting Garden.  Spring and early summer cutting flowers are in full bloom.  Watsonia, clarkia, foxgloves, poppies, lupines, stock and many others in bloom.

Lots of color and bounty throughout the Cutting Garden.

Camellias-Camellias-Camellias!  The very last blooms can be found here and there around the garden.

Garden House cottage garden mix has filled in nicely and hints of the white, yellow and purple/blue colors have begun to show.

Peonies. The tail end of the herbaceous peonies are wrapping up the season.

The Sunken Garden planting is filling in nicely and starting to reveal its grey and purple color. More purples and the chartreuse will begin later this month.

A sweet mix of dwarf zinnias in the Bell Beds.

Iris. Historic iris border west of the Yew Allee is near the end of its bloom.

The Chartres planting is under way with Petunia ‘Easy Wave Lavender Sky Blue’ and ‘Tidal Wave Silver’ in alternating beds.

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 and on the Tennis Court, the Chinese dogwood (Cornus kousa) is flowering.  The intoxicatingly fragrant Rhododendron ‘Fragrantissimum’ on the wall adjacent to the Garden House still has some flowers.  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.

A most reliable climber, the Clematis x jackmanii peaks in late May and early June. The way it combines with the Chinese Xining ceramic bowl and ‘Graham Thomas’ rose is stunning.


  • Planting summer display
  • General clean up and mowing around the garden and estate
  • Mowing of roadsides

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

The last cut on our historic persimmon tree that had to be removed due to oak root fungus disease. 🙁

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.