it's funny, because P-Melissa commented on how exotic my plants seemed to her eastern Canadian self. i was surprised. really.
after 10 years in southern california, i really start forgetting how weird the plants are here. my jaw dropped at every corner when we first arrived... we used to walk around the neighborhood pointing and staring. but i guess i've acculturated and it all starts to seem normal.
i really try to plant in the vernacular. interesting, but in the vernacular. plants that i see doing well in other people's gardens. and often, the plants outside of gas station and in median strips. i figure if it'll grow there, it'll grow anywhere.
this area is a huge growing region so lots of stuff DOES grow well here, if you are willing to water it. once established, my front yard (predominantly gazania, a couple of flaxes, some wildflowers) and my courtyard (a united nations of lavenders, rosemaries, sages and other herbs, some dusty miller) will need very little water.
this is the west wall of the courtyard, the view from the kitchen, more or less, though this is snapped from the little porch. on the left is a dwarf orange, the right a fig and in between lavenders, rosemaries and a couple of artichokes. eventually, i'll get a fountain installed on this wall.
the east face of the courtyard. door goes into the diningroom, center window is above the kitchen sink. the livingroom is on the left in this picture, the hallway windows are on the right. i've planted jasmines, honeysuckle and white potato vine to creep up the porch rails. the two bushes must be the world's heartiest camellias as they've really been through the wringer this year. in the beds, a rosemary and a couple of salvias i think.
the backyard, with grass, papyrus, agapanthus and various little bedding flowers will probably want more water, but i'll keep stepping down the water until it starts to complain.
and there's lots of stuff that doesn't grow here! no bulbs that need to freeze, also a lot of fruit trees, like most apples, need to freeze. some people take their bulbs out of the ground every year and store them in the fridge for 6 weeks to simulate winter, but i am not that sort of a gardener.