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Filoli is open Tuesday through Sunday from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm.

What’s Blooming

More Information
Centennial Clocktower
Filoli Centennial

Filoli celebrates 100 years with excursions, events, and exhibits.

Year of the Garden

Stories told of Filoli history, propagation, and planting.

Blooming Calendar
Blooming Calendar

Find out what’s blooming at Filoli from January to December.

Garden Information

Learn about Filoli plants and gardening practices—ask the experts.

Plant Highlights

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.

Sunken GardenThe Perennial Border is full of color and beauty this week.

Walled GardenAs we pass into mid-spring, the Knot Garden perennials and shrubs begin filling in and flowering.

rose treesOne could follow their nose through the garden from rhododendrons to roses to sweet peas on an intoxicating journey.

Ophir rose and wisteriaDefinitely one of the most popular photo locations in the garden is under the 'Sally Holmes' rose in the Rose Garden.

iris borderAs we begin to feel summer in the air, the Clematis 'Jackmanii' asks everyone to take notice of its beautiful purple flowers. Flanked by the large Chinese fish bowls, they are picture perfect.

iris borderOne of the artists and pieces in this year's Sculpture Exibit, Stefan Savides "Top Gun", was selected for its connection to the Lead Eagles atop the Bourn gate.


Garden Happenings
Week of May 22 - May 28, 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 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.

Garden Sculpture Exhibit:
Our fourth annual summer sculpture exhibit is up around the garden. Entitled Filoli Inspirations: Sculpture Exhibit in the Garden, this year’s exhibit is an homage to the different pieces of art throughout the garden. Look for bronze and metalwork pieces by Stephan Savides, Marilyn Kuksht, Paul Cheney, Mary Bayer and Anna Martin; concrete and ceramic pieces by David Putnam, Peggy Snider, Deborah Bridges, and Xuan My Ho; mixed media pieces by Payson McNett; and carved marble pieces by Matt Auvinen. Also, as part of this year’s exhibit, we will be have informational signs beside many of the pieces of Filoli garden art explaining their origins and mediums. The exhibit runs May 16 – November 5.

Sculpture maps and further information is available in the Visitor’s Center.

Summer Garden Display
We are embarking on the pulling, prepping and planting transition from spring to summer. We have begun with the Numbered Beds in the southern Walled Garden and the Dining Room Terrace beds. This week we will plant the Sunken Garden inner squares and Bell Beds. The full display design will be posted on our website soon.

Plant Highlights:

Right on schedule, the Rose Garden is at its peak of bloom. Be sure to wander all the beds and find your favorite colored and/or scented rose.

The Knot Garden and Perennial Border in the Panel Garden are approaching their peak show of the year. Always on the heels of the peak of spring, the Panel Garden is at its finest as spring fades into summer.

Some of the various late-pring-into-summer shrubs, subshrubs and vines are coming into bloom. The elegant Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ vines are blooming along the balustrades adjacent to the Dining Room Terrace. Everyone’s favorite pocketbook plant (Calceolaria integrifolia) greets guests at the Visitor’s Center landing. The many patches of bear’s breech (Acanthus mollis) around the garden are sending up their tall flowering spikes.

There is still spring color in some of the annual beds throughout the garden. In the Chartres Cathedral Window garden, the mauve ‘Little Kiss Lilac’ and golden ‘Citrona Yellow’ wallflowers are stunning. The Sunken Garden is a riot of color with baby blue eyes (Nemophila menziesii), catchfly (Silene dioica), and columbines (Aquilegia ‘Swan Pink and Yellow’ and ‘Clementine Rose’).

The herbaceous peony bed in the Cutting Garden has begun to bloom. Beyond our historic white and pink variety, there are a dozen other varieties to help extend the season of blooms available for our Flower Arrangers and guests. All of our varieties are the low-chill types, ones that require fewer hours of cold (below 40°F) temperatures in order to bloom well. Some varieties require 1000 hours of cold, whereas ones that do well for us are in the 500-700 hour range. Many parts of the Bay Area don’t even receive 500 hours, hence the struggle to get peonies to bloom.

The Historic Iris Border, on the west of the Yew Allée, has many of different varieties in bloom. There are bearded iris in many other locations throughout the garden that are also blooming.

Annual planting
Property clean up of winter storm damage
Rough cut mowing around property

There is a new lath screen near the VEC Room D parking lot. As part of the new visitor flow from the Visitor’s Center to the House and Garden, we had to clear the bank of native shrubs blocking this view. We have planted the area with new native shrubs, but until they fill in the area, the lath screen will help block this parking area from view.

There is a new lath screen near the VEC Room D parking lot. As part of the new visitor flow from the Visitor’s Center to the House and Garden, we had to clear the bank of native shrubs blocking this view. We have planted the area with new native shrubs, but until they fill in the area, the lath screen will help block this parking area from view.

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 ( 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