About Mission Hills Nursery

About Mission Hills Nursery – San Diego’s oldest garden center, a combination of culture and class. A ‘Can Do Attitude’ by our staff, allows our customers to expand their gardening dreams.

Mission Hills Nursery has refined the garden shopping, we make it easy, fun, and educational. We want you to succeed in the garden.

Visit our location in the heart of Mission Hills and take a stroll, discover paradise in the middle of the city. You’ll enjoy the most complete family operated garden center in San Diego. Roses, landscape shrubs, trees, flowers galore for every spot in your garden, interior plants, pottery, and a selection of organic fertilizer, insecticides and soils that will make your garden thrive. We’ve become the Organic Gardening Center of San Diego. Eco-Friendly Landscapes are a great part of our services with Eco-Gardeners of San Diego you can’t go wrong. Check us out today!

Mission Hills Nursery was founded in 1910 by the ‘Mother of Balboa Park’ Kate Sessions. Kate Sessions began it, and it was just a house with a little yard that she sold her plants out of. It’s less than an acre, and when people first come in they are amazed. They think, OK, the top of the nursery, and then they start wandering back here and like, wow, this is an oasis in the middle of the city, What we’ve always said in the past is you can buy your plants anywhere, but what we give you is the knowledge to know what to do with the plant once you get it home, or if it’s the right plant for you to take home. We always think that Kate would like what we’re doing. She would appreciate it, At the Mission Hills Nursery, we still nurture the vision of the woman who planted the first seed.

Our Story

Mother of Balboa Park (City Park)
In 1892 Sessions struck a deal with the City of San Diego to lease 30 acres (120,000 m2) of land in Balboa Park (then called City Park) as her growing fields. In return, she agreed to plant 100 trees a year in the mostly barren park, as well as 300 trees a year in other parts of San Diego.  This arrangement left the park with an array of cypress, pine, oak, pepper trees and eucalyptus grown in her gardens from seeds imported from around the world; virtually all of the older trees still seen in the park were planted by her.

The Mission Hills Nursery, which she founded in 1910 and sold to her employees the Antonicelli brothers in 1926, is still in operation to this day. Now owned and operated by the Palafox Family since 1989.

Kate O. Sessions

Kate O. Sessions 11/8/1857 – 3/24/1940

The Palafox Family

mission hills nursery - owners

Fausto Palafox and Family purchase San Diego’s oldest nursery and garden center, Mission Hills Nursery, April 1989.

organic gardening - mission hills nursery

Toni and Fausto Palafox, realize their dream.

eco friendly gardening - mission hills nursery

Tiger and Isaac the new generation

Mission Hills Nursery San Diego’s oldest garden center was founded in the early 1900’s by the legendary Kate O. Sessions. This piece of history was purchased by Fausto Palafox and family. Fausto had been an employee of Nurseryland Garden Centers always having a dream of being a business owner and forging his own path in the garden center business. Fausto’s employment history extends 25 years with Nurseryland Garden Centers as a stock boy and rising through various management positions ultimately as Director of Operations, overseeing 37 stores in California and Arizona.

Guiding Mission Hills Nursery from a neighborhood nursery to a top player in the garden beauty business in all of San Diego County, adding a landscape maintenance service and landscape design and installation service have allowed the Palafox Family to thrive in this very competitive business. Mission Hills Nursery is poised to thrive in the next century with owners very involved in the day to day operations. Son Fausto “Tiger” Palafox heads the Maintenance and Landscape Operations. And a new generation is coming up fast.