A garden of Eden is growing at the end of a cul-de-sac in Paso Robles, creating an explosion of color and fragrance.
Every kind of flower and fruit tree fills the back and side yards of Aurelia Wick’s property. Because of the deer roaming the hillside next to her home, she has planted natives and drought-tolerant plants on the outside of a 6-foot fence surrounding the backyard.
African daisy, periwinkle blue catnip, fiery Red Hot Pokers, lavender and beautiful Gaura surround a hand-hewn wood bench in the front right side yard, where the landscaping is deer-resistant.
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A border of bright purple, sunshine yellow and variegated greens covers the front yard lawn, near the front door. A brilliant red rose and sunset colored Peruvian Lilies (Alstroemeria) grow along the sidewalk edge.
In the center of the front lawn is a small bed of bearded irises. Another small hand-hewn wooden bench sits to the right of the lawn, beckoning one to sit and enjoy the butterflies flittering about the flowers. A peach tree, ornamental plum and a few landscape trees offer shade in the summer.
It is difficult to believe that just six years ago this was all lawn.
When Wick moved in then, her first priority was to plan a garden.
Over three years, landscape block planting beds were built throughout the side lawn area.
The first bed is planted with bearded irises, black speckled pink oriental lilies, Peruvian lilies, Foxgloves with small daisies and herbs sprinkled throughout. In the next two beds, overflowing onto the lawn, are more than 15 fragrant varieties of pale pink, red and apricot colored roses mixed with Foxgloves. The fourth bed has a cherry tree surrounded with holly hocks and more bearded irises.
Most of the irises in the garden are from Burgard Iris Farm in Templeton, and several of the roses were purchased from the Multiflora Garden Club of Paso Robles during its annual plant sales.
In the side yard there are eight beds in all, each filled with seasonal flowering plants, to add color to the garden all year long. Bright orange California Poppies self-seed to add a pop here and there. Ornamental Pomegranate, Butterfly Bush, Toyon and several Red Hot Pokers are along the back fence, also bordered by landscape block.
Mixed in with all the flowering beds in the side yard are three pear trees, four apple trees, two peach trees, three cherry trees, apricot, Pluot and a yellow plum. Along the fence are several grapevines.
What is truly amazing is that this is not a large yard.
In the backyard, which is not much more than sloping dirt and river rock, Love in the Mist, Calendula and other wildflowers self-seed to take root each year. A deep maroon flowering plum, apple tree and sycamore create shade to cool the patio area in the summer.
Under the elevated deck in the back yard, a Cecile Brunner vine rose grows, as well as tomato plants in large containers. The other side yard has been planted with a variety of Carex grass that grows well in the shade and is reminiscent of a meadow swaying in a breeze. Also growing are Society Garlic, holly hocks, white roses, ornamental plum tree, Loquat tree and a Hachiya Persimmon Tree.
Tucked everywhere are potted plants containing flowering plants such as foxglove and white roses.
Wick says that each year she adds just a little bit more, although I am not sure where she fits it all in! Most of the beds are irrigated with drip line, but hand watering is still a must in some parts of the garden.
This garden’s explosion of color is amazing. With an expert gardener’s eye, Wick has been able to mix all the different plant varieties, colors and scents to create a truly charming oasis.
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.
▪ Before starting a garden, make a plan. Even a rough sketch will do.
▪ Start with your hardscapes (beds, pathways), then irrigation before planting any flowers.
▪ Plant varieties that bloom each season so you will always have color.
▪ Use perennials (plants that grow back each year), bulbs and wildflowers for continuous color.