What’s Blooming

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What’s Blooming

Categories: Blog, Garden

Garden Happenings

August 12 – August 25, 2019

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


Summer Display 2019

The summer beds are filling in nicely, with lots of color, particularly in the Sunken Garden, West Reception, Garden House, Dutch and Numbered Beds. 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 continues to be rose time! The Rose Garden is still looking and smelling exceptionally good right now, but you can find more dotted about the rest of the garden. Roses will continue to bloom throughout the summer and into fall.

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.  The pocketbook plant (Calceolaria integrifolia) are in full bloom at the Visitor Center landing area. Some of the summer vines are blooming around the garden including the Chilean jamine (Mandevilla laxa), and Chilean bellflower (Lapageria rosea).

Hydrangeas:  All of the beds have flowers that are starting to open, but the best bed this year is the southwest corner of the
Panel Garden.

Cutting Garden: The Cutting Garden is looking bountiful right now, with pineapple lily, sunflowers, globe thistile, Queen Anne’s lace, and many other beds in full bloom. Our permanent bed of dahlias that is located on the south side of the Cutting Garden is blooming well, and the summer bed of dahlias is as well. The cutting garden will continue to bud and bloom throughout the summer, so check back often to catch all the different blossoms.

Perennial Border: The border is past peak, but still lots of color from the later blooming perennials as well as the purple smokebush. 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: Though some herbs are past prime, the Knot Garden is still in its glory in early summer. The dwarf germander, a honeybee favorite, 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.


Sunken Garden beds are full of color!


Detail of a Sunken bed with the perfect expression of the purple, chartreuse and silver mix.


A bumblebee or native bee after a night’s sleep on a Zinnia ‘Benary Giant Lime’ flower.



Recently added to the summer garden display are containers of Begonia tuberosa ‘Santa Barbara’ on the Garden House Terrace. These seeds were donated to Filoli from Benary Seed Company.


These vibrant pots of Impatiens ‘Sunpatiens Compact Electric Orange’ (Sakata Ornamentals) are making a big impact at the Swimming Pool.


Carrying the purple, chartreuse and silver theme that is in much of the garden, beds and containers of Impatiens ‘Sunpatiens Compact Purple’ have filled in nicely at the West Reception.


Another purple display are the Garden House beds with ‘Wave Purple Classic’ petunia (PanAmerican Seed Company). This Wave petunia, which blew apart the petunia industry apart nearly 25 years ago, began with this purple variety. Discovered as a weed in a vineyard in South America, where petunias originate, its vigor was soon recognized and the rest is herstory!

Our hydrangea beds are blooming well all over the garden. This flower, on closer inspection, is an interesting blend of blue and red.


The cutting garden is incredibly abundant this year. These beds of many-colored scabiosa (pincushion flower), are particularly beautiful right now.



  • Annual beds maintenance
  • Camellia pruning
  • Rough-cut mowing
  • Fruit picking

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.