Gloria Fiscalini is a fourth-generation rancher in the hills near Cambria. The property where she and her late husband, Floyd Cusumano, built their house is amid rolling green hills on the back part of her family’s ranch.
There were no fences, and no bridge across the creek to access the property — just beautiful green pastures.
Floyd, who died in 2003, built the main farmhouse back in 1990. He incorporated lovely stained glass windows so that the rising sun in the east shines brilliant colors throughout the house.
Next he built the outbuildings and barn for the horses, sheep, cattle and chickens.
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At one time, Gloria had a plant nursery business and her husband built greenhouses to protect the plants she propagated and sold.
Floyd’s love for his wife shows in the magnificent gardens and koi pond he built for her, the treasures of the property.
A beautiful stone porch off the back of the house leads to a small lawn. Potted flowers, succulents and citrus trees surrounding the porch give softness to the hardscape.
Weddings, outdoor concerts and countless barbeques have been held here.
The lawn is edged with cement, giving it a clean crisp divide from the pollinator garden along the back and rose beds along the side opposite the porch.
At the center of the massive rose bed is an old family wagon that was once used to haul hay from the fields.
Just behind the wagon, along the rose bed, is a pergola trellis with beautiful flowering vine roses. One of Gloria’s favorite roses in the bed is Just Joey, an apricot-colored hybrid tea rose.
The pollinator garden is filled with purple, orange, pink and yellow flowers. Bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds are frequent visitors.
The view is spectacular from anywhere in the backyard. Gloria’s house is built on a hill above flat grazing pastures lined with oak trees that blend into the surrounding hills.
Gloria is an avid reader who loves suspense novels by Jonathan Kellerman.
In his books, the author refers to a koi pond, so Gloria mentioned to her husband that she would love to have a pond to read by. Floyd built her a 10- by 10-foot pond just off the side of the house surrounded with a wood fence.
A stone floor was laid to match the back porch and covered with a beautiful wood pergola. Clear plastic was added to the pergola to make the room usable all year.
Tropical plants surround the waterfall in the back, while rock planters filled with flowers and colorful plants line the walls.
One of the reasons that Gloria’s garden has such variety, color and texture is because she is an avid plant collector.
At times, she will bring plants home without knowing where she is going to plant them — but she always seems to find room. Her property is a palette of natives, perennials and annuals that blend seamlessly together.
Tips from the gardener
Have fun with your gardening.
Pay attention to your colors. If you do not want to be too adventurous, plant like colors together.
Stay flexible. If a plant isn’t working for you, pull it up, move it somewhere else or give it to a friend.
Go shopping. When you travel, visit nurseries and gardens to bring back plants for your garden.
Your garden may never be perfect. Just enjoy the journey.