Filoli tells the story of water in California with new exhibit, plant displays, and experiences

Feature Image Succulent


Woodside, Calif., May 11, 2022– Filoli is a vibrant landscape of the Bay Area situated on the unceded ancestral lands of the Ramaytush Ohlone. Today, this estate serves as a community cultural center and announces Blue Gold: The Power & Privilege of Water, a property-wide exhibition and experience that will last throughout the summer and fall season.

While the Bay Area was originally financed by gold, our state has an even more valuable resource: Water. California’s blue gold. “With water usage and conservation on the minds of many California visitors and locals alike, one of our frequently asked questions has become ‘what is Filoli doing about the drought?’”, says Jim Salyards, Filoli’s Director of Horticulture. “As we look to the future of sustainable gardening at Filoli, we consider climates from around the globe, including our own California native plants.”

In the 16-acre English Renaissance style Garden, Filoli horticulturists have envisioned a succulent and low water plant display to spark conversation about eco-friendly gardening. Visitors can trace the California water story from the history of Filoli’s construction into today’s explorations of lawn reduction, sustainable plant palettes, and irrigation innovations. “Filoli visitors will see that you don’t have to compromise beauty to use water-conscious plants,” Says Jim. “We hope our visitors will be inspired and excited to do the same in their own homes and gardens.”
In the House, visitors learn how capitalists gained wealth by controlling access to water as San Francisco’s population exploded in the wake of the Gold Rush. Hear stories of the past and participate in a debate about the future of water; visitors are invited to paint the color of water at an easel under Filoli’s iconic Ballroom murals, gamble for water rights in the Gentlemen’s Lounge, and pick up a newspaper in the Reception Room to join the 1908 public debate over the Hetch Hetchy project.
“Water systems shaped the Bay Area’s geographic and population evolution – and controlling water was a path to power and wealth for Filoli’s families. Today, water is more precious than ever,” says Willa Brock, Filoli’s Manager of Interpretation & Learning Experiences. “The changing climate and landscape is one that any Californian can relate to, and our most valuable resource is at the heart of it; this story is one for the past, present, and future of Filoli that we are eager to share with the Bay Area and beyond.”

Blue Gold: The Power & Privilege of Water opens June 2, 2022, and runs through November 7, 2022. Please contact to learn more or schedule a media visit.

Admission & Hours

Tickets are on sale now! All Filoli visitors can experience Blue Gold with general admission June 2 – September 22, 2022. Filoli is open every day from 10am – 5pm. The House is open from 11am – 4:30pm. Advanced tickets are required and can be purchased at

Admission Prices
Adult: $25
Senior (65+): $22
Student, Teacher, & Military: $20
Children (5-17): $15
Children under 5: Free
Filoli Members: Free, must reserve online

About Filoli

Filoli is a vibrant landscape of the Bay Area, situated on the unceded ancestral lands of the Ramaytush Ohlone, in Woodside, California. The estate boasts 654 acres of beauty nestled along the slopes of California’s coastal range. Originally built as a private residence in 1917, Filoli was opened to the public in 1977 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and site of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. The property is considered one of the finest remaining country estates of the 20th century, featuring a 54,000+ square-foot Georgian revival-style mansion, 16 acres of exquisite English Renaissance gardens, a 6.8-acre Gentleman’s Orchard, and hundreds of acres of Natural Lands with 5 distinct ecosystems and a 1-mile Estate Trail. Filoli is dedicated to connecting our rich history with a vibrant future through beauty, nature and shared stories, so that one day all people will honor nature, value unique experiences, and appreciate beauty in everyday life. For more information about Filoli, visit

Filoli Historic House & Garden
86 Cañada Road
Woodside, CA 94062
(650) 364-8300