Those of us who call Southern California home should be well acquainted with water scarcity. Don't be fooled by the landscaping, much of this moderate New Eden was sprung from a desert floor. The lushness is borrowed: Considering the distance our water travels to get here it's a shame it can't collect frequent flyer miles.
But recent climatic trends are forcing a kind of Southern Californization (or Californication) on other parts of the world as well. Or worse. The full scale of this change has yet to seen but in the meantime we'd be wise to gain an appreciation of drought tolerant gardens.
Drought resistant needn't mean lush-less, though.
These camels of the garden can be colorful, sculptural, and dramatic.
Here, a hardy oasis of densely planted Agave attenuata, purple Aeonium, and cactus offer potential combinations.
Warm hued Echeveria mingles with cool Agave, dryly.
An arid forest of Agave, Flax, and Aloe vera provide density, height, and coverage.
The Red Pencil Tree Euphorbia tirucalli "Sticks of Fire" is a native of Central Africa and a distant cousin of the Poinsettia. Its caustic white sap is the bane of both pests and would-be pruners.
Here, Agave angustifolia: Like any good guest it can be satisfied with minimum to drink and will accept shade in good spirit.
Desert gothic: Agave americana offers more barbs and twists than Molière.
The garden's exclamation point: Agave americana variegated marginata in all its bold and symmetrical glory.