I needed some serious garden inspiration for a side yard that I’ve been working on since the beginning of summer and was hoping to get some by visiting the gardens at Filoli Historic House and Gardens located in Woodside, California. At the time of our visit in July, a colorful glass art exhibition was being displayed throughout the garden. The exhibits change throughout the year and you can find out about the exhibits that will coincide with your visit on their website. Interestingly, the name Filoli was formed by taking the first two letters from the key words of Mr. Bourn’s credo (The Bourns were the original owners of Filoli):
“Fight for a just cause. Love your fellow man. Live a good life.”
There is a whole history of how this estate was built in 1917 for the Bourns, then sold to another family, and finally put under the care of a local non-profit (see website for more details). The sixteen acres that the house and gardens are located on have been open to the public since 1976, and I am grateful that we were able to visit this beautifully preserved place. Walking around the gardens and the house, you get a sense of the great care that has been given to maintain a place like this. The volunteers and staff are knowledgable and happy to answer any questions you may have. There is also a place to sit and enjoy some food at the Quail’s Nest Café, located at the back of the Visitor Education Center.
We started by purchasing our entry wristbands at the Visitor and Education Center. The tickets were $22 for adults and $11 for children 5-17 years (other discounts are mentioned on their website). Keep in mind there is much to do and see in the gardens and estate, and the money goes to maintaining this large estate.
Overall, we had a very nice visit, leisurely exploring the gardens, stopping to get a snack at the café, and then finishing with a quick self-guided tour of the house. The pictures only show a fraction of what there is to see. It’s completely up to you how you want to spend your time here. If we didn’t have to deal with the summer heat we definitely would have stayed longer in the gardens, but even so we were able to find shady spots to take a quick rest and continue on. We got what we came for. We left Filoli inspired and motivated to get going on our own garden, our minds brimming with ideas and potential projects to create something beautiful like they did at Filoli.