Filoli celebrates 100 years with excursions, events, and exhibits.
Year of the Garden
Stories told of Filoli history, propagation, and planting.
Find out what’s blooming at Filoli from January to December.
Learn about Filoli plants and gardening practices—ask the experts.
Flowers are one of the most pronounced markers of the progression of time in a garden. Each week we scout the Garden for amazing blooms and feature our favorites here. Check back often to see what we have in store for your next visit to Filoli.
Week of March 20 – March 26, 2017
Centennial Celebration of the Garden
We have celebrated the land and we have celebrated the house. Now, it is time to celebrate the GARDEN! This final, and penultimate, centennial year will, hopefully, be the best our guests have ever experienced. Many exciting opportunities and experiences are planned for this year and we plan to have the garden looking smarter and more colorful than ever before.
Be sure to bookmark Filoli’s Centennial webpage, and check back for ticket sales and updates in the coming months.
We have arrived at the peak of spring! The tulip display will be at its best the next two weeks. There are hundreds of pots in the garden and most of the beds are in full bloom, with a few others just beginning to bloom (those just beginning should be in full bloom next week.) If you want to see the height of the tulip display, visit the garden this week or next!
January 2017, as many of you know, will go down in the record books. We received 16.24” of rain, our second wettest month in the 37 years we have kept weather records at Filoli. (As of 03/13/17, we have received over 48”, already surpassing our seasonal average by more than a foot.) And happily, the temperatures have been typical for our winter months. Therefore, the garden is on a much more normal bloom schedule, with much to unfold in coming months.
The tulip beds at their peak this week are the Lower Balustrade Bed (‘Pink Impression’), Sunken Garden (‘Van Eijk’ followed by ‘Menton’), Bell Beds (‘Ollioules’), Dutch (Pink and White Mix) and Perennial Border (‘Changing Colors’ and ‘Delight Mix’). Next week (and the following) we should see the peak of the Dining Room Terrace Beds (Parrot Mix), Garage Beds (‘Maureen’), Garden House Beds (‘Pink Diamond’), Sundial (Single Late Mix) and Numbered Beds (‘Estatic’).
An addition for the centennial spring display is a River of Tulips flowing through the Perennial Border. This mix of ‘Delight Mix’ and ‘Changing Colors Mix’, two mixes offered by our bulb vendor, is about thirty percent in flower and will be looking better and better over the course of the week.
Camellias-Camellias-Camellias! Though most of the early varieties have faded, the later Camellia japonica and C. reticulata cultivars are still blooming around the garden.
Early spring (well, technically mid-winter) is magnolia time. Many varieties are still in beautiful bloom, including the yellow ‘Elizabeth’ in the southeast corner of the walled garden. If you can get to a flower, without stepping on the lawn, be sure to stick your nose inside and take in the exotic fragrance.
As the daffodil meadow in the panel garden begins to fade, the many fruit trees- peaches, nectarines, plums- are coming into flower. Don’t miss the ‘Red Barron’ peach with its rich pink blooms.
The Camperdown elm, with its gnarled branches bare to the world, is a spectacular sight to behold. The flowers are just beginning to form, which will be followed by the chartreus seed heads.
There is much color in the annual beds throughout the garden. The violas are blooming, as are the wallflowers (Erysimum cultivars) in the Chartres Cathedral Window garden.
Daffodils, both naturalized in the ground, and in containers, are near their prime. The peak for the daffodils this year will be from now to mid-March.
Continue winter pruning of deciduous trees, shrubs, and vines.
Annual bed weeding and grooming
Bulb pot displays
Notes and Common Questions
Turf and Turf Trials
After recent years of below average rainfall, we have decided we need to educate ourselves on some of turf varieties that might grow well for us with less water. In the North Lawn Terrace area, we have sown or planted 10’ x 12’ blocks for a formal turf trial. The twelve species and blends that we testing are:
1. June grass (Koeleria macrantha)
2. Seashore bentgrass (Agrostis pallens)
3. U.C. Verde buffalo grass (Buchloe dactyloides)
4. Hachita blue gramma grass (Bouteloua gracilis ‘Hachita’)
5. Purple needlegrass (Stipa pulchra)
6. Pacific hair grass (Deschampsia cespitosa)
7. Molate red fescue (Festuca rubra ‘Molate’)
8. Pacific Coast Seed— Native Ornamental Fine Fescue Blend
9. High Country Gardens— Low Work & Water Fescue Mix
10. Prairie Nursery— No Mow Fescue Mix
11. Barenburg- Water Saver Rhizomatous Tall Fescue Mix
12. California meadow sedge (Carex pansa)
Each block and variety has a corresponding sign telling more about the variety. We will also have similar information about the trial and varieties on the Filoli website.
The intent for the trial is to find one or more that might work for some of our turf areas. In particular, we are looking at areas that are less formal or receive regular foot traffic.
In the fall of 2016, we embarked on a beta testing of the “No Mow Fescue Mix” on the Yew Allée. This variety, which has performed best thus far, will hopefully be a low-water and lower-upkeep turf for this important view corridor.
Ultimately, we will continue the trial through fall of this year. We plan to irrigate 30-40% less compared to what our historic turf blends receive, and, therefore, determine which are the best for the High Place and some of the other higher-traffic and less high-profile lawns.
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. Brent Heath’s family has long been in the bulb business and because of their lasting relationships with the Dutch growers, Brent and Becky are able to sell top-quality bulbs. If Filoli could afford to buy all of their bulbs from this company, we would.
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.
Written by Jim Salyards, Filoli’s Head of Horticulture