Filoli Gardens in Summer time


Filoli estate and gardens, Woodside

View to the tea garden room



 Filoli Gardens

Filoli Gardens in Woodside, California is the perfect place to spend a summer morning to enjoy this historic home and its many beautiful garden rooms. The estate made famous from the television series ‘Dynasty’ showed various parts of the home including the grand bricked entryway, the tea pavilion and and occasionally the swimming pool made famous with the leading lady- diva fights into the pool.  What you’ll get to tour at the estate are all the the outstanding garden rooms along with the furnished rooms of the manor. The gardens are immaculate and well maintained with the help of a slew of over 1200 garden volunteers working at Filoli. There are so many photo-worthy areas of this estate to spend some time enjoying a walk outdoors and photographing some amazing flower blooms, the well maintained gardens and the beautiful interiors of the manor.


Filoli estate and gardens, Woodside

Flowering trees in the side garden


Filoli estate and gardens, Woodside

Swimming pool framed with summer annuals

Touring the gardens in the morning


The garden tour begins first in the gardens while the blooms are still fresh and colorful in the morning light. The grounds in the early morning are nice and cool and its a great time to take photographs of the garden because the light is still good before the mid-day time frame washes out all the beautiful colors in the garden. It’s not too crowded with the morning tour with ample space to wander and listen to the docent speak. She engages her audience about Filoli’s history, its illustrious owners and the extensive volunteer base required to keep garden looking beautiful and presentable. We entered into the first garden room which is the sunken garden facing the garden pavilion and pond. A stand of delicate purple Allium pops out with their huge purple globes dotting the walled  border, along with the red Salvia blooms and Cotinus coggygria in the background, a beautiful vignette isn’t it?


Filoli estate and gardens, Woodside



Filoli estate and gardens, Woodside

Last stand of Iris blooms


A small and functional kitchen garden is maintained year-round on the property to grow fruits and vegetables for the café. The gardeners take pride in producing organic produce fresh from the garden and serving just ripe and healthy produce exclusively to the café guests and production of other finished goods for sale in the gift store.


Filoli estate and gardens, Woodside

Kitchen garden



Filoli estate and gardens, Woodside

Kitchen garden at Filoli



The beautiful herb knot garden is in full bloom at summertime, adding color to the intricate knot patterns of the various herb borders.  Colorful blooms of santolina, thyme and lavender add layered colors and scented blooms to this section of the garden….just stunning!


Filoli estate and gardens, Woodside

Herb and knot garden

The rose garden

Filoli gardens has an extensive rose garden collection with every rose and experimental variety perfectly displayed and well-cared for. No doubt, the organic treatment and over 1200 Filoli volunteers help to make the beds impeccable. (not all gardeners though). The summer displays of roses were out in full glory when we visited with perfectly manicured topiary beds to contain the jewel like reds, yellows, orange and creamy white varieties of roses, too many to name. Perfect beds with trimmed boxwood edges allow you to see the roses closely and even take unlimited whiffs of wonderful scents. You can see that the rose gardens are the main showcase garden at Filoli. Rounded and lined boxed topiary and trimmed green walls add form and texture to the rose garden, and create a green base to make each rose plant shine into a stained glass effect which is what the owners wanted in this garden.

One area of the walled garden had beautiful grass walkways lined with topped Irish yews, pansies and spring
flowers creating a nice vista down to the natural meadow. Just beyond is one of my favorite rooms was the ornate herb and knot garden. The colors were just starting to come out with the various herbs that were blooming. A detailed shot of the various herbs in this garden including Santolina, barberry, lavender and rosemary, and thyme. All the masses of colors are so beautiful clumped in large clusters and the red barberry interspersed to introduce the knotting effects.

Filoli estate and gardens, Woodside

Formal rose garden

Filoli estate and gardens, Woodside

Formal rose garden

Filoli estate and gardens, Woodside

Rose collections

Filoli estate and gardens, Woodside

Rose beds and topiary

The garden pavilion

The garden pavilion over looking the pond was built to just the right scale mimicking the grand brick home. The English renaissance style with the formal gardens is not so common in Bay Area gardens, but it works very well in this naturally preserved environment. A colorful spring bouquet inside the garden pavilion filled with flowers from the cutting gardens. Many of the interior rooms of the manor are decorated with gorgeous floral displays made from experienced floral volunteers that have worked at Filoli for many years.


Filoli estate and gardens, Woodside

Tea garden room at Filoli



Filoli estate and gardens, Woodside

Sunken garden at Filoli

The estate interiors

There is a separate docent tour of the home interiors and you can also tour the rooms at your own pace.  The one thing noticeable about this estate is that it feels comfortable and lived in like a country estate should feel like. The rooms are nicely decorated with beautiful classic furniture matching the home’s Georgian style architecture.

It’s wonderful to see a well run organization with lots of support at Filoli. It truly takes a village of volunteers to make this estate shine and look perfect to its original condition.  With over 1200 volunteers working as docents, gardeners and florists, store and café workers, the experience of visiting this home and garden in its wonderful condition is a true testament to how effective volunteering and supporting a local institution is a worthwhile venture.


Filoli estate and gardens, Woodside

Dining room at Filoli





Filoli estate and gardens, Woodside

Looking out into the gardens




Filoli estate and gardens, Woodside

One of many beautiful chandeliers

Filoli estate and gardens, Woodside

Beautiful floral displays in every room.



It’s wonderful to visit Filoli at different times of the year to see changes in the garden and different colors. Summer time is one of the best timeframes to see the annual and perennial blooms, the gorgeous roses and transition to fall plantings. I wrote a post on how to take beautiful pictures of nature and flowers and how to make them pop, take a look at this post if you want to pick up a few more tips to improve on your nature and landscape photography.


