San Luis Obispo County's Drought-Tolerant Plant Palette

Distinctive Plants for Mediterranean Landscapes

In San Luis Obispo County we are privileged to be one of only 5 Mediterranean-style climates in the world. Our warm, dry summers and cool, wet winters allow us to grow an eclectic selection water-wise perennials, shrubs, trees and grasses from 4 other Mediterranean zones, as well as our own California natives.

At Gardens by Gabriel, Inc, harnessing the diversity and character of the Mediterranean plant palette is a passion and a specialty. We are plant collectors, propagators, seed savers, and above all, growers. With such a wide plant palette to work with, we are constantly trialing new selections and old favorites in different environments to distill the best of the best. We observe, take notes, and glean lessons from the land. Gardening is an ongoing experiment, and we strive to expand its borders with every plant we sink into the earth.

Plants are our vehicle for sustainability, and thus we believe that a carefully handpicked selection of them is what truly brings your space to life. Below are the main categories we draw from to create your personal haven.  

Edibles--Eat Locally Right Outside Your Door!

We believe in taking full advantage of our wonderful year-round growing climate on the Central Coast. With abundant sunshine and mild temperatures, it’s easy to produce some of the tastiest produce you’ve ever experienced, right in your own back yard. Ask us about the best varieties of vegetable starts, herbs, and fruit trees to get your edible paradise up and growing. 

Succulents--Nature's Original Sculptures

Cross the spiny cactus that stabbed you as a kid off the list, and your grandmother’s endearing but unexciting jade plant, too. The Central Coast is the perfect host for the jewel tones and undulating waves of echeverias, the undersea quality of ethereal Euphorbias, the clean geometry of dwarf aloes, and the strong, architectural lines of variegated agaves. Succulent plants have undergone a revolution in recent years, introducing amazing color morphs and compact hybrid plants perfect for small gardens. They’re setting new precedents in ease of growing in a variety of conditions. With their fascinating forms, bold colors, and diehard composition, succulents are built for the modern gardener.

California Natives--Indigenous Delights

California is known for its vast array of unique climates. Within a 5 hour driving radius you can be in the towering redwoods, the waves of the Pacific, the searing desert dunes, or the snow-capped sierra. The eastern part of the US has 11 climate zones, while we westerners boast 24! The Central Coast is no exception, hosting a multitude of micro-climates from the elevations of warm North County to the fog belt bluffs of the coast. Specialized communities of plants have adapted to these distinct environments over thousands of years, yielding plants are that built exactly for where we live. Native plants give our gardens a sense of connection to the indigenous surroundings, and make us feel at home. A well-planned native garden reflects our subtle seasonal changes, supports a wealth of wildlife, and contributes to the delicate ecological balance of our global environment.

Mediterranean--Globally Inspired, Locally Planted

Mediterranean climate zones occupy only 5% of the earth’s topography, but support more than 20% of its known plant species. We are part of a very special horticultural zone indeed! The floras of South Africa, central Chile, western Australia, coastal California and the Mediterranean basin all contribute spectacular plants that are well-adapted to our soils and unique climate here on the Central Coast. 

Proteas--Botanical Jewels for Central Coast Gardens

Named after the legendary sea god Proteus who could changed his shape at will, the family of Proteas has a surprising diversity of form, flower, and foliage across the different species. From the trees, like Grevilleas, to the shrubby Leucadendrons,  and ground-cover Banksias, there is a Protea for every purpose in the garden. The flowers are exotic looking and come in a warm spectrum of colors and extra-terrestrial forms. Proteaceae are cultivated commercially as cut flowers because of their striking forms and propensity to last for weeks to months in a vase. All of the protea tribe appreciate well-drained soil and cool temperatures, so they grow to perfection on the fog-kissed dunes of the coast. They require minimal maintenance, and don’t want much water once established. If you're looking for a few eye-catching plants to light up your garden in the winter time, the protea family is not to be missed. 


Mari, Nipomo, California 
"Gabriel and his staff are definitely five star! He first did our backyard--it was quite the challenge but he exceeded our expectations! We loved his work so much that we used him again for our front yard. Once again, we were thrilled with the results! Gabriel is very knowledgeable and you can tell that he loves what he does. He and his crew are polite, responsive and  very knowledge. It was a joy to work with him and his crew - even now he's willing to answer questions regarding the plantings, etc. You won't go wrong using Gardens by Gabriel!"