Indian Mallow (Abutilon palmeri)
These apricot flowers that bloom from spring through midsummer and then turn into striking seed pods liven up the drought-tolerant border. This desert shrub can take some irrigation, but lives longer with little summer water. Velvety, serrated gray-green leaves are heart shaped.
Mediterranean spurge (Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii)
Narrow blue-green leaves surround the stalks of these upright dome-shaped perennials. Beautiful without flowers, in late winter and spring it gets more beautiful with lime green blooms. The plant's white sap can irritate skin; wear gloves when handling.
Pink-flowered currant (Ribes sangineum glutinosum)
In February and March this deciduous shrub is covered with long showy panicles of pink flowers. Because of its drought tolerance, it will grow well in the dappled shade of an oak tree near the coast. The shrub will grow to four to six feet tall. Birds are attracted tot he berries.
Cleveland sage (Salvia clevelandii)
This sage can't be beat for drama and fragrance. The shurb grows to eight feet wide and three to four feet tall. In May or June, whorls of gorgeous lavender-blue flowers bloom in stacks on spikes to four feet tall. Blossoms can be used for cut flowers or dried and added to flower arrangements.