The gardens of the Villa Filice cover nearly one-third acre including the grand "Sentry Rock," a three-story boulder that is reputed to have been an Indian lookout in past centuries. At the entrance to the garden, stone stairs and decomposed granite walkways wind through mature plantings of day lilies, deep blue ajuga, puffs of pink cloud and blue agapanthus. Trees include mature native oaks, palms, dwarf magnolias and fruitless olives.

On the north side of the villa, stone walls and tall moss covered boulders form the backdrop of the intimate outdoor dining area with a working stone fireplace, pizza oven and barbeque pit. Plantings here include oaks, dogwood, bird of paradise, rhodendrons, lilies, ferns and native ginger.

The villa kitchen is served by an herb garden, a yielding brown turkey fig and prolific meyer lemon trees. The entire garden is completely organic (Chez Panisse has used the mint on several occasions). No pesticides or herbicides have been used in the eight years of the present owners' residence. Every area of the garden is served by a timed and zoned watering system.

The "Secret Garden," named by visiting children, emerges as one passes between two boulders on a narrow path to find native lilacs, a cork oak, forest pansy redbud and a magnificent specimen Magnolia Soulangiana.

The back garden plantings frame the driveway from The Alameda to the detached three-car garage, one bay of which has been converted to a potting shed. One of the villa's half baths is a garden powder room that serves the needs of guests at outside entertainments.

Listed by Gene Millstein
(510) 527-8822

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