Exploring Filoli with Sue 8.23.2007

28 08 2007

This past Thursday, Sue and I visited Filoli, a private property of the National Trust for Historic Preservations, in Woodside, California, just thirty miles south of San Francisco. Jeff was there last month and highly recommended it. The 654-acre estate has a 36,000 square foot historic house and sixteen acres of formal gardens. Filoli was built for Mr. and Mrs. William Bowers Bourn II and his wife, Agnes, in 1917. Mr. Bourn arrived at the unusual name Filoli by combining the first two letters from the key words of his credo: “Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life.

The Gardens grandeur was once shown in the opening scene of the popular TV series, Dynasty, and in movies such as Heaven Can Wait and The Joy Luck Club.

I had seen the photo of the knot garden (on the first page of Filoli’s web site) by photographer Saxon Holt (http://www.saxonholt.com/) a few years ago and never knew where it was shot until now. The best time to visit the gardens, according to a volunteer we spoke with, is in late April/early May. That’s the time when the knot garden is at its peak, and the garden is blooming with all the Dutch-inspired spring flowers. From late April to June, 500 rose bushes come into bloom. Their garden shop is one of the best (and most extensive) we’ve visited (and you know how we love garden shops). The weather was perfect (80 degrees or so), but then, almost every day in California is like that!

The garden is a succession of garden rooms, terraces, lawns, and pools. There is a large cutting garden, myriad fruit trees (ripening pears and apples abound, and Sue found some on the ground for us to sample), a cutting garden, and an extensive rose garden that would have Debbi smitten in no time. We were a little surprised at how much was still in bloom in this part of the country, particularly when our own gardens are waning in the recent summer heat. Go to the site here: http://www.filoli.org/garden_gen.html and peruse their gardener’s reference sheets. If you’re ever in San Francisco, it’s an easy half-hour drive to this beautiful estate.

© 2007 Cindy Dyer, All rights reserved.




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