Answer: In extreme climates it's usually best to stick with native plants. These are adaptable, low-maintenance, and generally pest-free. Once you have a basic landscape structure of native plants, you can use tough annuals and perennials for color spots. The Sunset Western Garden Book devotes several pages to California native plants and you can make your selections based upon pictures and descriptions. For color spots, I'd suggest Zinnia, Salvia, Lavender, Oenothera (evening primrose), Rudbeckia, Sedums of all kinds, Dasylirion whelleri (desert spoon), Coreopsis, Linum and Lantana. Good luck with your new garden!
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