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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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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How to Improve Garden Soil

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Top Shade Perennials

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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.

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Popular in Gardening

Country-Style Stakes

These ornamental copper cutouts will enliven your garden year-round.

Simple skills and materials turn copper sheeting into charming garden stakes.

Modeled after antique weather vanes, these designs are first cut out, then hammered to achieve a distressed look. Finished size of the rooster is 13-1/2 x 15 inches; the pig is 10 x 15 inches; the arrow is 14 x 4 inches; and the sandpiper is 9 x 15 inches.

What You Need:

(For each figure)

  • 18 x 20-inch piece of heavy copper sheeting (for stakes)
  • 30-inch length of 1-1/2-inch-wide wood lath
  • Three 3/4-inch-long brass bolts with corresponding nuts
  • 9 inches of 3/8-inch-diameter jute rope (for pig's tail)
  • Scrap of a 3/4-inch-diameter dowel
  • Sandpaper
  • Tin snips
  • Saw
  • Drill and bits
  • Tracing paper
  • Screwdriver
  • Wrench
  • Hammer
  • Polyurethane (optional)


1. Cut out shapes. Enlarge pattern (next page) until one square equals 2 inches; transfer design onto tracing paper. Trace shape onto copper sheeting. Cut out using tin snips.

2. Cut one garden stake arrow for each figure.

3. Sand the rough edges of each piece.

4. Distress copper, if desired, by pounding randomly with a hammer.

5. For pig's tail, drill a hole as indicated on pattern. Tie dampened rope to pig; wrap rope around dowel until dry.

6. Complete assembly. Cut one end of each wooden stake diagonally. Position a figure on a stake with 2 inches of the stake extending beyond the bottom edge of the figure (see patterns for indication of placement). Drill two holes through both the copper and the stake. Fasten figures to stakes with bolts and nuts.

7. Finish by brushing on a coat of polyurethane, or allow them to weather the elements and take on the classic verdigris of aged copper.

Enlarge these patterns on a copier, or draw a 2 x 2-inch grid on large sheet of paper and use the pattern to guide your drawing of the pattern you wish to use.


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