I like to talk about one of my clients Barbara B. who lives in Los Angeles and to whom I am very grateful for showing me her garden transformation. For many years she was a very committed to make her garden look like the ones she visited in England, it was the most beautiful garden I have seen here in LA without being very manicured.
But as we all know California and Nevada have shortage of water and as designer Barbara decided that is time for change and be a responsible citizen of this state and country.
She research the "Succulent gardening".
With the unlimited amount of cacti and succulents available, one can create landscapes that are vividly surrealistic or monochromatic for desired color schemes.
Succulents are great plants to use in the garden. They are easy to grow, requiring little water, fertilizer, care and maintenance. They are highly adaptable to difficult situations, such as rocky or poor soil, hillsides, crevices, small gardens and container plantings. With great foliage colors, unique textures & shapes, plus beautiful flowers, using succulents one can create true leisure landscape. I have found succulent plants to be patient with me and my lack of time for gardening(balcony). O yes! I got hooked on succulents me to, and my garden is growing with different plants, some of them from local nursery's some from friends and clients.
The succulents are highly evolved plants, which have adapted to their changing environments. Succulents, including the cactus family, have a highly specialize anatomy to enable them to survive periods of drought. All are able to store moisture in fleshy tissue in their stems, roots, or leaves. Most have developed distinctive features to help reduce water loss. One of my favorites is Red-Aloe. Another favorite is the Old Man cactus with his blanket of wool covering the body of the cactus, reflecting heat and intense sunlight off of the plant during the day and acting as a blanket during the cold nights. These are true survivors.
The best of this change is that we don't have to worry about the watering, even if we go for weeks the plants will survive the Californian heat.
Some great books about succulents;
"Designing With Succulents" by Debra Lee Baldwin
"Hardy Succulents" by Gwen Moore Kelaidis