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:

See More

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.

View Slideshow

Summer Checklist

Summer is a gardener¿s busiest season. If you¿re short on time or not sure what to do, follow this easy summer gardening checklist to keep your lawn and garden in great shape all season long.

View Video

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.

See More

How to Improve Garden Soil

Many homeowners inherit bad garden soil ¿ but you don¿t have to live with it! Learn how to get the best garden soil possible through amendments, composting, and more.

View Video

Top Shade Perennials

Shade plants are perfect for those tough spots in your yard. Learn about the best shade-loving perennials, including flowering shade perennials, partial shade perennials, and full-shade perennials.

View Video

Landscape Ideas

Landscape ideas provide inspiration, and studies show that upgrading your landscape will add value to your home. Here are some great landscape ideas to improve your home's outward appeal.

View Slideshow
Popular in Gardening

Make a Living Succulent Picture

Create your own living mosaic to hang on a wall, indoors or out.

X

    Everything in this slideshow

    • Cara and Will Meyers, owners of DIG Gardens in Santa Cruz, California, are on top of the vertical-gardening trend. "Vertical gardens are a great use of space, especially if you have a small terrace," says Cara Meyers, who leads workshops on designing and assembling picture-frame planters in DIG's urban courtyard. "Like hanging art in your home, living pictures can help define an outdoor room by becoming a focal point or a destination."

      Succulents are a natural choice for vertical gardens because they grow slowly and have low water requirements. "Our plant palette is chosen for texture and architectural appeal rather than flowers and instant color," Meyers says. "Succulents have such rich hues and textures. Mixing them in beautiful patterns is quite impressive!"

    • Vertical Gardening 101

      I attended one of Meyers' workshops, held in DIG Garden's urban courtyard, and learned how to create a living succulent picture.

      Meyers offers these design tips to get your creative ideas growing:

      -- Keep the price down by using an inexpensive flea market picture frame and free cuttings of succulents from your garden.

      -- Choose varieties that stay small. "Many hens-and-chicks, Echeveria, and sedums are great for this purpose," Meyers says. "You won't have to worry about them overgrowing the small space."

      -- Limit your palette to three or four colors. Select different varieties of succulents within that color scheme.

      -- Create a river of color through the picture. Form a diagonal swath of one color, either with one type of plant or different varieties in that color scheme.

      -- Give your picture a focal point, such as a cluster of succulents or a singular large specimen such as Aeonium. "It will eventually outgrow your picture," Meyers says. "But you can always pull it out and add something else later on."

    • Step 1: Take Cuttings

      It's easy to take cuttings of established succulents growing in your garden. With small pruning snips, cut stem sections 1-2 inches long. Remove lower leaves. (Roots will sprout from these leaf nodes.) Let cuttings dry on a tray for a few days before you plant them. This curing process causes cut ends to callus (form a thin layer of cells). "It's OK if the cuttings shrivel up a little bit," Meyers says.

    • Step 2: Gather Materials

      You can use any frame to create a living succulent picture. We chose an antique wood frame for a vintage look. "I scour thrift and antiques stores to find neat little frames in all shapes and sizes," Meyers says.

      Here's what you'll need to complete the project:

      Picture frame with back and glass panel removed
      Shadow box made of redwood or cedar 1x3s, cut to fit the back of the frame
      Hammer
      Nails
      1/2-inch hardware cloth, cut to fit the inside dimensions of the frame
      Staple gun
      Staples
      1/4-inch plywood backing, cut to fit the back of the shadow box
      Paint
      Clean cloth
      All-purpose potting soil
      Succulent cuttings
      Chopstick

    • Step 3: Add a Shadow Box

      A shadow box adds depth to the back of the picture frame, allowing space for soil and plants. Use naturally water-resistant redwood or cedar 1x3s, cut to the dimensions of the back of the frame. Nail or screw into place.

    • Step 4: Set Hardware Cloth Inside the Frame

      With the frame still facedown, insert hardware cloth. The 1/2-inch grid is small enough to hold potting soil in, yet large enough to accommodate stems. Staple hardware cloth to the edges of the frame.

    • Step 5: Add a Backing

      Lay 1/4-inch plywood backing on the back of the shadow box. Secure with nails.

    • Step 6: Paint the Frame

      Turn the frame face up. Brush on a coat of outdoor paint to change the color of the frame and offer some protection against the elements. For an antique effect, let the paint dry for a few minutes and then wipe the frame with a clean cloth. If desired, paint the underlying box, too.

    • Step 7: Add Soil

      Allow the frame to dry completely before filling the box with potting soil. Pour soil on top of the hardware cloth, using your hands to push it through the openings. Shake the frame periodically to evenly disperse the soil. Add more soil until it reaches the bottom of the wire grid.

    • 10 of 15

      Step 8: Poke a Hole

      On a flat surface, lay out succulent cuttings in the design you want in the frame. Push a chopstick or pencil through one square of the wire grid and into the soil. Meyers recommends starting near one corner of the frame. "I love to create a wave or river through the picture," she says. "It gives the eyes somewhere to drift."

    • 11 of 15

      Step 9: Fill In with Plants

      Place the stem of a succulent cutting, such as this mother of pearl plant (Graptopetalum paraguayense), into the planting hole, allowing the leaf rosette to rest on top of the wire grid. It's not necessary to dip cuttings in rooting hormone -- succulents root easily in soil.

    • 12 of 15

      Step 10: Create a Design

      Tuck in larger plants first, followed by smaller ones. Plant as close together as the grid allows. Depending on plant size, not every square will be planted. After planting, you may see hints of the wire, but as the succulents grow, they'll close the gaps

    • 13 of 15

      Step 11: Let It Root

      After planting, keep the living succulent picture flat and out of direct sunlight for a week or two to allow cuttings to form roots along the stems. (For additional security, support stems with floral pins or crafts clips.) Gradually increase light levels to full sun exposure. Do not water the first two weeks.

    • 14 of 15

      Step 12: Display Your Picture

      Set the living succulent picture on a table or shelf where it can be propped up against a wall. Or hang the frame on a wall with sturdy picture hooks. Water succulents once a month -- lay the frame on a flat surface and thoroughly moisten the soil. Make sure the frame is dry before you hang it up again. In hot areas, protect plants from midday sun. Indoors, set a living succulent picture near a south-facing window.

      Succulent Tip: These plants also make great succulent wreaths!

    • 15 of 15
      Next Slideshow Great Containers for Gardening

      Great Containers for Gardening

      If you love planting container gardens but don't know here to start, check out our slide show of 25 recipes you can follow for success. Find your perfect container for gardening in our collection of container garden recipes.
      Begin Slideshow »

      Related

    close
    close
    close
    close
    close

    Loading... Please wait...