Hillsborough garden boasts contrasts in themes

Jessa Wu is comfortable with duality. Even her two favorite colors, blue and orange, are at opposite ends of the spectrum.

With two distinct ecosystems and types of terrain on her Hillsborough property, Wu has created gardens that combine contrasting elements into a flowing entity that is serene and spectacular.

Old oaks with massive, overarching branches form a cool canopy above the hilly back and side acreage. The foliage is green and verdant. Blue and white hydrangeas flourish with azaleas, rhododendrons, magnolias and young maple trees that Wu planted herself.

The terrain is steep. Boxwood hedges and low-lying ferns brush against rocky winding paths that are resonant of bygone days.

The sunny, expansive, grassy plateau at the rear of the residence leads to a panoply of flowering perennials and vivid color. Red geraniums in pots wink at hydrangeas under a purple-blue wisteria trellis.

Blooming roses in pinks, yellows, whites, oranges, peaches and reds march in file to shield a sea-blue rectangular pool, then jump to a hillock on the left side of the property, vibrant against the green lawns, where they flow into pastel peonies. Wu planted everything.

Duality makes sense in Wu’s life. Originally from Hong Kong, she and her husband Thomas, who is the chairman, president and CEO of United Commercial Bank, moved to the Bay Area and embraced the California lifestyle. He is on the board of governors of the San Francisco Symphony. She chaired the Patron’s Dinner for the Symphony’s Opening Night Gala and, for four years, the Symphony’s Chinese New Year Celebration. Wu is active in two other boards: Project Hope and San Francisco City College Foundation.

Her two-tiered lifestyle extends to other areas as well. Wu is “very serious” about two sports: competitive badminton and golf. She has two pets, a chow chow named Samba and a cockapoo named Teddy. She attended the Olympics in Beijing, but was happy to get home.

“We enjoy life here,” she says. “Look at the sky. It’s so blue, so perfect. Also so bright. You’ll never find a place like here.”

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