From Cleveland to CA!

Hello,
We have recently moved from the North Coast - Cleveland, OH - to Central "coast," CA (Atascadero, CA, which is about 20 mi. N of San Luis Obispo, and halfway between LA and San Francisco.)
Needless to say, everything is different! I thought I had a good handle on the Midwestern plants and trees in Ohio, and I was a dedicated gardener. But I'm suffering from sensory overload out here because all the plants seem new and strange. The "alien" feeling hasn't worn off yet.
We are only 10 miles from the coast, but our climate is described as more of a "high desert" - but I am not sure if this is accurate or not. The higher elevation does make for more extremes than a typical coastal climate. We have hotter summers (100 degrees F is not unheard of), very cool nights (60s or 50s, even in summer), and even a couple of winter frosts, although they are not considered "hard" ones. For example, neighbors have told me that we can't grow bougainvillea here (winters are too cold), even though I see it growing in the coastal area, which is only 10 minutes away.
I was wondering: can anyone recommend some good books on xeriscaping and on "high-desert" climates (if this is infact where I am)? Aside from the temperature and humidity differences, I would like to garden in a style that conserves water as much as possible - everything here is so dry that is seems "crispy"!
Thanks for any info, - Lisa
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Hi Lisa,
I know what you're going through - I'm origially from Dayton, then to the San Francisco area via Southern California and southern Israel.
Anyway - the first thing you need is the "Bible" of western gardening - the Western Garden Book, published by Sunset. You most likely also need "Drip Irrigation for Every Landscape and All Climates", by Kourik.
If there are any botanical gardens near where you live and/or old (non-chain) plant nurseries, they can be great resources too.
cheers, and welcome to your new gardening world!
Marj
--
Mediterranean Garden Advice and Shop: http://stores.tiefert.com/garden /
Also: http://www.mindspring.com/~mtiefert/garden/semiarid_gardening.html
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Cactus should grow well in your area. There are a few varieties of pine trees that will grow well. You may be in a good grape-growing area. Grasses grow well too, although these can become undesirable during the dry "fire" season. Talk with neighbors -- they will know what grows well.
On 30 Aug 2004 09:31:15 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (-- pelirojaroja) wrote:

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snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (-- pelirojaroja) wrote in message

It's not high desert, but it's summer-dry, and you're right in the middle of a really dry summer. Atascadero is wine country; grapes, fruits, and nuts will grow like mad there.
The Sunset Western Garden Book is the leading gardening reference book for any of the Pacific coast states. This will give you lots of tips on what will grow well in your area, planting practices, common pests, and so forth.
Because California gardeners grow a lot of tender plants and low-chill fruits, exactly how much frost you can expect becomes significant. Air drainage is a big factor: if you're at the bottom of a slope, you will get cold air that drains down the slope, and you'll get more frost than your upslope neighbors. This helps you grow deciduous fruits, but makes things like oranges and bougainvillea more chancy. Conversely, if you're upslope, subtropicals are less likely to freeze, but fruits that need much winter chill will get less and may bear less reliably.
--
Chris Green

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On 30 Aug 2004 09:31:15 -0700, snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (-- pelirojaroja) wrote:

As others have posted, Sunset's 'The Western Garden Book' is a must-have. Sunset HQ is in Menlo Park, and they have lovely gardens you can visit. See: http://www.sunset.com/sunset/web/Magazine/FAQs/FAQs.html#TouringSunsetAnchor
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