Take a moment to stop and smell the roses--here are some lovely and unique gardens that you can visit in Silicon Valley.
86 Cañada Road, Woodside, (650) 364-8300
Filoli is a historic mansion and one of the finest remaining Silicon Valley country estates of the early 20th century. The home includes eclectic formal gardens, combined several styles into one. The 654-acre estate is a California State Historic Landmark and listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Admission: Adults $20; Seniors $17; Students $10; Children 4 & under are free
21000 Big Basin Way, Saratoga
An 18-acre Japanese garden and estate featuring multi-tiered waterfalls, koi ponds, strolling gardens, and historic structures that evoke Japan's ancient civilization. Hakone Gardens is protected on the National Registry of Historic Places and it's one of the oldest Japanese gardens in the Western Hemisphere. Admission: Adults $10; Seniors/students $8; Children 4 & under are free. City of Saratoga residents get $2 off admission.
1431 Waverley St, Palo Alto, (650) 329-1356
The Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden is a 2.5-acre plot encompassing herb and rose gardens and a historic home. The garden is open daily from dawn to dusk. Admission to the garden is free, but to tour the home you have to be part of an organized group tour. This year their Spring Tour, the largest annual event is April 29th & 30th. Get tickets here.
Stanford University, Quarry Rd, Stanford
A 30,000 square foot botanic garden specializing in cacti and succulents. The historic site was built for 19th-Century railroad tycoon and Stanford University founder, Leland Stanford. The garden was first planted between 1880 and 1883. Admission to the garden is free and it's open daily.
In Guadalupe River Park, near the intersection of Spring & Taylor Streets
A collection of almost 3,000 varieties of heritage, antique and modern roses and over 3,600 individual plants. For each class of roses, the oldest varieties are planted toward the center so you can "walk through rose history" by starting at the center of the garden and walking out. Admission to the garden is free and it's open daily from dawn to dusk.
San Jose Municipal Rose Garden
At Naglee Ave & Dana Ave, San Jose
A 5.5 acre public garden with 189 varieties and 3,500 individual plants. The lovely garden was once voted "America's Best Rose Garden" by the American Rose Society. Admission to the garden is free and it's open daily from 8 am to one-half hour after sunset.
Japanese Friendship Garden Regional Park
Kelley Park, 1300 Senter Rd, San Jose
A historic, Japanese-inspired garden built back in October 1965. The 6-acre garden features several koi ponds, streams, and Japanese-inspired landscaping modeled on the Korakuen Garden in Okayama, Japan (one of San Jose's sister cities). Admission to the garden is free but parking in the lot adjacent the garden is $6/car.