the famous mansion and 654 acre estate with formal garden is
located about 25 miles south of San Francisco on the eastern slope
of the Santa Cruz Mountains in Woodside, California. The house,
garden and grounds are one of the most elaborately embel-lished
estates in the United States.
was built for Mr. and Mrs. Bourn, prominent San Franciscans whose
chief source of wealth was the Empire Mine, a hard-rock gold mine
in Grass Valley, California. Mr. Bourn was also owner and
president of the Spring Valley Water Company comprising Crystal
Springs Lake and surrounding lands, which are now part of the San
Francisco Water Department. Mr. Bourn selected the southern end of
Crystal Springs Lake as the site for his estate. Mr. Bourn chose
his longtime friend, the prominent San Francisco architect Willis
Polk, as the principal designer for the house. He arrived at the
unusual name Filoli by combining the first two letters from the
key words of his credo: "Fight for a just cause, love
your fellow man, live a good life".*
of Filoli began in 1915 and the Bourns moved into the house in
1917; Filoli served as one of their residences from 1917 to 1936.
Bruce Porter, who was known for his garden designs incorpo-rating
parterres, terraces, lawns and pools, was enlisted to help the
Bourns plan the layout of the extensive formal garden, which was
built between 1917 and 1921. Both Mr. and Mrs. Bourn died in 1936,
and in 1937 the estate was sold to Mr. and Mrs. William P. Roth
who continued to maintain and enrich the estate. In 1975, Mrs.
Roth donated the estate in its entirety to the National Trust for
Historic Preservation for the enjoyment and inspiration of future
current mastermind of the Filoli gardens is Lucy Tolmach, director
of horticulture, who knew and worked with the Roth family.
is open for public tours and nature hikes. Several formal gardens
on the property are largely maintained by local volunteers.
the garden very formal appearance, it looks that the owners fiercely
loved to line-up the plants.