Update, Oct. 2016: At the end of a very dry year we have a fairly brown yard. I think we should recognize that there are two important reasons to let this normal event play out naturally. First the maturation and release of seed for many plant species follows a die back, and drying. Then the dropped leaves create an isolating layer which keeps the soil, and critters cool. Lastly, it is also helping to retain moisture in the soil. Here are some photos just before the predicted start of the rainy season. I'll also be posting updates as the rains return (hopefully) and the garden greens up again.
Some very dry Hooker's Primrose. The bit of green there in the R. is Coyote Bush.
A few California Fuchsia still blooming.
A very dry Gooseberry
The first new green leaves on our Gooseberry, October 29, 2016.
These following photos are Spring, 2016.