There is nothing like a couple of hours in a garden to bring me and my psyche back into balance. With the struggles of getting escrows closed (of which I could write a full book!), the positive stress of buying myself a condo in town (yes, I am moving soon – that will take many hours of relaxation as well as work) and doing far too much volunteer work these days (P.O.E., Rose Society, Artist Profile……the list goes on), I needed to achieve some balance. My sister was in Palo Alto for some tests at Stanford and I took the opportunity to drive down and visit with her. She had the morning before her appointments and asked “What is something fun we can do?” Knowing that she loves architecture and gardens, we had to go to Filoli.
Filoli was built between 1915 and 1917 by William Bowers Bourn II. Mr. Bourn had the benefit of a gold mine in the Sierras and built his estate on 654 acres in the Crystal Springs Reservoir area of Woodside. This is the last of the many country estates built after the 1906 earthquake that still remains with its original acreage. The second owners, Mr. and Mrs. William P. Roth, purchased the estate in 1936 and gifted it to the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1975 upon the death of Mrs. Roth. Most people of my generation recognize the pond above as the fight scene between Alexis and Crystal on Dynasty. The history of the home is one of lavish parties. The name Filoli derives from Mr. Bourn’s motto – Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life.
The home is spectacular. If you have an opportunity to visit, there is a visitors center that was having an art exhibit, a coffee shop that had tasty food (I had a mushroom soup that was yummy) and of course, a gift shop. In addition to having silk flowers and items that would enhance any traditional decor, there is a small nursery that sells some of the plants found within the garden. It is truly a remarkable place.
Over 1300 volunteers work to keep the garden at its best as well as work in the shop, cafe and the information area. The property is open from February to October – Tuesday through Sunday. Be sure to check their website for hours. www.filoli.org.
While the house is spectacular, my interest always goes to the gardens. For one thing, gardens change season to season and sometimes day to day. This garden is known for the wisteria and towering yews. There is an extensive rose garden but as rose gardens go, it is nothing to brag about. (Okay, I admit to being a rose garden snob!) There were some lovely Double Delights and Just Joeys. Just Joey is one of my favorite roses – the flowers are huge and the color is a bit more coral than this picture conveys.
Springtime is wonderful in the garden. Not all the roses are in bloom but the rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias are in full regalia. Not that a garden with acres is anywhere close to my little plot I will be getting with my condo but I did get some great ideas as to placing potted plants with permanent installations. I love pansies – easy to grow, long lasting, a memory of my childhood. Pansies were filling beds, clustered in pots and complementing the burgundy Japanese maples.
Today is to be a day of renewal and relaxation for me. I have not written in this blog as much as I would like as I consider it a luxury to take the time and share my joys. But I have decided to take another thought process. This is what keeps me sane. And even though it is Sunday morning, I have handled three calls from folks looking to purchase property. I am inspired as I bring up my smiling pansies. What a fabulous area we live in.