Dating back to when Mrs. Winchester was in residence in the late 1800s and up until her passing in 1922, the gardens of Llanada Villa (now known as Winchester Mystery House) have been admired for their beauty and variety. With over 10,000 box hedges and hundreds of varieties of tree and plant life, the Winchester Mystery House is quite the example of beautiful flora and fauna.
Sarah Winchester was well known for her fondness of beautiful plants (both inside her home and within her extensive, exterior landscaping). Many of her original trees still remain on the estate including an impressive collection of such botanical beauties as the Saucer Magnolia Tree, Spartan Juniper and Creeper Trumpet Vine. In addition to her eclectic tree collection she was also a keeper of exotic birds who once occupied the aviary.
However, there are two whimsical landscaping elements that guests often overlook. Through the decades various teams of gardeners have maintained the grounds, and have not only been responsible for maintaining many of the rare plants, shrubbery and trees but also caring for some special topiary designs.
In the front gardens, near the South Witch’s Cap, you’ll find this large hedge cut in the shape of, you guessed it, numeral 13 (allegedly Sarah Winchester’s favorite number). This unusual hedge design does not date back to Sarah’s time but was most likely a short-term promotional item for the tour that lives on today.
When you arrive at the Winchester Mystery House you’ll also see another unusual hedge, this time near the gift shop exit. It’s a giant “W” (for “Winchester”). Again, this does not date back to Sarah’s time at the house but someone through the years thought it might be a nice visual touch.
On your next visit to the Winchester Mystery House be sure to be on the lookout for these two unusual landscaping elements. And be sure to snap a photo and share it with us! You’ll never know when we may share your photo on our social media feeds!