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

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.

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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

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.

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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.

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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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Bird Feeding

Supply treats for your favorite birds, and some may sing for their supper.

Birds appreciate supplemental food and fresh water, especially in fall and winter. You can stop feedings in summer, but a continuing supply of food will encourage birds to nest and raise young in your yard.

Attract even more birds and butterflies to your yard; here's how.

Feeding Birds:

  • Different species feed at different levels. So feed birds on the ground, at tabletop level, from hanging feeders, and from feeders placed against tree trunks.
  • Place food near shrubs or trees so birds will have the security of an escape perch nearby.
  • Sprinkle small amounts of food on the ground until you can gauge what's eaten in a day. This will prevent extra food from rotting and making birds ill.
  • Rely on a good-quality birdseed mixture that will attract the widest variety of birds.
  • Serve sunflower seeds in a hanging or post feeder and niger seed in a tube feeder or fine-mesh bag hung from a wire or tree branch.
  • Buy beef suet from your butcher; place it in a mesh bag or in a wire basket and fasten it to the side of a tree or post. It's best to stop serving this when summer comes, as suet will go rancid in the heat.
  • If you live in a frost-free climate, serving sugar water (4 parts water to 1 part sugar) will make you popular year-round with hummingbirds, tanagers, grosbeaks, house finches, and some warblers. In colder climates, serve sugar water during warm months only.

Birds' Favorite Treats

Attract your favorite bird -- with its favorite food!

Hummingbird: sugar water

Bluebird: beef suet, peanuts

Blue Jay: beef suet, peanuts, sunflower seed

Red-Winged Blackbird: millet, peanuts

Cardinal: peanuts, sunflower seeds

American Goldfinch: millet, peanuts, sunflower seed

Baltimore Oriole: beef suet, peanuts, sugar water

Chickadee: beef suet, niger seed, peanuts, sunflower seed

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak: sunflower seed, sugar water

White-Breasted Nuthatch: beef suet, peanuts, sunflower seed

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