Fall Gardens at Filoli

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Fall Gardens at Filoli- www.gildedbloom.com

Fall is a beautiful time of year to tour Filoli in Woodside, CA as the gardens are still in bloom and the  trees are beginning to change color.  We visited there recently since two of my paintings are featured in the current art show, "Fall Landscapes of the Golden State".  We were dazzled by the beauty of the estate and still spectacular gardens in October.

Fall Gardens at Filoli- www.gildedbloom.com

The flower beds throughout the grounds were filled with colorful blooms.  A combination of orange and purple flowers defined the central garden and was stunning.  Layers of zinnias, dahlias and salvia grew in beds lined with boxwood for a lovely autumn display.

Fall Gardens at Filoli- www.gildedbloom.com

The formal garden design at Filoli provides dramatic viewpoints throughout the property.  Many are highlighted with elegant garden sculpture and wrought iron filigree gates.

Fall Gardens at Filoli- www.gildedbloom.com

The rose gardens were in bloom and filled the air with a sweet perfume.  There are many beautiful varieties, which are labelled for the convenience of visitors.  As a gardener, I always appreciate this educational detail, as I look forward to adding my favorites to our garden at home.

Fall Gardens at Filoli- www.gildedbloom.com

There are also extensive cutting gardens at Filoli and these were filled with zinnias, cosmos, strawflowers and a multitude of other fall-blooming beauties.

Fall Gardens at Filoli- www.gildedbloom.com

It was fascinating to see the rows of different flowers and autumn hued foliage plants which would surely look stunning in floral designs.

Fall Gardens at Filoli- www.gildedbloom.com

The dahlias were also blooming in gorgeous vibrant colors.   It was certainly a day filled with garden inspiration!

Fall Gardens at Filoli- www.gildedbloom.com

If you'd like to visit Filoli this season, the current "Golden Harvest" celebration features orchard tours, fall events, an art show, and a display of antique farm equipment through November 4th.  For more information please see the official website.




Creating a Fall Garden Floral

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Creating a Fall Garden Floral- www.gildedbloom.com

Our fall garden is beginning to bloom at last as we welcome October with cool weather and raindrops.   It is a beautiful time of year to design arrangements from the garden, and creating a fall floral using homegrown flowers mixed with a market bouquet is an easy way to enjoy the garden indoors.  

Creating a Fall Garden Floral- www.gildedbloom.com
Choosing a few key homegrown stems and combining them with a complementary mix of store-bought flowers can create a dazzling autumn arrangement.  I chose these peach roses for a focal point as they are large and spectacular this season and have a beautiful scent.

Creating a Fall Garden Floral- www.gildedbloom.com

Orange garden dahlias and zinnias in a soft antique pink are also sourced from home.

Creating a Fall Garden Floral- www.gildedbloom.com

To bring an autumn glow to the peachy-pink tones of the garden flowers, I selected a market bouquet with deep, rich fall colors and textured foliage.

Creating a Fall Garden Floral- www.gildedbloom.com

Orange mums add warmth and texture and their color pops next to dusty green eucalyptus branches.

Creating a Fall Garden Floral- www.gildedbloom.com

Variegated burgundy mums pick up the pink in the zinnias but add a deep fall hue, while cherry brandy roses mix in a vibrant berry and golden orange color.

Creating a Fall Garden Floral- www.gildedbloom.com

To keep the arrangement from looking too formal, I usually place the largest blooms first, then add filler flowers and foliage in an asymmetrical pattern.  This results in an unstructured, flowing design that reflects the way flowers grow in nature.

As there are so many beautiful blooms to enjoy during the autumn months, I hope you will create a natural floral design of your own.  Happy Fall!



Hot Summer Flowers...

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Zinnias- Hot Summer Flowers- www.gildedbloom.com

The summer high temperatures are often a challenge for gardeners but with a little bit of planning and the right choice of plants, a summer garden can be filled with flowery fun.

During the months of July and August in this part of California, temperatures can be over 100 degrees but we still enjoy cool nights and lovely mornings.  A few flowers I chose for our home garden which perform well in these high temperatures year after year are hydrangeas, dahlias and zinnias.   The hydrangeas are planted in a moist area with partial shade, the dahlias in a semi-moist area with only morning light, and the zinnias in full sun with minimal water.  I find that these flowers keep our gardens filled with color during the hot days of summer.

Hydrangeas- Hot Summer Flowers- www.gildedbloom.com

This year the hydrangeas are all shades of pink which is the natural color the soil produces.  They start to flower in May and then fade to soft green and purple as the summer progresses.  By August they are a gorgeous shade of gray-green...

Hydrangeas- Hot Summer Flowers- www.gildedbloom.com

This bi-color hydrangea variety is a unique and vibrant addition to the summer garden with its striped petals and textural foliage.

Dahlias- Hot Summer Flowers- www.gildedbloom.com

The dahlias started blooming in July and will likely last through September.  Dahlias like plenty of sunshine but not too much heat so they are a perfect choice for a space with morning sun.

 Dahlias- Hot Summer Flowers- www.gildedbloom.com

This Creme de Cassis dahlia is a new addition in our yard this summer.  It starts out a deep burgundy and fades to soft pink.

