When Hadi and Charlotte Zalzalah bought their home in Paso Robles more than 15 years ago, the backyard consisted of a hillside full of rosemary down to a concrete patio.
However, when the beautiful blue rosemary flowers bloomed, every bee in the neighborhood came to their backyard. The Zalzalahs removed the rosemary, built a stone retaining wall and started planning.
Charlotte Zalzalah has been gardening for more than 50 years, so she had an abundance of ideas.
She wanted life in her garden all year with shades of lime to hunter green in the winter and bursts of color in the spring through fall.
With the help of Atascadero’s Bay Laurel Nursery, they went to work. The hillside was mostly clay and shale; rather than dig holes for the plants, Hadi Zalzalah used a jackhammer to plant the trees.
The garden has evolved over the years, with the Zalzalahs moving plants as they are heat stressed from overexposure to the sun or killed by frost in the winter.
“Your yard around your home is like a ribbon on a package,” Charlotte Zalzalah said. And this package is adorned with a multitude of textures, colors, and variety.
Amazingly, the Zalzalahs only water three days a week. They have mixed in low-water plants and mulch throughout the landscape to help hold the moisture in the soil.
A small concrete patio off their back door is surrounded with a swath of deep green grass that leads to a bisque-colored stone wall.
A blazing red Japanese maple is in the west corner of the yard. A large deciduous tree is planted to the west to provide shade in the summer for the maple.
The retaining wall’s height increases as it curves around the yard with potted plants and decorative garden art placed sporadically to add interest.
Charlotte Zalzalah’s placement of green bushes to break up the flowers is masterful.
Four climbing roses — Joseph’s Coat, Don Juan, Angel Face, and Paprika — are placed against the wood fence at the top of the hillside. Ann’s Promise, an apricot blush rose named after a character from “Downton Abbey” is the garden’s latest addition.
African daisies are sprinkled throughout the garden along with pink geraniums, violas, Peruvian lillies, yellow Texas primrose, purple irises, pink petunias and violet plumbago.
A potted apricot tree occupies the patio. A fig tree, butterfly bush and fruitless olive trees add height to the hillside.
A dwarf Japanese bottlebrush adds a unique texture. A flush of pink-tinged carpet roses trail along the ground.
An enchanting metal roster stands amidst the primrose and carpet roses with a colorful Delft painted pig nearby. To the side yard is a wonderful display of flowering succulents in containers.
With the help of an army of cute rock-and-wire ants, the Zalzalahs have created a charming, relaxing garden to enjoy all year long.
Tami Reece lives in Paso Robles and has been gardening and preserving its bounty for 30 years. Email her if you know of a unique or beautiful garden at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Vary the heights in your garden. Low-growing carpet roses are as important as stately trees.
- Make sure your garden has interest all year. Use colorful garden art to brighten the winter months.
- Place plants that have similar watering needs next to each other.
- When working on a slope, place stepping stones in landscape.
- Make sure to trellis climbing plants when planted along fences.