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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Filoli Daffodil Daydreams


Sunday visit to Filoli: Mom's smile beams out of the fuzzy image - guess I was more focused on the bloomin' trees in the background!
 

Daffodils strewn under fruit trees add gaiety to an orchard not yet in full bloom. Look closely in the background and you'll see the unusual U-shaped chimneys - three of them!  Not as imposing as Downton Abbey (aka Highclere), but not half shabby for the country estate of a successful '49-er-gold-miner. Want to know more about Filoli, check out impressions from a pro, who like me, isn't overly fond of formal gardens.


Neither Mom nor I knew for sure what this sweet plant might be, but  sure enough, stand long enough and passersby will share their knowledge: "What a lovely flowering quince!" As if to confirm these casual observations, a close look under the lowest branches reveals golden leavings from last year's yield. 

Quince — not an easy fruit to convert into dessert or preserves but lovely in a floral arrangement. In fact, the following day, Mom and I immediately identified this very plant in an artful arrangement standing outside an apartment at the Forum



Mom's favorite daffodil - a gift idea for next fall!?! Look closely to see the  tiny orange cup in the center of bright yellow petals. 
From a volunteer of the American Daffodil Society, we learned about how the twelve categories of daffodils are assigned, among a myriad of other daffo-facts I never knew I wanted to know. My favorite group is Division twelve. The Daffodil Society may call them "miscellaneous," but to me they are the bulb-world's most interesting misfit-oddballs. 



Daffodils planted in rolling drifts attracted Mom's attention. 



An amazing tulip variety - it was way too cold for tulips in the ground, but those forced in pots were absolutely gorgeous, especially when the pots encircled a tree in the walled garden.



A longer-than-essential stop in the garden gift shop gave us a chance to warm up after being out in unseasonably chilly air. A volunteer docent admitted that she was a solid block of ice after spending four hours on "practice duty" near the unheated swimming pool. We allowed that she could be a practice docent if we could be practice visitors. The pool was lovely to look at, but on this February afternoon, neither docent nor visitor expressed any desire to sneak an unauthorized dip.

Outside the gift shop's south door, these gorgeous blooms forced us to stop. How could we not admire such unusual blossoms. I'd never seen a daffodil of such delicate color and extraordinary petal configuration. This stunning pot of blooms well-deserved its special location.



A garden tag in the pot indicated the variety — uncertain about its true nature, growers allow it to bear two names: narcissus AND daffodil. Narcissus replete, struck me as understatement, given its astonishing color and double petal arrangement.

Altogether lovely afternoon, despite cold and grey. 
Filoli gets my vote for regular return visits as changing weather brings new blooms
 to color the house and fill garden plots.