Gardening wasn't a hobby of mine before I bought a house on a quarter acre of nearly bare land. I had some idea of what to do with plants from helping my mother in her garden as a child. But gardening in lush and green Pennsylvania is not like gardening in the coastal dessert we call San Diego. I finally figured out that the sprinklers in the lawn were there for a reason, a good reason, it never rains here. Well, as Thomas says, never say never. We get about 11 inches of rain annually compared to the 45 or so inches I grew up knowing. And those 11 inches come this time of year meaning I have more gardening to do in the winter than in the summer.
I didn't know how much water to give plants, and as a result I lost quite a few plants in the early days of my California garden. Then winter came and plants began to sprout and bloom and grow. But then warm spring days led into hot summer sunshine and my garden suffered. Many of the plants are drought tolerant but I didn't understand they first needed to establish themselves before they could use less water. Now that I am equipped, albeit through trial and error, with a better understanding of what these California plants need to survive many more of them are doing just that.