Gardening with native California plants isn't any more difficult than gardening with other (exotic or non-native) plants, but it does involve a knowledge set that is new to many people. To be successful, you need to know about where these plants grow in the wild and what kinds of conditions they prefer. One of the best places to start getting this information is the California Native Plant Society, CNPS.org.
Since I am in the San Diego region, I also follow the local chapter at CNPSSD.org. They have a blog called California Native Plants...San Diego Style. They also have plant profiles that give a lot of info about individual species and other useful information about gardening. In 2012 they put together a terrific garden tour. I hope they will do it again.
Below is one of my new favorite plants, Papaver (Stylomecon) heterophylla, commonly known as Wind Poppies. It grows in the understory of oak woodlands, so I have it planted under my oak tree. The color is identical to California poppy which it is closely related to, but the flower is flatter and more open.