FiLoLi is predominately a gorgeous botanical garden with an onsite estate designed and built by the Bourn family. The estate and gardens have a hefty history of wealth and entrepreneurial spirit, making it the spectacular piece of history which the public can enjoy today. Mr. Bourn was known mainly for his investment in the first gas light company and the Empire Minea hard rock gold mine in Grass Valley, among many others. The history is extensive, far beyond the brief summary I have provided. I would absolutely recommend a tour of the FiLoLi estate of you are able. But one final questions remains… why FiLoLi? Mr. Bourn chose this name meaning FIGHT-LOVE-LIVE, fight for a just cause, love your fellow man, and live a good life.
Before entering any of the gardens, take a tour of the house to really understand the story behind the property. It’s a real treat to sneak a glimpse of how the Bourn family lived. After touring this phenomenal home, you’ll want to spend a good chunk of time meandering through the gardens. I will admit, as an avid lover of all things botanical, the gardens are really what I came to this destination for. You will not be let down. The Bourn’s intent on creating this garden was to make an ever-changing, piece of art for many future generations to enjoy, and they did just that.
You’ll notice the terraces around the house are a Georgian style, with brick, U-shaped arches and plentiful vines. These significantly differ from the English style in which the more enclosed gardens represent. The rose garden is spectacular for the majority of the late spring, summer, and early fall months. It’s ripe with happy bees and other pollinators and leads directly into a very unique garden known as a “knot garden.” Various herbs and bushes are planted in the formation of symbolic knots. An absolute highlight that sets the whole scene in the sunken garden. Boasting a gorgeous pond and statue feature, surrounding by lush blooms. You will hardly feel like you’re in California at all as you stroll through this piece of the estate.
Even if you’re not interested in the history behind the family, this is surely a spot to visit for those who share a passion for horticulture, nature, photography, or just beauty in general. End your trip around the estate by visiting their delicious, on-site café and garden shop. Oh… and if you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the peacock who often wanders the garden and café area. Relax, enjoy, and take a look through my lens.