Spend Mother’s Day at Filoli’s “Secret Garden”


This Mother’s Day weekend, Filoli mansion in Woodside will be filled with divine inspiration. Take your dearest mum to enjoy a higher level of art. Floral designers from around the Bay Area will be showcasing their fresh-cut creations for “The Secret Garden” exhibition. With dendrobium dangling on strings amid lush pots of peonies and pincushions with flare, anyone who loves green will find delight in each artistic interpretation.

A Bay Area design classic, the Filoli mansion sprawls its utter decadence across a 36,000-square-foot interior. With 16 acres of english garden and a 6.8-acre orchard on the 654-acre span, the picture is complete. Designer and architect Willis Polk led construction of the site from 1915 to 1917 for Mr. and Mrs. William Bowers Bourn, San Franciscans who wanted a “magnificent country estate.” (They acquired a fortune from gold and water, from the Crystal Springs Lake.) From 1917 through 1929, the gardens took their shape at the hands of Bruce Porter, a painter, sculptor, muralist, and landscape designer.

The homeowners passed not long after the idyllic place they’d commissioned became complete, but the subsequent owners christened it with recognition, a legacy that lives on today. In 1979 Filoli acquired the honor of Historic Site from the National Trust for Historic Preservation. In the gaudy excess of the eighties, the Dynasty television show was filmed here.

2011 Flower Show

Ever wondered about the name? Bourn christened it with his motto: “Fight for a just cause; Love your fellow man; Live a good life.”

If you crave minimalism and modernism in your homes, this is not your cup of tea. (And if you crave a cup of tea, you’re too late — the Mother’s Day brunch sells out months in advance.) But if you care to see some outrageously creative people demonstrate the wonders of fleeting-life flora, this is the place to be.

2011 Flower Show

May 11-13, 2012; 86 Cañada Road, Woodside; filoli.org

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