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Who says dry is drab? Water-sensible plants can give you waves of color.

Colorful gardening using unthirsty plants can be successful if you remember two things: the obvious one is to choose plants with low water needs, but you also want to combine ones whose foliage and flowers add interest over a long period. The three California gardens shown on these and the next two pages illustrate different approaches: combine plants that stretch the bloom season by gradually blending color from one season to the next, choose plants to produce a twice-yearly punch with very different palettes (and a green "rest" period in between), or create a combination that gives one burst of color in spring and stays green the rest of the year. Whichever way you go, September marks the beginning of the West's best planting season. Nursery shelves are filled with plants that produce showy blooms and require little water once Stretching the bloom season In Bill Slater's Montecito garden, shown on these two pages, landscape designer Dennis Shaw combined plants for a procession of color that marches through the seasons. The foliage, varied in texture and shades of green and gray, links the seasons and unifies the garden. It makes a quiet backdrop for drifts of misty blue and violet blooms that peak in spring. By early summer, the color scheme ignites in the dazzling yellow of blooming santolina. Wispy blades of ornamental grasses make their appearance in early summer and burst forth in feathery pink plumes; by late summer they will dominate. In winter they are cut back and the garden is green and gray. The two-year-old garden needs water about every three weeks to look its best. Plants are sheared after blooms fade. Switching colors with the seasons Two kinds of plants interplanted in Joel and Lisa Knight's Monterey garden (pictured above) provide two separate seasons of bloom, each with its own color palette. Landscape designers Bobbie and Tom Deyerle of Central Coast Landscaping chose Australian fuchsia (Correa pulchella), which bears light pink, bell-shaped flowers from February to April, and California fuchsia (Zauschneria californica), with flame orange blooms from June into September. Both are handsome against the backdrop of native oaks that grow beyond the wall. If these plants bloomed at the same time, their flower colors would clash. As it is, though, each color can stand on its own. In spring, clumps of blue Dutch iris bloom among the Australian fuchsias. The shrubs' evergreen foliage makes a quiet interlude between flowering seasons. This five-year-old garden replaced a lawn. Drip irrigation helped establish the plants; in this cool coastal climate, plants can now get by with two deep waterings in summer. One burst of color in spring Drougbt-resistant plants, most with the same bloom time, are mixed and massed for spring drama in Jacob Epstein's Los Feliz front garden pictured on the opposite page and at right. Landscape designer Rob Steiner of Sassafras Landscaping chose pink, blue, and white for an easygoing color scheme that cloaks the slope in a soft, unregimented fashion. In spring, the quiet green shrubs unfurl jubilant blooms. When peak bloom passes, purple statice and blue ground morning glories continue to grace the garden with subtle color into fall. Plants need to be hand-watered every two to three weeks. Fi
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Date:Sep 1, 1990
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