Link to the Past – Local Historic Landscapes

Roses beside a timeless white picket fence

Northern California is a treasure trove of historic Landscape Architecture, from the 1,000 acres of Golden Gate Park to Woodside’s Filoli Gardens. While the cities have changed with time, these places remain as charming today as when they were first created. We believe there is nothing more inspiring for a designer, historian, or nature lover than a visit to a historic garden. If you need a local getaway this Winter, keep these spots in mind.

Morcom Rose Garden – Oakland

Shade garden with one dead shrub

Coming up on its 90th birthday, the Morcom Rose Garden is a hidden gem nestled in the hills of Old Oakland. The garden is a Traditional style with buildings and forms that also reflect the Art Deco movement popular in the 1930’s. Designed by Landscape Architect Arthur Cobbledick, the garden features an amphitheater, cascading fountain, central pond, and geometric layout of hundreds of rose varieties.

Shade garden with one dead shrub

Paying a visit: The Rose Garden is always free and open to the public during daylight hours. It’s true that Winter isn’t the best time to see roses, but the garden is still exquisite, with contemplative spots to sit all year round. You may even be lucky to see some wild turkeys, though the famous bird ‘Gerald’ (who menaced garden visitors last year leading to a temporary closure) has been fortunately relocated.

Timeless Tuscan fountain in a lavender garden

Filoli, also known as the Bourn-Roth Estate, was built by William Bowers Bourn as his family home in 1915. The 16 acres of formal gardens were completed by Landscape Designer Bruce Porter in 1929. Incredible in all seasons, the garden is a vast network of varied spaces that call for getting wonderfully lost. Centenarian trees, like this Camperdown Elm in the photo above, appear like trees in a fairy tale. Personally, we feel that the beauty of Winter trees is beyond compare, so this time of year is perfect for enjoying this exquisite place.

Paying a Visit:Filoli reopened on October 1st. While the garden is open to the public, they observe a maximum daily capacity and recommend purchasing tickets online. Cost is $25 for an adult, with senior and child discounts. To learn more, visit their website.

Golden Gate Park – San Francisco

Timeless Tuscan fountain in a lavender garden

One of the oldest and most impressive works of Landscape Architecture in the Bay Area is of course Golden Gate Park. Designed by Engineer William Hammond Hall, Horticulturist John McLaren, and Architect Calvert Vaux, the park spans over 1,000 acres in the heart of the city. Worth a trip any time, the park itself is free and expansive. It’s easy to spend a whole day wandering around in the trees! On a cold day, we recommend the Conservatory of Flowers. Opened in 1879, it was the first building to grace the park, and it stands today as one of the oldest municipal conservatories in the country. Just stepping inside, you are transported to a variety of warmer climates, from cloud forest to dense tropical jungle. Orchids dangle from the ceiling and tropical water plants float on the ponds.

Paying a Visit to the Conservatory: Also reopened as of October 1st, the Conservatory is open at 25% capacity. Tickets range from $3-$12. Visit their website for more information.

The park is also home to many newer sections. If you’re looking for a quiet and serene place off the beaten path, visit the Aids Memorial Grove and surroundings. Dedicated in 1996, this more Contemporary landscape is stunning in its design and in the way it holds space. Designed collaboratively and built mostly by volunteers, the Grove received well-earned recognition with the Rudy Bruner Silver Award for Urban Excellence in 1999. Visit and stay awhile among the redwoods or the ferns. We think you’ll be glad you did.

Timeless Tuscan fountain in a lavender garden

We want to wish all of our clients a happy, healthy Thanksgiving and start to the holiday season. As always, we are thankful this time of year for our amazing community. We could not do what we love most without you. Thank you.

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