Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Early gardens at Filoli

The gardens at Filoli, while they have evolved over the years, have aged so wonderfully primarily because of the thought that went into their planning at the first construction of the house.The setting is amazing and was why the house was sited here; to take it all in. The gardens adjacent to the house are Georgian in design to fit in with the design of the house and bring the focus to the Santa Cruz Mountains.The planning of the gardens was actually done as a partnership between the Bourns and the artist, Bruce Porter and not with a landscape architect. Above you see a diagram showing the house (the grey U shape in the lower right hand corner) and the gardens. Thanks to ChipSF for the drawing which I took the liberty of coloring in to read clearly.
The house was sited so that the rear would have views of the mountains to the East while the entry was put on the west side which lacked a strong view. An olive grove was planted across from the house's entry court to hide a visible water tower in the distance, seen above.
The rear facade was filled with large french doors which open up onto a flat lawn. This rear garden was kept simple to keep the focus on the mountain views.You can see why: wow! I especially love the fog which you can see creeping through the valley.
Simple as it may be, small touches reside throughout this lawn which bring the vast space down to human scale.The elegant balastrade hides a ha-ha which protects the garden from a lot of the wild-life which prey on all of the greenery. Deer are a big problem. Even on our drive up to the estate in the early afternoon we passed many just waiting to sneak into the gardens!
This dining room door which connects to an enfilade through the hallways of the house lands on a patio where the family could have breakfast. The wall to the right hides the motor court and is the perfect backdrop for a collection of bonsai.
Creeping vines grow over the rear of the house shading the rooms and breaking up the vast expanse of brick.The garage has a clock tower modeled on one by the famous English architect, Christopher Wren. Much of the garden is considered a complete and rare English Renaissance garden.My favorite spot lies just south of the house. A formal garden is centered upon a reflecting pond and rose garden. A summer house, which I'll share with you later this week, is the perfect place to take tea and enjoy the garden.The focus of this more elaborate garden still remains the view of the mountains.
I loved this splayed row of trees which line the walled garden which also creates a shaded path from the summer house to the pool's changing rooms. The best of the gardens is yet to come: stay tuned!


Will @ Bright.Bazaar said...

The best of the gardens is yet to come?! Goodness me!

Anonymous said...

Beautiful!! Stefan your observations are right- on. When presented with such a view it is imperative the gardens remain simple.
Filoli is considered one of the best gardens in the US.
Thank you for letting us see it through your descerning eye.

Abby said...

That archway is A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!

ArchitectDesign™ said...

I think this part of the garden is very comfortable and connects the house to the outdoors and the view but isn't extraordinary in other than it's perfection in that regard. The gardens I'll show later this week will blow your socks off!
Abby - I didn't even mention that archway which I loved so much. DOH! It leads you into the gated garden and is original to the estate. I love the 'filoli' carved into the top keystone!

ChipSF said...

Stefan -
These shots of the gardens directly adjacent to the house, the upper terrace and sunken garden, capture some of the beautiful interplay between the views and the garden. I especially like the shot of the dining room door though; I don't think I'd noticed how graceful those railings were ever before. And coloring in the plan was a very good idea. Another way to appreciate the garden design is from the air. Here is the wikimapia link:


Can't wait for more!

Yuri-Alex Niso said...

This is absolutely breathtaking. I've never seen anything like this--at least not all on one estate. And there's more? You'd already had me sold on Filoli with the interior but this goes even beyond.

Kathy Appel, ASID said...

Thank you Stefan for sharing another extraordinary estate. This is another tour to add to my "bucket list".

Unknown said...

Ah - how I would love to take a tour through these gardens. Marvellous! Although I have seen lots of beautiful gardens in England I cannot get enough seeing those grandiose estates.
Greetings, Petra

Anonymous said...

I'm hooked!
Thanks for this.

Mary Swanson said...

I just toured the gardens of Filoli for the second time...ahhhh! with lots of photos again. I found out about it at least 15 years ago along with the gardens at Newton Vineyards (read of them 25 years ago!) My good fortune, though I live in Texas, my brother lives very close to Filoli. Until my request for a visit, he and his wife, non-gardeners, did not even know about their "neighbor". But since then have made it a tour destination for their guests. It also is wrapped in San Francisco history from the builder and owner.

cotedetexas said...

i love this series - esp. talk of the ha-ha. that always cracks me up.

ok - what's with the gorgeous photography? did you get a new camera? your pictures are absolutely stunning and so in focus. i'm green with envy!!!

Square with Flair said...

Your pictures and commentary of the San Francisco City Hall and of Filoli are fantastic. I really enjoyed it and will visit again.