Plumbago - we planted several of these today - so pretty & cheerful - thrives in the hot California summer. Disease- pest- and deer-resistant. Can grow into a large bush, and also can be trained to grow on a trellis.
Drip irrigation- I do this every year and it works great! Especially during a long Texas drought- less water waste. The only thing that kept my plants going, and once the plants get growing they hide the bottles. Quick and easy way to fertilize too!