What’s Blooming

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What’s Blooming

Categories: Blog, Garden

Garden Happenings

October 14 – October 27, 2019

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


Summer Display 2019 to Spring 2020

Many of our summer beds are still looking quite colorful, but our bulb delivery should arrive the week of October 14, which hales the turnover from summer to spring planting.  Some of the highlights of the Summer 2019 display were some of the new annuals in the Sunken Garden, like the dusty miller (Cineraria ‘Silverdust’), the ornamental pennisetum grass (Pennisetum ‘First Knight’), Salvia ‘Amistad ‘ and ‘Big Blue’, and the Nicotiana ‘Lime Green’.  In the rest of the garden, the begonias and impatiens did very well, as did the Petunia ‘Spreading Wave Purple Classic’, and the Phlox ‘Fedco Mix’. 

Some of the highlights of Spring 2020 include a blue and white annual scheme in the Sunken Garden, with yellow tulips, many mixes of tulips in single colors that will give a longer display in the beds, and new varieties of forget-me-nots.


Plant Highlights

Fruit collection: Staff picked a wealth of fruit for the Harvest and Orchard festival days.  Village Harvest will pick on October 15 for the second harvest food bank.  A last gleaning of the orchards will be harvested by staff on October 15 for production of the Filoli apple butter and hard cider. 

Roses:  The peak of rose season has passed, but there are still many roses in flower throughout the Rose Garden and Chartres Cathedral Window.

Fall color: As you walk around the garden, various trees, shrubs and vines are showing autumnal color.  Best places are the fruit trees in the lower Panel Garden, our Foliage Borders, both north of the Swimming Pool and near the High Place, and in the Walled and Woodland gardens.

Hydrangeas:  All of the beds have loads of flowers, but the best bed this year is the southwest corner of the Panel Garden.

Cutting Garden: The flowers are waning as we move deeper into fall, but there is still lots of color on some of the later season flowers, and the two vines growing on the cages: exotic love vine (Ipomoea lobata) and the snail or corkscrew vine (Vigna caracalla), which smells like grape juice!

Perennial Border:  This year 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, Phlox ‘Jeana’, as well as some recent acquisitions from Annie’s Annuals, including a shrubby Plectranthus and an ornamental pokeweed (Phytolacca).

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 bit of fall color.


One will still sell a lot of color and vigor in the Sunken Garden.


A stand out in the Sunken is the dusty miller (Cineraria ‘Silverdust’), a donation from PanAmerican Seed Company.


The petunia ‘Spreading Wave Purple Classic’ (also a PanAmerican donation) looks fantastic at this late point in the season.


Begonias in the souther Walled Garden continue to bloom away!


The exotic love vine (Ipomoea lobata) is in full bloom, and a feast for the humming birds in the Panel Garden.


Nearby, the snail or corkscrew vine (Vigna caracalla) is blooming late, but is interesting, beautiful, and is perfumed like grape soda!


A 2019 addition to the Perennial Border, which should be incredible next year, is the dwarf, pink-flowering, perennial phlox (Phlox paniculata ‘Jeana’).


The Knot Garden recently received its annual haircut, and will proceed to grow through winter and bloom again late next spring.


  • High Place Renovation Project

  • Spring annual bed prep

  • Fruit picking

  • Holiday lighting

High Place Project and OLIVE MOVING:

Beginning last summer, Filoli has been working toward renovating the High Place.  The main pieces of this project were to remove declining trees from the south and west of the space, renovate the semicircular yew hedge, replace the turf to the two terraces, and replant a line of Lombardy poplars around the east, south and west sides of the High Place.  The tree work and yew renovation occurred in 2018, and the rest of the project will occur in the next few weeks.  One added detail is that a large olive tree behind the High Place, which is mostly hidden away from view, will be moved near the Filoli sign outside the Visitor Center.  This project is slated to happen on September 23.

The project has been partially funded through grants and many generous donations for the High Place.  To help with the last bit of funding needed to complete the project, please visit: https://51772.blackbaudhosting.com/51772/High-Place-Renovation—Individual

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 (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.