10 Ways to Conquer Your Fear of Gardening

You might not believe it, but you were born with a green thumb. It may have gone untended for a while, but it's there waiting for you to nudge it awake. Put away your theory of being a plant killer, that anything dies under your care. Forget those nagging thoughts of where your garden will live or when you'll find the time, it's there somewhere. It doesn't have to cost a fortune and you'll get more than you give. So, here are 10 tips for conquering your fear of gardening:

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Gardening Tips for Renters

Want to bring more green to your house or apartment? Using a few easy, inexpensive techniques, <a href="http://www.thehorticult.com/">The Horticult</a> shows how you can garden like you own the place -- without risking your security deposit. You don't have to own your home to create a garden that reflects your personal style. Grow your favorite plants and create an inspired landscape -- or patio, interior, or balcony -- using these fun, low-commitment methods. (Although you might want to check with your landlord about the larger projects!) And if you move, you can take it all with you. These 10 tips for renters will give your garden a new lease on life.

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Summer Checklist

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Drought-Tolerant Grasses

Drought! The word itself strikes fear into the hearts of gardeners everywhere. Scarce water resources, especially in hard hit areas such as California and Texas, are making it almost impossible to maintain traditional style lawns. That's why many people are replacing their lawns with groundcovers and native plants. But for those who want a lush green lawn, here are some less-thirsty options.

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Landscape Ideas

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Landscaping Ideas from the Missouri Botanic Garden

The Missouri Botanic Garden is an ideal spot for learning about garden design.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • St. Louis is home of the United States' oldest continuous-running botanical garden, a 79-acre paradise of plants including more than 1,000 types of bulbs, 265 varieties of roses, and 8,000 orchid plants. That makes the Missouri Botanical Garden a perfect place to visit in any season.

    • Celebrate Formal Style

      Well-done formal landscapes rarely fail to impress. Low hedges planted in a symmetrical pattern are a particularly striking way to add elegance in your landscape. Boost color by flanking the hedges with masses of annuals, bulbs, or herbs.

    • Leave Something to the Imagination

      Your garden will seem more intriguing and interesting if you can't see the entire thing at once. So use walls, shrubs, trees, or garden structures to entice visitors to explore more.

    • Plant En Masse

      One of the surest ways to put on a big show in the landscape is to plant as many of a kind of plant together as you have room for. This design trick works just as well with planting several varieties as it does if you choose a single species.

    • Consider the Backdrop

      Backgrounds can make or break a photograph -- and it's the same in the garden. Look for backdrops that accent your plantings. For example, a simple white fence covered with climbing roses is a lovely way to highlight a bed of spring-blooming bulbs.

    • Put a Bend in It

      Long straight lines tend to be visually dull. So create some excitement by adding curves. A round water feature edged in colorful tulips, for example, is a wonderful contrast to linear sidewalks and hedges.

    • Go Back to Nature

      The Japanese Garden at the Missouri Botanic Garden is a great place to get inspiration for creating a soothing Asian or naturalistic garden that looks good all year long.

    • Plan for All Seasons

      It's easy to create a garden that looks great in spring and summer, but it takes a more planning to pull off a great fall and winter presentation. Look for perennials, shrubs, and trees that offer good fall color or flowers. Select evergreens or plants with interesting branching structure or bark for winter interest.

    • Add the Sound of Water

      You'll see a number of wonderful water features in the garden, including this waterfall flanked by flowering azaleas and Japanese maples. Find ways to add water to your landscape to get the same wonderful sound, eye appeal, and cooling effect.

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      Make Pathways Special

      A pathway's main function is to lead from one place to another. But you can also make it a garden-design element by giving it a special shape or building it from an interesting material or combination of materials.

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      Plant for Fragrance

      Choose fragrant plants to give your garden extra sensory appeal. When planting, think about where you'll enjoy different fragrances the most. For example, soothing lavender and jasmine would be perfect for around a relaxing patio, but zesty citrus might be better outside your kitchen window.

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      Grow Indoors

      A burst of warm, humid air is just what the doctor ordered to get you through a long winter. So give your home a touch of the tropics by including a few indoor plants. They clean pollutants from the air, increase humidity, and improve moods.

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      Enjoy Flowering Vines

      Flowering vines add color to a garden without taking up extra space. Grow them on structures such as arbors or pergolas, or train them up a trellis along the wall of your home, garage, or garden shed.

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      Go Bold with Foliage

      One of the hottest trends is selecting plants with beautiful foliage to imbue the garden with color and interest. You'll see many great examples at the Missouri Botanical Garden, including annuals (such as coleus), perennials (such as lungwort), shrubs (such as ninebark), and even trees (such as purple-leaf maple).

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      Break Up Your Lawn

      If you don't need large expanses of grass, add island plantings for interest. The round beds that flank the brick path in this photo create visual appeal.

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