14 Weeks at Filoli: Week 3, pruning!

We have been warned for three weeks that we will be doing pruning demonstrations RAIN OR SHINE, no matter how cold, so we all came prepared for the worst. But already the sun seemed visibly much higher, the angle of light greater, as I drove in. The smell of the breeze through an open window somewhere made it very tough to sit still through a long lecture on fruit tree diseases and production pruning methods. It was so gorgeous, a few of us snuck out onto the balcony of Mrs. Roth’s dressing room, adjacent to the classroom, to soak up the sunshine during our lunch break.

Finally, after learning everything I’d ever wanted to know–and quite a bit more–about coddling moth and peach tree borers, we finally got to walk out in the gardens! This private, back stage pass to Filoli before opening weekend was such a pleasure. It’s lovely to see a formal garden in all it’s obsessively clipped splendor, but to me the real interest lies in the *why* and *how* people maintain it that way. I mean, you have to be incredibly OCD to manage a garden with 100-year-old wisterias and miles of boxwood for “sameness” year after year. Although, as Alex Fernandez, the garden manager noted, “it’s the “wild” naturalistic areas that are the most challenging to maintain.”

Personally, I prefer a looser, more naturalistic approach, but I can only admire the horticultural knowledge and skill that goes into managing this historic garden with the long-term mindset of maintaining the design for generations to come.

Next week we’ll be doing some hands-on pruning ourselves, can’t wait!

One thought

  1. Pingback: 14 Weeks at Filoli: UC Master Gardener Program « Greenwood Landscape Design

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