If you go

Location: 86 Canada Road, Woodside (30 miles south of San Francisco)

Hours are 10-3:30pm Tues – Saturday, Sunday 11-3:30

Admission $15 for adults, $12 Seniors $5 students

Check out the Filoli website here



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29 Responses to Filoli Gardens in Summer time

  1. Sodding Toronto October 6, 2016 at 4:02 pm #

    Lots of great pictures of different types of gardens. Great Read. Enjoyed it thoroughly!

  2. Planting perennials will give you a relatively maintenance-free garden, while annuals will need to be replanted each year. Whatever your design, creating your landscape will require some time and muscle but once completed will be a source of pleasure year round.

  3. Renuka September 9, 2013 at 4:27 am #

    Can’t believe…it’s incredibly beautiful!

  4. Louisette September 9, 2013 at 4:05 am #

    Garden thea with wonderfull flowers , is great place!

  5. Michele {Malaysian Meanders} September 8, 2013 at 5:50 am #

    Is it weird that until I read this, I thought that Dynasty was filmed in Colorado. If I had to think about it, I would have guessed that the exteriors were shot somewhere around LA, not all they way up near San Francisco. I’d love to visit this place some time, both because I was a big Dynasty fan but also because the entire estate looks quite lovely. I’d love to have a garden like that!

    • Noel September 8, 2013 at 6:45 am #

      It’s TV so anything can be facked…the filming was mostly LA in a lot but the exterior shots sporadically filmed at the location just for atmosphere…they do that with a lot of public sites in TV land.

  6. Sara Chapman in Seattle USA September 7, 2013 at 7:58 am #

    Ravishing tour. Hope to see this in person some day. Thanks for such a comprehensive look at the gardens. The light was gorgeous!

  7. Mary {The World Is A Book} September 6, 2013 at 7:42 am #

    I’ve always thought the Dynasty set was in a sound stage in LA and the backdrop was a Beverly Hills mansion. What a beautiful garden and great to know its interesting ties to TV history. I can spend hours strolling this garden. I love the variety. Kudos to all those volunteers who made this place stand out.

    • Noel September 6, 2013 at 7:46 am #

      Most of the TV work was a on a soundstage, they usually just do the shots of the actual place as atmosphere for intro shots or special episodes like most of the TV sitcoms…it’s great visiting the place for real!

  8. Marisol@TravelingSolemates September 6, 2013 at 6:01 am #

    What a gorgeous garden. I’d certainly love to spend a morning here. The garden and knot garden looks so magical. This place looks like a photographer’s delight.

    • Noel September 6, 2013 at 8:28 am #

      These places are jewels especially when lovingly maintained by so many wonderful volunteers…go visit!

  9. Kim,USA September 6, 2013 at 3:03 am #

    Wow these place is beautiful! Love it!

    Thank you for joining Water World Wednesday

    • Noel September 6, 2013 at 8:30 am #

      thanks for commenting and also hosting Kim!

  10. Seana - Sydney, Kids, Food + Travel September 5, 2013 at 10:16 pm #

    Hello there, how beautiful, a lovely bit of armchair travelling for this Sydneysider.

  11. Patti September 5, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

    These photos are stunning, I especially like the last one – the colors are so vibrant. Filoli is really something, isn’t it?!

  12. travelnwrite September 5, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

    I love garden tours – in real life and in the blogosphere. Beautiful photos, as always, Noel!

  13. Cathy Sweeney September 5, 2013 at 9:51 am #

    I’ve lived just a few miles from Filoi for over 20 years. Can you believe that I visited for the first time a few years ago? I was there in early spring so the flowers had not bloomed. It was still a beautiful place, but I’d love to see it as you did. Great photos.

    • Noel September 5, 2013 at 10:57 am #

      Yes you should go back regulary, it’s different every season and beautiful to see all the changes Cathy

  14. Irene September 5, 2013 at 9:05 am #

    Where is Woodside? What a lovely place to vist~

    • Noel September 5, 2013 at 9:09 am #

      Woodside is just south of the reservoir at hwy 280 and Half Moon Bay exit, 30 mins south of San Francisco.

  15. InsideJourneys September 5, 2013 at 4:40 am #

    Wow, wow, wow, what formal gardens! Living or working here must be quite a treat.
    I remember Dynasty. I didn’t realize it was filmed in California or that the estate was so lush. Lovely.

  16. Leigh McAdam (@hikebiketravel) September 5, 2013 at 4:13 am #

    I’m a frustrated gardener here in Calgary – part climate and part lack of time these days- but I can sure appreciate the time and effort that has gone onto building these gardens. They are beautiful and your first photo in particular is stunning! Hard to imagine the number of hours that go into keeping these gardens so beautiful.

  17. Johanna September 4, 2013 at 10:55 pm #

    What some amazing gardens, Noel. I love the colours and your picture of the rose is my favourite.

  18. muzachan September 4, 2013 at 8:32 pm #

    Beautiful garden 🙂

  19. Marilyn Armstrong September 4, 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    Those colors. So rich!

  20. Mike September 4, 2013 at 5:18 pm #

    Noel, this pictures are gorgeous as always. But, I hadn’t heard Woodside in years!!! And that was awesome bringing back that ‘Dynasty’ memory. Yes, I absolutely watched it way back when 🙂

  21. Gemma Wiseman September 4, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    Such colourful gardens so beautifully designed. Love the reflections in the water in the first photo.

  22. NinaOhman September 4, 2013 at 4:50 am #

    Great pictures I feel I will be living soon to this paradise….

  23. Harsha September 3, 2013 at 11:10 pm #

    Gardens full of Flowers..What a great place to be.. 🙂

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