Timing is everything when visiting a flower garden. Each season in Northern California brings fresh new blooms. Different colors, textures, and moods are created by nature in slow motion over days, weeks, months. Buds appear, and then from one day to the next, sudden bursts of color appear in the garden. In due time, the colorful blooms fade way. The visitor to Filoli Gardens is wise to check in advance to see when peak blooms are expected.
I must admit that I’m not always wise and drop in on gardens with no idea of what blooms I might find. So as usual, on a whim, I visited Filoli in mid-July with a good friend. Our plan for the afternoon included lunch on the patio at the Filoli Café, followed by a self-guided tour of the formal gardens.
With a self-guided tour booklet in hand, we began our tour at the Sunken Garden. We then headed towards the Walled Garden to explore the formal and cutting gardens. For our good luck, many of the gardens were in magnificent peak bloom.
Bold orange, yellow, deep pink and blue colors invigorated the Sunken, Walled, and Dutch gardens. The muted colors of the Knot and Kitchen Gardens, by comparison, looked dusty and worn. My favorite colors of the day were orange and yellow, the colors of joy and energy. Some days we need to draw energy from nature, other days we need nature to calm us. That day, it was a lively boost from nature I needed.
On our way back towards the mansion, we sat under the shade of the pavilion at the swimming pool. It was a welcome break from the summer heat. Our tour of the gardens ended at the Lower Terrace of the mansion. Visiting this spectacular estate was well-worth the adult admission fee of $20.00.
We had an interesting experience at Filoli. When in the formal gardens; our quiet thoughts were interrupted by the loud and raucous call of a Peacock. An irritating sound I must say. But, he was a beauty. This noisy but stunning blue creature crossed our path as we were leaving Filoli.
According to animal symbolism, when a Peacock shows up, he’s there to help us own our power, our voice, and show off our true colors. Whether this is true, it was a delight to see him. Encountering the Peacock was the perfect way to end our afternoon at Filoli.
When it comes to gardens, pictures are truly worth a thousand words. I’ve created a few photo collages to give you a glimpse of the beauty of the Filoli estate. Enjoy.
A Garden Jewel
The Sunken Garden
The Knot and Kitchen Gardens
Hydrangeas in the Dutch Garden
The Walled Garden
The Lower Terrace
A Peacock at the Visitor & Education Center
Filoli, hidden in the foothills of Woodside, California, was created as a grand country estate for the wealthy Bourn family in the early 1900s. The name “Filoli” comes from the first two letters of “FIght- LOve-LIve.” Bourn’s credo was “To fight for a just cause; to love your fellow man; to live a good life.” These are worthy words to live by.
The estate features a 20th-century Georgian mansion, 16 acres of remarkable formal gardens, a Café and Gift Shop, and docent-led hikes through the estate’s nature preserve. Filoli is a not-for-profit organization that is open to the public thanks to approximately 1,200 volunteers and financial support obtained through fundraising, grants, and donations.
Filoli website: www.filoli.org