Landscape designer Jim Martinez has been creating water-wise, environmentally friendly gardens in Dallas and Marfa for more than 30 years. Surrounded by mountains, at an elevation of almost 5,000 feet, the Marfa plateau is subject to extreme temperature variations. “In winter, it can be 60 degrees in the day and drop to 15 at night,” Martinez says. “Selecting plants that are adapted to these conditions is the key to success.”
Start by repotting plants in larger containers (first in 4-inch containers, eventually moving up to one gallon as they grow) full of a fast-draining cactus-and-succulent mix with a bit of organic loam. Skip fertilizer. Shade outdoor spring and summer bloomers from heat but provide at least four hours of daily sun. Protect summer-dormant plants from summer rain.
You've spent years training your roses, pruning your Japanese maple, and preventing invasive vines from overtaking your trees. Will you gamble it all for a summer vacation? “I hired the neighbor's kids to take care of my garden while I was away,” says Pamela Horvitz, a passionate gardener in Pittsburgh. “When I came back, things looked so bad that I wanted to cry.” Instead, the former office manager began a new life as a garden sitter.
In her New York City kitchen, author Eugenia Bone browns lamb shanks with a mixture of chickpeas and garden-fresh tomatoes that she canned at home.