Named for two ancient Oak trees that sheltered a meeting place for Native Americans, the Twin Oaks region of North San Diego County has long been a center for human activity.
The Buena Creek Gardens site was homesteaded in 1896 by Rudolf Aumann, who perhaps planted our iconic California Pepper Tree that welcomes visitors to our nursery. Our small nursery office, which is now known as "El Shackito," was once a pony barn, and later a residence for an art teacher at nearby Palomar College. In 1970, Bob Brooks bought the 4-acre property, and with his partner Ray Chesnik began clearing the land for an iris farm. Cordon Bleu Farms specialized in bearded iris in the 1970s and hybrid daylilies in the 1980s. Most of the largest trees in the gardens were planted during this period.
In 1988, Steve Brigham was hired to help manage "The Farm" and its mail- order business. During the next 8 years, Steve developed the retail rare plant nursery, which was named Buena Creek Gardens. Bob Brooks retired in 1996 and sold the business and property to Steve. Since then, field plantings have been replaced by new display gardens and nursery areas.
Steve and Shari Matteson purchased the property and business in 2008 when Steven and Donna Brigham retired and moved to Washington state.