The world includes some areas that have climates like that of the Monterey Bay area, in which little or no rain falls during the summer months. These areas total only about 2% of the areas on Earth in which plants grow, but are very important where summer droughts occur because they are the origin of plants that have evolved to thrive under those conditions.
We refer to these areas as having a “Mediterranean” climate, because the lands that surround the Mediterranean Sea are associated with this climate and the source of many of our garden plants. This climate type could also be called the “Coastal California” climate. The so-called Mediterranean climate also exists in South Africa, the southwestern coast of Australia and the central coast of Chile.
California native plants, other Mediterranean climate plants and succulent plants all are drought-tolerant plants that can be found in most retail nurseries and mail order catalogs of garden plants. Gardeners who wish to conserve water in the landscape should become familiar with this category of plants. Here are good sources of information:
Keator, Glenn, and Middlebrook, Alrie. Designing California Native Gardens: The Plant Community Approach to Artful, Ecological Gardens. Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 2007.
Smith, M. Nevin. Native Treasures: Gardening with the Plants of California. Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 2006.
Bornstein, Carol, Fross, David, and O’Brien, Bart. California Native Plants for the Garden. Los Olivos, California: Cachuma Press, 2005.
Harlow, Nora, Ed. Plants and Landscapes for Summer-Dry Climates of the San Francisco Bay Region. Oakland, California: East Bay Municipal Utility District, 2004.
Gildemeister, Heidi. Mediterranean Gardening: A Waterwise Approach. Mallorca, Spain: Editorial Moll, 1995.
Gildemeister, Heidi. Gardening the Mediterranean Way: How to Create a Waterwise, Drought-Tolerant Garden. New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2004.
Dallman, Peter R., Plant Life in the World's Mediterranean Climates: California, Chile, South Africa, Australia, and the Mediterranean Basin, by (University of California Press, 1998)
Garden Plants for Mediterranean Climates, by Graham Payne and Hugh Johnson (Crowood Press, 2007)
Drought Resistant Planting, by Beth Chatto (Frances Lincoln, 2006)
The Dry Gardening Handbook, by Olivier Filippi (Thames & Hudson, 2008)
Xeriscape Plant Guide: 100 Water-wise Plans for Gardens and Landscapes, by Denver Water (Fulcrum, 1998)
Sajeva, Maurizio, and Costanzo, Mariangela. Succulents: The Illustrated Dictionary. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, 1997.
Sajeva, Maurizio, and Costanzo, Mariangela. Succulents II: The New Illustrated Dictionary. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, 2000.
Baldwin, Debra L. Designing with Succulents. Portland, Oregon: Timber Press, 2007.
Cave, Yvonne. Succulents for the Contemporary Garden, (Timber Press, 2003)
Hewitt , Terry. The Complete Book of Cacti and Succulents (DK ADULT, 1997)
Succulents for Mediterranean Climate Gardens, by Diana Morgan (Rosenberg Publishing, 2004)
Most local nurseries stock some succulents and cacti. While the sponsors of this software cannot recommend any particular nursery, below is a list of those that feature succulents or have a succulent plant section. This list may be incomplete. If you are a local nursery and carry succulents or cacti, please contact your local water agency to be added to this list.
DIG, Santa Cruz
Gold Rush Nursery, Soquel
ProBuild Garden Center, Santa Cruz
Succulent Gardens, Castroville (Retail and Wholesale)
Las Pilatas Nursery, Santa Margarita, California
Far West Bulb Farm, Grass Valley, California
The Theodore Payne Foundation, Sun Valley, California
Pacific Coast Seed, Inc., Livermore, California
High Country Gardens, Santa Fe, New Mexico