The Mother's Day Flower Show held at Filoli -- the picturesque and historic 654-acre estate in Woodside -- has got to be the most magnificent event of its kind to occur in the Bay Area. This year's bash, the 24th annual, runs May 10-13 with the theme of "The Secret Garden: Discover the Magic."

Here you will ooh and aah over showy blossoms, garden exhibits, table settings and floral vignettes. As you stroll about the gardens and inspect the lavish manse, you'll be reminded why so many folks choose to reside in Northern California.

Tom Rogers, the curator of Filoli's collections for more than 22 years, will be honored at the opening reception May 10. Unlike many other historic houses, Filoli is not solely a repository of splendid objects; Rogers, himself a living treasure, brought the mansion to life. During his long tenure, museum professionals, journalists and academicians here and abroad came to know the recently retired Rogers. He shall always remain the epitome of a passionate leader, crusader for the decorative arts and a top-notch scholar.

Special teas are planned for May 11 and 12 (two seatings, 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m.). Mother's Day Champagne Brunches will be held May 13 (three seatings, 10:30 a.m., noon and 1:30 p.m.). Preordered boxed lunches are available on select days.


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Tickets are always in demand and sell out quickly. Order at www.filoli.org or call 650-364-8300, ext. 508, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays. Parking is free. All funds raised help preserve Filoli for future generations.

Old West antiques

If you're looking for a rootin'-tootin' good time, then head to scenic Nevada County (a three-hour drive from these parts) for the 13th annual Grass Valley Old West Antique Show on May 11-12.

Here you'll find many Gold Rush era-related artifacts, firearms, gambling and saloon items, country store and barbershop objects, plus Native American works of art. Bay Area collectors consider this a top-tier event.

I also know people who head to this show for another reason -- the fine vittles. It's where to-die-for barbecue and home-made ice cream are dished up to crowds.

Maybe we'll run into one another at the Nevada County Fairgrounds at 11228 McCourtney Road in Grass Valley. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 11 and 9 a.m.-4 p.m. May 12. Admission: $7. Details: 530-272-3243.

Royal Doulton event

All collectors of Royal Doulton are invited to attend the May 19 meeting of the Royal Doulton Collector's Club. The revered English company traces its roots to 1815 and may be best-known for its figurines, character jugs, art pottery and dinnerware.

Well-known antiques guru Anita Venezia will be on hand to deliver a program. And you'll have a chance to both ogle and purchase Royal Doulton items being sold.

Join in on the fun at the Lafayette Orinda Presbyterian Church, Davies Room, 49 Knox Drive in Lafayette. Hours: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Admission is free. Details: 925-686-6974 or royaldoultonwest@yahoo.com.

Back to Goat Hill

I can't think of any antiques show held in our neck of the woods that is as eagerly awaited as Goat Hill. The spring fling occurs May 19-20.

Goat Hill is the venue for folks enamored with a style of decorating referred to as "shabby chic," "country," "primitive," "repurposed," "French," even "farmhouse." It really doesn't matter what you call this romantic way of decorating, as long as you know it's hot!

Another reason throngs attend this show is the idyllic setting -- a working goat farm tucked away in the Santa Cruz Mountains. The 52 vendors hail from up and down the West Coast and will be scattered about the property under great trees, in tents or around the porch of a cheery white-washed home.

I'll be on hand 11 a.m.-1 p.m. May 19 to hobnob with readers. Let's compare notes. Of course, I'll want to see your purchases!

The fair, organized by interior designer Cyndi Garofalo, will be held at Yoder's Goat Farm, 24915 Soquel-Old San Jose Highway, Los Gatos. Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. May 19 and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. May 20. Admission: $5 adults, children under 12 free. No pets allowed. Parking is at Loma Prieta School on Summit Road, with free shuttle service. Details: 408-221-5054, www.goathillfair.com.

Contact Steven Wayne Yvaska at steve.yvaska@sbcglobal.net or at 750 Ridder Park Drive, San Jose, CA 95190.