About Mission Hills Nursery

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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.