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If this is your first visit, welcome! This site is devoted to my life experiences as a Filipino-American who immigrated from the Philippines to the United States in 1960. I came to the US as a graduate student when I was 26 years old. I am now in my early-80's and thanks God for his blessings, I have four successful and professional children and six grandchildren here in the US. My wife and I had been enjoying the snow bird lifestyle between US and Philippines after my retirement from USFDA in 2002. Please do not forget to read the latest national and International News in this site . I have also posted some of my favorite Filipino and American dishes and recipes in this site. Some of the photos and videos in this site, I do not own. However, I have no intention on infringing on your copyrights. Cheers!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Filoli Mansion and Gardens , Woodside, California

The Sunken Garden

If you live in Northern California and you love gardens, the Filoli Mansion and Gardens will be worth a visit. I love specially the rose gardens and the antique furnitures inside the mansion. It is about 25 miles south of San Francisco. Here's a video for your enjoyment.


Filoli is a country house set in 16 acres (6.5 ha) of formal gardens surrounded by 654 acres (265 ha) estate, located in Woodside, California, about 25 miles (40 km) south of San Francisco, at the southern end of Crystal Springs Lake, on the eastern slope of the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Filoli was built between 1915 and 1917 for William Bowers Bourn II and his wife, Agnes Moody Bourn. The principal designer, San Francisco architect Willis Polk, used a free Georgian style that incorporated the tiled roofs characteristic of California.] Polk had previously designed Bourn's houses in Grass Valley and on Webster Street in San Francisco. Bruce Porter was commissioned to collaborate with the Bourns in planning the gardens, which were laid out 1917-1922.


Filoli served as one of the Bourns' residences from 1917 to 1936. Mr. Bourn was president of the Spring Valley Water Company, which owned Crystal Springs Lake and the surrounding area. The name of the estate is an acronym formed by combining the first two letters from the key words of William Bourn's credo: "Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life."

Following the deaths of William and Agnes Bourn in 1936, the estate was sold to Mr. and Mrs. William P. Roth, owners of the Matson Navigation Company, in 1937. The Roth family built Filoli's botanic gardens. In 1975, Mrs. Roth donated the estate in its entirety to the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

The 16 acres (6.5 ha) of gardens are structured as a series of garden spaces that open one from another, providing long axial views, in which profuse naturalized plantings of hardy and annual plants contrast with lawns, paving, formal reflecting pools, framed in walls and clipped hedging (illustration, right) and punctuated by many narrowly columnar Irish yews, originally grown on the estate from cuttings. Filoli is an outstanding example of the Anglo-American gardening style that was pioneered at the end of the nineteenth century by Edwin Lutyens and Gertrude Jekyll in British gardens and exemplified in the U.S. by designs of Charles A. Platt and Beatrix Farrand.

Today, Filoli is open for public tours. Attractions include self-guided tours, guided tours, and nature hikes. The formal gardens include several areas, including the Wedding Place, especially designed for Berenice Roth's wedding. Lurline and Berenice both had their wedding receptions at Filoli, but Berenice's wedding is the only one that has ever taken place at Filoli. The largest gardens are working gardens for the production of cut flowers for the mansion and for the growing of some vegetables.

Filoli has served as the set for many Hollywood movies. Most famously, it is the mansion seen from the air in the opening credits of the television series Dynasty. The mansion's plush interiors were also featured in the first episodes of the series but were subsequently replicated on sound stages at the Fox Studios, Century City. However the entire mansion served as the setting for the 2006 CBS Television special Dynasty Reunion.

Among the many striking mature trees on the grounds are a row of immense Italian Stone Pines and scattered specimen native Coast Live Oaks over 250 years in age, the latter of which are the backdrop for Warren Beatty's outdoor scenes in Heaven Can Wait. The Filoli estate recently went through extensive rehabilitation and a new visitor center and café were built. San Francisco architecture firm, Architectural Resources Group designed the new visitor and education center as well as oversaw seismic strengthening of the historic main house. The new facility includes a 255 seat assembly room, main lobby orientation room, a café, offices and a catering kitchen.

Filoli was featured in Bob Vila's A&E Network production, Guide to Historic Homes of America, as well as in a November 1996 segment of A&E's America's Castles: Garden Estates, the latter being shown continuously at the visitor center.

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