Recognized as one of the finest remaining country estates of the early 20th century, Filoli is a remarkable 654–acre property, including the 36,000 square foot Georgian country house and spectacular 16–acre English Renaissance garden.Filoli is a historic site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation and is dedicated to the preservation, interpretation and stewardship of the cultural traditions and natural history of this country estate for public education and enjoyment. Filoli was built between 1915 and 1917 for William Bowers Bourn II, owner of one of California’s richest gold mines. 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.” The Mansion is known for being used in the opening scene of DYNASTY and the movies, Heaven Can Wait, George of the Jungle and The Game. Special thanks to KOPTERVISION
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Music: A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Felix Mendelssohn
Filoli is a country house set in 16 acres of formal gardens surrounded by a 654-acre estate, located in Woodside, California, about 25 miles south of San Francisco, at the southern end of Crystal Springs Lake, on the eastern slope of the Santa Cruz Mountains. Now owned by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Filoli is open to the public. The site is both a California Historical Landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The 16 acres (6.5 ha) of gardens are structured as a series of formally enclosed spaces framed within brick walls and clipped hedges, which open one from another, providing long axial views, in which profuse naturalized plantings of hardy and annual plants contrast with lawns, brick and gravel paths, formal reflecting pools, framed in walls and clipped hedging in box, holly, laurel and yew (illustration, right) and punctuated by massive terracotta pots and many narrowly columnar Irish yews, originally grown on the estate from cuttings. Filoli is an outstanding example of the Anglo-American gardening style reintroducing Italian formality, 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.
The gardens extend southeast of the house running up an easy slope. The sunken garden is the first of four main rooms; the rectangular pool at its center that houses hardy and tropical water lilies is flanked by twin panels of lawn and two olive trees, within the hedge of clipped Japanese yew. The walled garden consists of a series of enclosures, including the rose window design outlined in clipped box
After it was acquired by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1975, Filoli has been 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.