Did you read the newspaper this morning? California might be going into a long drought. My first thought was for my garden. I spent most of the day shoveling, creating wells around plants and trees. Then the mulching began. Luckily I run a worm farm—a big barrel of worms, raw fruit and vegetable peels and garden and lawn clippings. The worms multiply while thefood and garbage (no meat) rots. When it’s totally disgusting, it’s ready for your most precious plants. Hold your nose and work this stuff into the earth around your drought-resistant flowers, bushes and trees.
Save your lawn clippings or buy sacks of mulch for the ground around your plants. Always weed an area before you mulch.
When applying the mulch to your garden bed, do not pile it too close to the stems or crowns of the plants. Wet mulch can cause them to rot.
When using organic mulching materials (like grass clippings), don't be stingy. A layer that's too thin will allow sunlight in and won't suppress weeds, and it will allow moisture to evaporate, increasing the amount of watering (a.k.a. work) you'll need to do. Areas in full sun may need four inches of mulch to keep weeds at bay. For shadier, less troublesome spots, two to three inches should suffice.
What are drought resistant plants? Here are a few: Lavender, Echinacea, Coreopsis, Buddleia, Sage, Salvia, Lilac, Golden Current, African Daisys, Western Redbud, Penstemons, Buckwheat and all types of Manzanitas.
In reality, the most drought tolerant plants are usually the native plants of your area. If you live in California pick the plants from your south-facing slopes or a slightly drier climate a little further inland in California. It's really easy to plant a garden with native plants that are very drought tolerant (they lived there long before you showed up with a garden hose) and look very good, especially with a few sprinkles with the hose.
Now that we are all drought-proofed, please let me know your ideas on gopher-proofing, deer-proofing, snail-proofing, and Big-Foot-proofing. And maybe a good tooth-whitener.