Woodside February 25, 2015

Woodside’s Filoli Garden in Bloom

Filoli, the historic country estate in Woodside, opened its doors earlier this month for the 2015 visitor season.

The National Trust for Historic Preservation site occupies 654 acres and includes a 36,000-square-foot Georgian country house and 16-acre English Renaissance garden.

Christina Syrett, who oversees Filoli’s public relations and media, said the estate is poised to embark on its centennial year.

“The house was built between 1915 and 1917, so Filoli is celebrating from 2015 to 2017,” she said.

Special events marking the century include evening hours in the summer, a “Step Back in Time” event July 14 and a “Farm to Table” dinner Sept. 24. A sculpture exhibit in the garden, a “big hit” last summer, according to Syrett, returns for a second year.

In addition to annual favorites such as the Flower Show Mother’s Day weekend and the Holiday Traditions boutique that runs for the nine days after Thanksgiving, Filoli hosts summer jazz concerts and a number of classes for children, adults and families – Art, Decorative Art, Food, Photography, Horticulture, Nature Education, Botanical Art and Floral Design – and offers popular Floral Design and Botanical Art certificate programs.

Syrett recommends that first-time visitors take a docent-led tour of the house and garden and call ahead for reservations.

“Afterward, just sit in the garden and relax,” she added. “Then check out the Filoli herbs, vinegars, rubs and teas in the Garden Shop.”

Repeat visitors should take a class, go on a sunset hike or attend a new event or a summer jazz concert, Syrett said.

She also suggested visiting the “What’s Blooming” box on Filoli’s website for a list of garden stars.

Filoli’s Head of Horticulture Jim Salyards said they are ahead of the game this year because of the unseasonably warm and dry weather in January following December’s rainy conditions.

“In the next six weeks, there will be masses of daffodils, tulips and hyacinths,” he said. “Shrubs and vines that will bloom include wisteria, tree peonies, camellias and rhododendrons.”

Salyards highlighted new floral features at the estate, including the mix of peony-flowered tulips in the beds and pots around the Dining Room Terrace and the double pink tulips in the Garden House beds.

“There are also a handful of totally new bulb varieties around the garden,” he added.

Following is a roundup of spring events, classes and exhibitions.


• “Birds of America: Audubon Collection,” through March 22. The special collection of prints by ornithologist and painter John James Audubon is from Filoli’s Permanent Collection. It is the first time all 30 of the 1964 edition prints will be on display together at Filoli. The collection documents six now-extinct American birds.

• 17th Annual Botanical Art Exhibition, March 24 through June 7. With its formal garden, heirloom orchard and nature preserve, Filoli is a fitting venue for the historical art form that has rendered plants throughout history and from around the world. The display combines the observational skills of the scientist with the sensibility of the artist.

An artists’ reception is scheduled 5-7 p.m. March 26. Artists will be on hand to share their botanical art knowledge and experiences, and curators will offer insight and present awards. Admission is free, but reservations are required by March 20. To register, email

Horticulture classes

Filoli offers a wide range of horticulture classes for the home gardener and those in the profession. Offerings include Hydrangea Care, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturday; Pruning Demystified, 1:30-3:30 p.m. Saturday; Veggie Garden Basics, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. March 25 or 28; and Camellia Care, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. April 22.

Classes cost $40 members, $50 nonmembers.

Garden walks

Camellia Walks, 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. Thursdays and Saturdays through March 21. Filoli has an extensive collection of camellias, some older than 70 years. For much of the year, the deep, glossy, green foliage of Filoli’s camellias provides lush backdrops and cooling canopies throughout the garden. During the months of January through March, when they are at their peak, shrubs and small trees burst with stunning displays in all shades of red, white and pink. The Camellia Walk guide will explain the characteristics of the different plants, their fragrances, where they fit in the landscape and the history of camellias at Filoli.

Cost is $10 members, $20 nonmembers. The fee includes admission to the house and garden.

Photography and art classes

• Seasons of Filoli Photography Series, Spring Workshop, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. March 20 and 27. Instructors teach traditional photographic techniques, one building block at a time, including focus, metering, exposure, dealing with harsh light, High Dynamic Range method, depth of field, aperture and shooting mode.

Cost is $120 members, $150 nonmmembers.

• iPhone Photography I, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 28 or 3:30-6:30 p.m. May 21. Participants will learn how to get the most out of their iPhone cameras, put their new skills to work in Filoli’s garden, discover how to download and edit images and become familiar with editing apps.

Cost is $70 members, $85 nonmembers.

• The Big Picture from Start to Finish, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 14. The workshop will cover basics such as setting up a camera, taking a good portrait or garden shot, using a flash and shooting in low light. Learn how to get the photos off the camera and what to do with them next: cards, calendars, etc.

Cost is $85 members, $100 nonmembers.

• iPad Art I, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. March 7 or April 18. Instructor Caroline Mustard will teach students how to use their iPads as an art medium. Prior to class, participants must download the Paper by FiftyThree and Procreate apps.

Cost is $75 members, $90 nonmembers.

• Other offerings include Landscapes in the Nature Preserve, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. April 24 and 25; Postcards and Note Cards from Start to Finish, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. May 1 and 2; Drawing Basics I, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday and March 5, 12, 19; Designing for Success: Composition for Artists, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. March 13 and 14; Oil Painting for Beginners, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. March 13 and 14; Watercolor Workshop: Amazing White Flowers, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. April 10 and 11; and Oil Painting Workshops: Plein Air in the Garden, 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. May 1 and 2.

Filoli is located at 30 Cañada Road in Woodside. Hours are 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Sundays through Oct. 25. Tickets are $20 adults, $17 seniors 65 & older, $10 children ages 5-17 and free for children 4 and under.

For more information, call 364-8300, ext. 508, or visit