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This past weekend me and my husband went to central California to attend my cousin’s wedding. Before we headed back down to Southern California, we visited the beautiful Hearst Castle. The castle itself is an incredible sight, but today I want to tell you all about the gardens of Hearst Castle.
Hearst Castle is located in beautiful San Simeon in central California. Its about a few hours drive north of Los Angeles/Orange County. Its a bit of a drive but well worth it, especially if you stay overnight.
William Randolph Hearst is the creator of Hearst Castle. His father, George Hearst, bought 40,000 acres of land to use as a cattle ranch in the late 1800s. With the help of architect Julia Morgan, Hearst had his La Cuesta Encantada, or Enchanted Hill, built.
It took almost 30 years for Morgan and Hearst to build what is now known as Hearst Castle. Hearst died before seeing the completion of his magnificent home on a hill.
Hearst’s castle has been left as it was when he last built onto it. You can tell which parts of this mansion are unfinished by comparing the details on one side of the mammoth building to the next side. It is still a site to behold, despite the unfinished parts.
This monster of a house consists of over 100 rooms, 3 levels, a theater, a billiards room and over 100 acres of terraces, walkways, two pools, and the gardens. I could go into more details about the history of Hearst Castle, but will focus on the incredible gardens for this post. This is a garden blog, after all.
The gardens of Hearst Castle are to die for, to say the least. They surround the castle and include a variety of succulents, fruit trees, flowers and other plants that thrive in a Mediterranean climate. The plants grown here are as diverse as the structure of the castle.
The first plants I noticed while on our tour were the many roses decorating the garden. These were in an array of colors, although I was delighted to see that most were growing in my favorite color, pink. As you can see by the pictures, different plants were located in certain areas of the gardens.
While walking to the indoor Roman pool, located under the tennis courts, we walked by an area where several types of fuchsias grew. We have a small hanging fuchsia plant on our balcony, so I was impressed with the variety and sizes of the fuchsias here at Hearst Castle.
Something else that makes this garden unique and beautiful are the many sculptures and other artwork scattered throughout the grounds.
Hearst was a successful publisher, filmmaker and art collector. He was so well known as an art collector that art dealers around the world knew of Hearst.
His beautiful pieces of art are found all over the castle, as well as in the gardens. Some of Hearst’s art dates back to 3500 years during the ancient Egyptian civilization. Most of his collection is Mediterranean and European art.
Marble statues dot the gardens and add an artistic touch to the already lavish residence. A 500 year old Italian marble well sits untouched near one of the terraces. Bronze statues decorate the tops of several highly decorated fountains overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
Several marble grave markers and reliefs to the deceased can also be found among the many plants in the garden.
A Gardeners Paradise
Hearst Castle began as several cottages overlooking the gardens and ocean. The guest cottages are lavish on their own and surrounded by a variety of flora from all over.
After our tour of the castle we were free to walk the grounds of the castle and we took full advantage of that. Roses, fruit trees, fuchsias, all types of succulents, palm trees and many other types of plants could be found as we walked around the castle.
We spent an hour after our tour, roaming the outside of the castle and the gardens. The many stairs and benches provided places to rest for the many visitors.
Whether you appreciate gardens, art, or both, Hearst Castle is worth a visit. The drive up to San Simeon was a trip in itself and it was wonderful to see the landscape change on our way up. I hope you enjoyed this quick tour of the gardens of Hearst Castle.
Let me know what your thoughts about this tour below. Also, feel free to ask any questions about the gardens and I will do my best to answer them. This was my third trip to the castle but the only one I remember well!