Letter from William Randolph Hearst to Julia Morgan, February 28, 1921

William Randolph Hearst   1921-02-28   New York, New York

(Letterhead: New York American) February 28, 1921 Dear Miss Morgan: I telegraphed you general approval of the planting scheme. I would like to suggest that the gardener be careful not to put delicate palms in places where they will be exposed to the full force of those storms that sweep hill-top. They are likely to be whipped to pieces if he does. These delicate palms, if they are used at all, ought to be put in protected spots. I think some heavy palms of the date palm variety could be put around the rear high terraces of house A, perhaps up along on each side of these terraces. I would also like here as I have written you an abundance of bourganvilla running over the higher walls of these terraces. There may be some other climbing vines like the bourganvilla that would go well with them but I am disposed to think that a mass of bourganvilla, more or less relieved, would be the best. I note that in the plans the seasonal planting is done in certain definite locations opposite or under the windows, etc. This is a very good idea, and I approve of it, but I think that taller flowers, like roses, hollyhocks, phlox, etc., might be planted along the borders of the walks and perhaps along the sides of the big drive. The wall side of the big drive may need some decoration of climbing plants like the ivy-geranium, and the other side some decoration of roses and hollyhocks, etc. If this is not a good place for them along the borders of the smaller walks may be a good place. Perhaps it would be well to have a rose garden in connection with the main house at some point; for instance, at the south side of the main house where we proposed having the tea terraces. I have telegraphed Mr. Fairchild to make immediate plans for bringing water from the high springs by the way of our hill, and when this is done we will have ample water for irrigation. There is one thing I cam across in studying the plans and diagrams of house C. On the west or terrace side of this house there are two long curved stairways that come down on each side of the little pool. These stairways at their base spread out into wide steps in which make a further descent of four steps. But these curved stairways do not lead directly to the platform of the pool, nor do they lead directly anywhere. In fact, if you want to get to the pool you have to go down steps and back steps to get there or else walk along a single step-- which is rather awkward. The same thing must be done if you want to go down the lowest flight of central steps to the curved terrace below. It seems to that these two curved flights of steps on either side of the pool should terminate in a definite, railed terrace, which would take the place of the final four wide steps which now run in scallops all the way across. This terrace would be on a level with the platform of the pool, and when you landed from the curved flights of steps you would land on this terrace and walk on that level into the pool terrace, if you desired to do so; and you would walk from the middle of that terrace down the flight of central steps, if you desired to do go further down to the retaining wall. This could be a more creative treatment also, but the main point is that it would be a much more practical treatment, and would do away with what I think is an awkward, inconvenient treatment. I am sorry not to have seen this before, but this correction in the plan or in the construction, if it has been constructed, should certainly be made. I am sending you the plans with marks in blue pencil to show where I think the terrace should be made. Sincerely, s/ W R Hearst

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