Zinnias- Hot Summer Flowers- www.gildedbloom.com

Zinnias flourish in sunny areas as they are tough enough to stand up to the heat.  They are available in a wide range of colors from bright yellow-orange to soft pink.  I favored this miniature peach variety for the full sun flower beds and have been so happy with the results.  Also, they require very little care and keep producing gorgeous blooms!

Peony Season...

Monday, June 4, 2018



Peony season is here and I'm enchanted with all the beautiful blooms!  These lovely pink stems were brought to me by a friend who has grown them for years. The one with the yellow center is called "Bowl of Beauty" and the other is "Pink Chiffon".  The pink hue and intense scent of these flowers is quite a seasonal treat!



These elegant flowers are a pleasure to photograph and also to paint. The complex structure of the petals and the way they reflect light is fascinating to observe and capture with a camera or paintbrush.


The Duchesse de Nemours white peony is one of my favorites. It has a soft yellow center with ruffled petals. The more common, but equally beautiful, Sarah Bernhardt peony is shown below. Its vibrant pink color is enhanced with a profusion of fringed petals.


This year, I am inspired to paint peonies for both their beauty and meaning. The peony is often a symbol of good fortune in life and love. Celebrated for its fragile beauty and fleeting nature, it is a traditional symbol in Chinese art, where it is referred to as "the king of flowers" for its majesty and grace.

Below are a few examples of my recent paintings inspired by these botanical treasures.

Duchesse de Nemours Peony Painting- www.gildedbloom.com


Styling Cymbidium Orchids

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Styling Cymbidium Orchids www.gildedbloom.com

Cymbidiums have always been my favorite variety of orchids.  I've been collecting them since I was in college and fell in love with a neighbor's wine barrel full of amazing blooming orchid stalks.  Over the years,  I have added many plants to our container gardens and have enjoyed spectacular blooms.

Styling Cymbidium Orchids- www.gildedbloom.com

Cymbidium orchids originated in the Himalayas and tolerate unusually cold temperatures.  They are found throughout Asia and produce large robust blooms in late winter or early spring.  The flower stalks can last 4-6 weeks.  Different orchids in our garden have been in bloom since late January and I cut the pink flowers you see here last night for the arrangement.  They should stay alive and beautiful for another few weeks.

Styling Cymbidium Orchids- www.gildedbloom.com

Cymbidium is easy to style but must be handled carefully as the flowers are very fragile.  To create this mixed arrangement, I put the stalks of orchids into a tall container and then combined them with sprigs of heavenly bamboo recently pruned from the garden.

Styling Cymbidium Orchids- www.gildedbloom.com

Since our deep purple tulips are currently in bloom, I added a few throughout the design to enhance the color of the orchids.

Styling Cymbidium Orchids- www.gildedbloom.com

This arrangement is about 2-3 ft tall and makes a stunning centerpiece.  I plan to refurbish the blooms in a simpler vase in the weeks to come.

Spring in the Garden...

Tuesday, March 20, 2018


Spring in the Garden- www.gildedbloom.com

Today is officially the first day of Spring and the garden is clearly celebrating with beautiful blooms and blossoms.  Our magnolia tree is covered in pink and white velvety flowers which glisten on these rainy days.

Spring in the Garden- www.gildedbloom.com

The daffodils are also coming back to life.  They are one of the first in a parade of flowers that will light up the garden this season.

Spring in the Garden- www.gildedbloom.com

The potted tulips are growing and starting to grace our patio with pastel beauty. 

Spring in the Garden- www.gildedbloom.com

Blooming in bright pink and usually buzzing with bees, this redbud tree is already filled with flowers. 
(I happened to get a bee-free photo while out in the rain this morning!)  The branches are so colorful.

Spring in the Garden- www.gildedbloom.com

Pink jasmine buds cover the fence and are about to open and release their lovely sweet fragrance into the air...

Spring in the Garden- www.gildedbloom.com

But most exciting, is this sweet little dove living on the top shelf of our plant rack.  She's been there for a few weeks and is very friendly, even when we water her plant!  Today I noticed she has two new baby doves in her nest.  One was happy to pose for the picture but the other is resting.  What a wonderful surprise!

Spring in the Garden- www.gildedbloom.com

Happy Spring!

Black and White Anemone Arrangement

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Black and White Anemone Arrangement- www.gildedbloom.com

The garden is finally blooming again after the dormant days of winter and some of the first flowers to emerge this season were these black and white anemones. I'll admit I was so happy to have them decorate the garden after the flowerless winter months that I harvested them late for this arrangement.  Still, the soft white blooms add a hint of spring to our home!


Black and White Anemone Arrangement- www.gildedbloom.com

This beautiful variety of anemone is a dramatic addition to arrangements and is remarkably easy to grow.  I have combined it with dusty miller, burgundy heuchera, and a few sprigs of white candytuft put in a blue and white ceramic vase.  

Black and White Anemone Arrangement- www.gildedbloom.com

The black and white anemone, with its showy dark center,  is a favorite flower for wedding bouquets.  When it first opens the center is a deep navy blue which turns to black and spreads as the bloom ages.  Although these appear to be quite delicate, they are actually cold hardy and last many days in vases or arrangements.

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