A popular wedding spot at Filoli.

photo by: Gretchine Nievarez

April 13, 2020

Garden Glory: A Virtual Tour of Four National Trust Historic Sites

For our third installment of the National Trust Historic Sites virtual tour series, we visit four estates that feature spectacular landscapes and gardens, Oatlands, Brucemore, Chesterwood, and Filoli (pictured above). While each of these sites has its own significant history, it’s an abundance of blooms that bring these places together. People who have been able to visit them in the spring and summer seasons often return again and again to bask in the serenity that only trees, shrubs, flowers, fountains, statuary, and garden paths can bring.

First, we visit Oatlands in northern Virginia and Brucemore in Cedar Rapids, Iowa.

Next we travel to Chesterwood in the Berkshires of Massachusetts and Filoli, a sprawling estate in northern California. Chesterwood is not only a National Trust Historic Site, as home and studio to the famed sculptor Daniel Chester French, the property is also part of the Historic Artists' Homes and Studios portfolio of sites. At 654 acres, the sheer size of Filoli makes it a complex site to maintain, so staff there have enlisted hundreds of volunteers who assist with a wide range of day-to-day activities including horticulture, botanical arts, and nature education.

We hope you enjoyed our tour of National Trust Historic Sites landscapes and that spring blossoms in your neighborhood are reminder that, as the song says, “to everything . . . there is a season.” Join me next week for the Architectural Traditions of National Trust Historic Sites.

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Dennis Hockman is editor in chief of Preservation magazine. He’s lived in historic apartments and houses all over the United States and knows that all old buildings have stories to tell if you care to find them.

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