Saturday, July 3, 2010

Container Gardening

For a side door at Filoli which is rarely used, I loved this idea of lining the staircase with overflowing terracotta containers. Maybe this is an idea for our own houses to bring some life to abandoned entries? I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend in this gorgeous weather and have a great 4th of July!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Filoli Gardens

Are you tired of Filoli yet? I don't think I could ever be, but maybe I've devoted a little too much time to this magnificent estate. I'll wrap up the gardens in this post and we'll start fresh next week! Beyond the formal gardens lie an oasis of more informal plantings; Acres of amazing little outdoor rooms, each one more amazing than the last. If the structure for the grounds was laid by the Bourns, the Roths added the finishing touches (Mrs. Roth was an avid gardener) .The Summer house is incorporated into the side of the walled garden which contains the most sheltered area. Remember nothing is safe out here from all of the hungry animals!
The wedding place within the walled garden was where the only wedding at Filoli was held. It was built for Berenice Roth and I think it's such a shame they don't open it up to others. Don't you want to get married here?
The following pictures barely begin to explain how breathtaking the rose garden is. After stepping through the last arch of the walled garden, every person on the tour gasped.
A profusion of color and textures...
Where are you even supposed to look or smell! Roses, lavender and other herbs overwhelm the senses.
I really think this is what heaven looks like. Not shown in the pictures are the gorgeous mountain views beyond.I love these wild jumbled rose bushes the best.Does anyone know what these striped roses are; Sandra? They had a heavenly scent.
The gardens get progressively informal the further you are from the house. These wild flowers were the last part of the gardens before entering the nature preserve. Notice all of the fencing. I hope you enjoyed these glimpses of Filoli through my eyes (and camera)!
Thanks to ChipSF for the drawings of the gardens from the time of the Roths.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Filoli Summer House

The most magical spot at Filoli is probably the Summe House, also known as the tea house or more commonly known as a garden pavilion. Little accessory structures like this area always the jewel of any estate; Just think of the follies of English Country Homes.
Sitting between the walled garden and the formal garden adjoining the house which I showed the other day HERE, the small structure has views from its one room of all areas of the estate: the house, the formal gardens, the pool area, the walled garden and last but not least the gorgeous mountain view.The room is floored with 3 types of marble in a graphic grid pattern and paneled with ornate boiseries. Designed by Arthur Brown Jr., this is the same formality seen at his well known SF City Hall (which I'll post about next week) but on a MUCH smaller scale. He made elegant grandeur cozy; Just who wouldn't want to have tea here?These lovely sconces were originally intended for the stair well in the house, but fit in nicely here too adding to the formality of the space.This column above is a copy of the Satyr plant stand found in Pompeii and was originally in the Bourn's SF house, as was the marble table in the center of the room.
The comfortable wicker chairs and profusion of plants bring life to the space. I can imagine it being a lovely cool spot on a hot day because of all the marble. Had it been seen empty, it might appear to be a very sunny mausoleum!
Some closeups of the very elegant woodwork. Someone worked very hard getting everything to meet JUST SO.
You can't miss the summer house in the gardens and before our guide took us in, I think every person in the group managed to ask if we would see inside! Tomorrow -more of the gardens.

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!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Remember Fonthill?

Lest you think I've forgotten my love of Fonthill in the face of new house museums, visit Kathy's blog post HERE, answering questions in my comments section about the naming of the estate. Happy Monday!