Time and Temp


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• African daisies
• California Poppy
• Calendula
• Calla Lily
• Narcissus
• Lavander
• Ivy geranium
• Mexican Sage
• Pride of Madera
• Lantana
• Society garlic
• Wild geranium


• Baby arugula
• Onion and garlic greens
• Thyme
• Rhubarb
• Parsley
• Strawberries


Hearst Castle Greenhouse Restoration

What a lucky bunch of gardeners we are! Fifteen of the San Luis Obispo Master Gardeners were taken by van to “Camp Hill”, hilltop home of Hearst Castle and guest houses. The intent of the tour was to show us progress of the renovation of the two original greenhouses used by Hearst employees.

The Lord & Burnham steel “kits” were shipped from New York to San Simeon in the 1930’s and assembled on the hill to be used for propagation of plants in the formal gardens. Steel beams on the dilapidated structures were disassembled and repositioned and the bald cypress siding restored to its original condition. New cement walkways were poured inside the greenhouses and new work benches installed.

Lord & Burnam's 1930 Greenhouse

These greenhouses were not the ornate variety you might expect of Mr. Hearst, but utilitarian and functional; appropriate for his “ranch”. I saw these greenhouses in the early 2000’s when serving as a garden docent at the castle. I was convinced at the time that these structures were beyond repair. I was pleased to see that they had been brought back to life and were serving castle staff once again.

Mr. Redig went beyond the greenhouse tour and guided us through the grounds of the castle, pointing out the latest endeavors to restore the landscape to its original design. Many of the older trees have died and replacements of all plants are required to be of the variety specified in Mr. Hearst’s original landscape design of the 30’s. We strolled through some of the rooms of Casa del Mar, and saw the “hidden terrace”, sealed and undiscovered for years when the main terrace and entrance had been extended and expanded.

This was a real experience for the Master Gardeners of San Luis Obispo County. We’re lucky to have this resource so available to us.

3 comments to Hearst Castle Greenhouse Restoration

  • Carlos

    There is a tree by the indoor pool on the outside going down the stairs to the entrance that gives very smelly flowers the tree is tall do you have the name of this tree? Roman pool the tree is by where the buses pick up just outside I believe it is the only large tree on this area thank you very much

  • Lee

    Not sure which tree you are talking about Carlos but I will try to find out. I’ll post it here.

  • Lee

    Carlos. Don’t know if this will get to you but found a little information on plantings near the Roman Pool at the Hearst Castle that have fragrant flowers at times during the year. There is a large Southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora) with large leathery leaves and large cream-colored flowers. There are Viburnums that are very large shrubs with dark-green leaves and clusters of very fragrant white flowers. There are also some waxleaf privet (ligustrum japonicum) in containers. Perhaps if you Google these you will recognize the plant you saw (and smelled). Good luck.

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