Gardening on the couch: Hearst's San Simeon: The Gardens and The Land
As a child, he called it "the Ranch."
Those who lived in San Simeon, at the bottom of the hill, called it Hearst's Castle.
Its formal name was La Cuesta Encantada, "The Enchanted Hill.
It was the result of a collaboration between William Randolph Hearst and architect Julia Morgan that lasted 30 years.
In Hearst's San Simeon: The Gardens and The Land, author Victoria Kastner and photographer Victoria Garagliano focus on the formal and informal gardens from the beginning of their construction to the present. It is the story of one of California's unspoiled treasures.
The estate features two spectacular swimming pools, 120 acres of luxuriant gardens, and 450 square miles of pristine coastal landscape. From the 1920s through the 1940s, Hearst and actress Marion Davies hosted the country's elite here, encouraging them to enjoy the outdoors.
Kastner, San Simeon's historian, calls on original drawings by Morgan and previously unpublished correspondence between her and the wealthy publisher to tell the story of the meeting of two great minds - and great imaginations - in the mountains above the California coast.
Anyone who has seen the film "Citizen Kane" and recalls the forbidding Xanadu, which was to represent San Simeon in Orson Well's dark biopic of Hearst, will realize just how wrong he got it when they open the pages of this beautiful book.