Garden Photo of the Day

Drought Gardening

Barbara Weiler's southern California garden is a great example of how to thrive during a drought.

"My garden on 1 1/2 acres in San Diego County has undergone major changes due to the ongoing drought and water restrictions. Four years ago I started planting succulents in areas with no irrigation and they are all thriving. Winter starts the long bloom season for Aloes, which produce brightly colored blooms that attract hummingbirds. I leave the flower stalks on the plants to dry, and then incorporate them in creative floral designs. Sadly, I have lost many plants and trees due to stress from extreme heat (over 100 degrees) and 5 years of drought. I am replacing them with drought tolerant California natives, many Australian plants and succulents. 

Our house sits in the middle of a gently sloping property and I have created a series of large garden beds connected by pathways. There is no lawn. Everything is heavily mulched and the whole garden is organic-no pesticides or chemical fertilizers. My biggest problems, besides the lack of water, are gophers, snails and soil pathogens."

Have a garden you'd like to share? Please email 5-10 photos (and a brief story about your garden) to [email protected], or tag your photos on Instagram or Twitter with #FineGardening!

Whether you've never shared before or you've been featured multiple times, we want to see your garden! You don't have to be a professional garden photographer – check out our garden photography tips!

Do you receive the GPOD by email yet? Sign up here!


View Comments


  1. User avater
    meander_michaele 12/29/2015

    Nothing shy or water starved looking about those dramatic orange colored bottle brush shaped blooms, Barbara. They are festive and look to be celebrating your wise choice in adapting to your current growing conditions. And, oh, my, those eye-catching variegated leaves of the agaves (?)...I just love them.

  2. jeffgoodearth 12/29/2015

    I really love the look, colors/textures of a dry succulent garden but I can only grow in containers here. this intense drought in CA has shown me how resilient gardeners are to adapt to their conditions and be able to still have a spectacular garden

  3. laurelmagrini 12/29/2015

    Beautiful garden! Succulents make everything better. Kudos to you, Barbara.

  4. diane_lasauce 12/29/2015

    Barbara, wonderful display! How do you do battle with the slugs in your gardens? Diane

  5. user-4691082 12/29/2015

    Beautiful and so colorful- you are a very wise woman!

  6. wGardens 12/29/2015

    Great choices, great solution. Looks great!

  7. dadw5boys 12/29/2015

    I would plant some beans and after they bloom cut them down trapping the Nitrogen in the soil on the roots and replant more beans over and over. Too bad you can't plant hemp. The drought drives up the THC in hemp making it illegal.

  8. User avater
    Tim_Zone_Denial_Vojt 12/29/2015

    I'm sorry that you've lost plants and trees, Barbara, but wowee: your new plant palette is wonderful. I love love love the aloes and agaves. The shapes, colors and textures are just wonderful. Thanks for sharing your personal resilience and beautiful garden.

  9. GrannyCC 12/29/2015

    Congratulations Barbara you certainly have adapted to your drought conditions. It is all so colourful and he healthy looking.

  10. sheila_schultz 12/29/2015

    Who needs a water thirsty lawn when you can have the unequaled beauty of a succulent garden? Barbara, your combinations bring the high drama that few other plants can manage... the shapes, textures and colors are spectacular. You have shown with the redo of your gardens that even in prolonged drought, a beautiful 'yard' is still a possibility.

  11. BoxwoodBarbara 12/29/2015

    Barbara: Superb garden, regardless of the original necessity! As the old saying goes, "When life only tosses you lemons, make lemonade." May the life force be with you, and with all of GPOD's dedicated gardeners who have enriched my life. Happy New Year, all!

  12. user-7007919 12/29/2015

    Barbara, your garden is breathtaking! Get a crossbow for the gophers.

  13. Cenepk10 12/29/2015

    How interesting ! Wow ! The aloes really grow large there ! Love your garden !

  14. schatzi 12/29/2015

    You are very wise in going with the flow - or lack thereof ! Your garden is dramatic and beautiful, and the envy of Tim and Jeff! We always lust after the things we can't grow, or grow easily. I suggest one of the iron based slug baits, as they do not kill anything else
    and degenerate into fertilizer. Keep on showing the way to handle the drought.

  15. User avater
    LindaonWhidbey 12/29/2015

    Barbara, great job of adapting your garden to current conditions. I love all of the succulents that can be grown in CA.

  16. User avater
    HelloFromMD 12/30/2015

    Hi Barbara, I admire your tenacity. I recall the gardeners who gave up many years ago when Maryland suffered extreme drought couple years in a row. Your new adapted garden is so attractive. I hope you enjoy the California natives as much as your original plantings. Here in Maryland, deer, voles, rabbits, and fungal diseases are our worst problems. What do you do for soil pathogens?

Log in or create an account to post a comment.

Related Articles

The Latest