Plants for Joshua Tree area?
I have been growing many varieties of cactus and succulents with success at my house in Pasadena, California.
Recently, I bought a vacation home near Joshua Tree National Park at about 3300 feet elevation. The native desert is mostly small Joshua trees and other yuccas, mesquite, creosote, pencil cholla, and teddy bear cholla. I see that some of my neighbors are having success with saguaro, palo verde, purple opuntia, ocotillo, acacia, and cottonwood even though I don't see any of those growing natively.
The soil is very rocky with lots of volcanic rocks interspersed with deep sand.
I do not intend to irrigate very much, but I am curious how the list of plants might expand if I install a drip system. Right now I water deeply by hand every 2-3 weeks to keep plants like oleander (previous owner planted) alive.
What other plants might I have success with in this region? My nursery says golden barrel cactus, most opuntias, and maybe some agaves. They say to forget most succulents and that a rule of thumb is "spiny."
I would be interested in growing California poppy, English lavender, hollyhocks, and olives in addition to cactus. I am trying to explore all of my options. The high is 100 degrees every day in summer and 60 degrees in the winter. It does snow on occasion and the nursery said that is really what will limit my options more than the heat.
I would appreciate any ideas.