A Pleasant Outing to Filoli

When I have visitors from out of town, I often take them to see Filoli. "Located 30 miles south of San Francisco, Filoli is an historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and one of the finest remaining country estates of the early 20th century." Of course, I mostly go to see the gardens, but the house is interesting as well, and the many docents available to answer questions make the visit very enjoyable.

This time, I brought an out of town guest and an old friend who'd been to the garden before. When we got out of the car, we were immediately enchanted by the play of light in the olive groves near the entrance. The shade of these mature trees looks so inviting, but we had only an hour (Filoli closes at 3:30) and walked on.

The first area where we lingered was the rose gardens. There are several rose gardens, and two had passed the first flush, but the third was stunning. We looked around amazed, smelling the heady fragrance.

Even more impressive to me was the border to the left of the roses.

Lavenders, Nicotinia, and other perennials combined in an interplay of colors, shapes, and textures. I always dream that one day I'll strike that balance between overplanting and showing off my mulch. Filoli has a team of gardeners, assisted by a small army of volunteers, and they clearly know.

Just a delight! And even the foilage colors harmonized and added to the pleasing effect.

Moving on, we arrived at the knot garden, which was clearly at its best.

This part of the garden is justly famous, and I've see pictures of it in several publications about gardens. The plants appear to form a pattern, one type climbing over the other.

The effect comes from the foilage color, though some of the perennials and shrubs that were used for this garden also bloom.

From there, we walked past the daffodil field, which shows a football field sized display of daffodils in spring, into the Camelia garden, where 20-foot Camelia and Rhododendron, together with ferns and woodland understory plants, invite for a rest.

After we'd enjoyed the shade, and a few late-blooming Camelias and Rhododendrons, we walked past the sunken garden, which was also being replanted, and were struck by the beautiful color combination of this clematis and yellow rose. My friend loves roses and so enjoyed the display.

We then took a brief tour of the house and enjoyed the flower arrangements and the feeling of having a glance at a time that's not so long gone and seems so distant. Then we walked back past the main entrance, where I took a photo of a Salvia clevlandii that had already struck me on the way in. That plant, and a beautiful Madrone, add to the sense of place for me. Those plants root Filoli in California, adding a pinch of salvia smell to the fragrance of all the different roses.

I was sorry that I can't bring my out of town guest back for the fruit tasting in the fall, the amazing luncheon in December, or the daffodils, but we all enjoyed Filoli on this beautiful June day, and each of us found special plants and places to treasure and exclaim about.


Country Mouse said…
Lovely pictures there, Mouse - beautiful borders. I love the creamy yellow rose against the soft purple background. Been too long since I've visited Filoli. I like the ballroom in the big house, and the walled garden areas.
Jan said…
Wow, wonderful photos of the sights! I especially love all of the salvia and other taller flowers swaying and blowing in the breeze. It reminds me of a cottage garden. If only I had more sun!!!!!
Alice Joyce said…
I do believe that's Austin's 'Graham Thomas' rose, a truly excellent rose with a heavenly scent! Lovely tour, Cheers, Alice
At first the gardens to me look dense and almost un-California-ey; but looking closely shows that the plantings appear to be the less water-hoggish that we're seeing even more of these days...lavenders, santolinas(?), some sages... Nice how you can use the same palette to make gardens that say different things.