I've never mulched my plants before, but someone gave me a couple of bags with very nice leafy compost.
I was just wondering, will a cover of leaves and stuff not just be an invite and higher chance to survive for all the slugs, snails and other garden pests?
That's a good question Mayo. In my experience a mulch does provide a warm place for some types of insects to overwinter. The mulch protects the plants and retains moisture, but the added warmth seems to also protect other forms of life as well.
Name: Mike Hazel Crest, IL (Zone 5b) "Have no patience for bare ground"
With your warmer climate mulching is not much of a big deal Depending on your rain frequency or lack thereof. The pro's is the moisture retention and the weed suppression. The con's, you said it. For the plants a long way from the spigot, it would save time dragging hose or watering can to the plants during the heat of summer. I use it to save on watering time. Eventually I intend to setup a time saving watering system.