Community - May 19, 2010

Woodside garden party, concert benefit symphony

by Jane Knoerle

The garden party and twilight concert fundraiser for the San Francisco Symphony was such a hit two years ago that the symphony's Mid-Peninsula League is orchestrating a repeat performance.

For years, the league's signature event was "Symphony in Flowers," a garden tour held every other year. The difficulties of staffing and finding homeowners willing to open their gardens to the public led members to look for a new format, which has proved to be a winner.

This year's benefit, still called "Symphony in Flowers," will be held Saturday, June 5, at the Woodside estate of Kathy and Robert Jaunich. Guests will stroll the lawns of the 6.5-acre estate, enjoy appetizers and wine, and attend one of two concerts featuring musicians from the San Francisco Symphony. The Peninsula All Star Jazz Band will provide pre-concert entertainment.

Plein air painters will add to the party atmosphere and master gardeners will be located throughout the gardens to answer questions.

Mary Lou Johnson and Lois Lin are co-chairs of the party with Marcia and John Goldman as honorary chairs. Mr. Goldman is president of the San Francisco Symphony's board of governors.

The garden party will take place from 4 to 7 p.m. Tickets are $125 per person, by advance reservation only. For tickets, call 968-4596.

All proceeds benefit the San Francisco Symphony and its outreach programs. The Mid-Peninsula League sponsors a program at Costano School in East Palo Alto that offers music education and concert experiences to 300 children.

Garden stroll

Partygoers will have a bit of deja vu when they visit the Jaunichs' home in Woodside. Their garden was one of three featured in the "Symphony in Flowers" garden tour in 2006. More than six landscapes acres will greet visitors as they enter through iron gates, adorned with flying birds, that were designed by the owners.

Guests will park their cars in a meadow that features a large metal horse sculpture by Joseph Fichter.

The Jaunichs bought the estate in 1992. The house on the property is a replica of the former owners' home in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. The guesthouse across the pool is a "mirror" building of the house.

The gardens, originally designed by Jack Stafford, were renovated by landscape architect Todd R. Cole of Suzman and Cole Design in San Francisco. One of the first changes Mr. Cole made was to remove a 15-foot-high oleander hedge extending from the guest house to the main residence, thereby opening up the gardens' grand vistas.

Ms. Jaunich is a hands-on gardener who has chosen and supervised planting all the new trees and bushes on the property. "Ever since we moved here, we've done nothing but plant trees." The many kinds of trees include magnolia, crepe myrtle, olive, red bud, gingko, loquat, guava, fig and citrus.

The gardens were awarded the California Landscape Contractors Association State President's Trophy in 2002.

When re-designing the garden, Ms. Jaunich says she often visited Filoli, admiring its series of garden rooms that create a sense of intimacy. In her gardens she has a little sitting area in the rock garden and a swing and fountain in the shade garden. She and her granddaughters enjoy tea parties in the "pixie" garden, which also boasts a giant sand box

There are two greenhouses and two lath houses. "We used to grow only orchids in the greenhouses, but they are so much trouble and expense that now we also grow other plants and seedlings," she says.

There is a thriving vegetable garden of lettuce, tomatoes, herbs, eggplant, peppers, onions, leeks and more. "In the summer we eat from it every night," she says. Netting helps discourage the birds, while the family black lab patrols the property to shoo away rabbits and squirrels.

The hen house is down from a dozen chicks to one occupant: "Big Red," who lays an occasional egg. "The grandchildren love her," says Ms. Jaunich.

A gardener who likes "to get my hands dirty," Kathy Jaunich is out in her gardens daily. She also enjoys visiting other people's gardens on tour and browsing garden centers. "I go all over. I cruise them all," she says.


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