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Field Trip: Filoli Estate and Gardens

Over the weekend, I was in Northern California and visited Filoli Estate and Gardens. Before I take you on a tour of this glorious place, here’s a little background:

Filoli is a vibrant landscape of the Bay Area, situated on the unceded ancestral lands of the Ramaytush Ohlone, in Woodside, California. The estate boasts 654 acres of beauty nestled along the slopes of California’s coastal range. Originally built as a private residence in 1917, Filoli was opened to the public in 1975 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The property is considered one of the finest remaining country estates of the 20th century, featuring a 54,000+ square-foot Georgian revival-style mansion, 16 acres of exquisite English Renaissance gardens, a 6.8-acre Gentleman’s Orchard, and hundreds of acres of Natural Lands with 5 distinct ecosystems and a 1-mile Estate Trail.

from the website

They were celebrating Pride Month by decking out the mansion with rainbow colors

Feathers in rainbow colors adorned the house’s massive doors.

The house was impressive with its high ceilings and chandeliers, but we were there to see the gardens. We knew we were in for a treat when we saw goats eating down the brush (for fire control) at the entrance to the property.

Goats manage the overgrowth in parts of the estate under old oak trees.

Our journey began in the manicured walled gardens, where you can imagine Gatsby-style parties once occurred here. An olive orchard to the left is currently being restored to its former glory after years of drought stress.

Sweeping lawns along side a pool greeted us

Next we walked through a rose-covered arch into the rose garden. Fragrance filled the air where colors abound.

The rose garden felt like it went on for miles. It was enclosed behind hedges and was surrounded by a complement of other flowers. We shot this from under the central pergola.
Lean in an smell the roses along any pathway.

Next the cutting garden, with lavender and other fragrant blossoms, seemed to go on forever. A sun dial on a pedestal draws the eye down the path.

This is just one of the formal gardens, along with a cutting garden, that kept the house filled with flowers.

But let’s face it. We were there for the vegetables. The edible garden was through another iron gate, surrounded by hedges on all sides.

A walk-in enclosure protected rows of cane berries from birds and other critters. Chicken wire keeps out bigger animals (but not rats or mice).
Tomato plants were just starting to fill out their stakes in the row garden. The patio outside the caretaker’s cottage in the background gave guests and staff a place to eat lunch and enjoy the garden’s delights.
Rows of lettuces, Swiss chard, beets and more were eye catching. It made us jealous for more space to grow. Drip irrigation delivers water efficiently to each row.

The last stop on our journey was, of course, the gift shop. Garden-themed delights await you there.

Exit through the gift shop. Of course.

Learn more about Filoli and plan a visit when you are in Woodside, California (near Palo Alto and Silicone Valley). We spent a couple hours but could easily have taken more time to enjoy this beautiful estate and all its glory.

Learn more about the Filoli Estate and Gardens here.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Paul Boulet

    Looks amazing. Hoping someday to see it

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