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Southern California Garden Tour

Part 1 ~ So Cal Garden Tour:

I lived in Santa Barbara in 1990 when the drought was so dire.  People who wanted green lawns had to paint them or, in cases of extreme wealth, they would import truck loads of water from some far away land.


Southern California is once again facing a dire drought, but in the decades since the 90s nearly every gardener has traded in their water loving plants for drought tolerant choices.  In the beginning, gardeners were concerned that they would lose the ability to play textures and colors off of each other and still have lush gardens, but they seem to have adapted.

Drought Tolerant Plants ~ Southern California Garden Tour

Birdcage Planter filled with Broken Glass and Succulents and a Downlight Wired for Illumination

In the next few weeks, I will feature a few Southern California gardens that show creativity and individuality all while being strictly water conscious.  Today’s garden tour features my friend Pam’s quirky garden.  Pam is a professional landscape designer.  She had been traveling and was not home to tend to the details when I appeared with my camera.


I snuck up on each garden I will be featuring, so you can see how real people live when no one is supposed to be looking.

Drought Tolerant Plants ~ Southern California Garden Tour

Pam painted this birdcage Mediterranean Blue, so that it would complement the wall color and add vibrancy to the yard.

Pam is a quirky gardener and decorates her yard with artwork that some people might hang in their homes.  She has a cobalt blue clawfoot bathtub in one corner of her backyard that is waiting to be replanted.  It used to hold tomato plants, but is currently overflowing with a jungle of fragrant geraniums.

Southern California Garden Tour

An old typewriter sits, year around, on a glass and iron demilune table outside the detached home office doors.

Quirky Southern California Garden Tour

A Kitsch donkey is at home in this quirky garden!

Drought Tolerant Plants ~ Southern California Garden Tour

Pam is one of my most resourceful friends.  She made this basket, that is littered with purple bougainvillea petals, out of vines and cuttings from her backyard.

Drought Tolerant Plants ~ Southern California Garden Tour

An old birdcage filled with succulents hangs from a tree next to a gorgeous basket of more succulents.  The bare Plumeria Tree, on the left, will be leafing and flowering soon.  Knowing Pam, I have a sneaking suspicion that the big blue orbs under the Plumeria are bowling balls!

One of the things I love about gardening is sharing plant starts with friends and neighbors.  Succulents produce prolifically.  All of the varieties I have had are easy to create new starts with.  Just break a piece off, put it in well draining soil and keep the soil moist until the plant develops new roots!


The orange and red nasturtiums on the left side of the above photo were taken from new sprouts in my old garden.  I got them from my mother’s garden.  Many of my favorite succulents came from starts that Pam gave me.


Drought Tolerant Plants ~ Southern California Garden Tour

This corner is lush, even though these plants need very little water.

Drought Tolerant Plants ~ Southern California Garden Tour

A Mexican (Talavera Pottery) wall pot, filled with a succulent and geranium, is framed by a red trumpet vine.

Drought Tolerant Plants ~ Southern California Garden Tour

A pretty pot nestled in with shade loving Boston ferns and begonias stores the water hose.

Drought Tolerant Plants ~ Southern California Garden Tour

A pot, filled with colorful succulents, is the umbrella stand for a straw umbrella, which shades a sunny section of the yard.

Southern California Garden Tour

A large colorful hand blown glass ball balances on top of the heads of a frog statue.

Duranta Erecta Sweet Memories Tree ~ Southern California Garden Tour

Duranta Erecta “Sweet Memories” Tree against the beautiful blue sky.

Southern California Garden Tour

A red maple tree surrounded by rosemary, used in Pam’s kitchen, coordinates beautifully with the home’s color scheme.

Southern California Garden Tour

Pam’s colorful California Spanish bungalow and its garden.


*For more on drought tolerant plants, you may like Val’s post Brown is the New Green and for a tour of a garden she designed go to:

Part 2:  Garden Tour ~ So Cal Droughtscape ~ It’s all in the Details

or go to:

Part 3:  Garden Tour ~ So Cal Droughtscape ~ Refuge in the Hood to read about how one gardener made an inner city drought tolerant garden her refuge.

11 thoughts on “Garden Tour ~ So Cal Droughtscape ~ The Quirk Factor

  1. Janea says:

    What a cool garden! I would definitely want to hang out there. 🙂
    XO, Janea


    1. I didn’t show all of the lounging and dining spaces. It really is a great place to escape.


  2. What a fantastic future you have Melissa!—-SERIOUSLY!
    When is your next trek to THIS neck of the woods!? STOP BY! HAVE LUNCH OR DINNER!


  3. Brigit! How great to see you here! I am not sure when my next trek will be, but I will have to come see you! Thank you for your encouragement. I never take your compliments lightly, they mean so much! xoxo


  4. Nancy P says:

    I love the house and the garden! I so wish that we had the weather in WA that allowed us to really use the outdoors as part of our living space. I would love to have Pam work her magic on my yard!


  5. Watch out for what you wish for! Pam is in the greater Seattle area regularly. She has kids here!

    Southern California has the most dreamy year around weather that I know of if you like indoor/outdoor living. But who wants to live like that! 😉


  6. Diana says:

    I guess they have adapted! Beautiful gardens and plenty of colors!


    1. Diana, California gardeners have adapted and, in general, their landscapes are as beautiful and inspiring as ever!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Diana says:



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