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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Popular in Gardening

Make a Birdbath

Give birds a place to drink or bathe in your yard with this easy project.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • A ground-level basin mimics natural water sources and makes your garden more attractive to birds. Place the basin near a tree to give birds a quick getaway in case predators attack and at least 15 feet from shrubs and tall perennials to prevent hiding spots for ambushers.

    • Step 1

      Start by gathering your materials and excavating a 15x6-inch bowl-shape hole that will serve as the mold for your birdbath. Cover the excavation with a 1-inch-deep layer of moist sand. Shape a flat area in the bottom of the mold so your completed basin will be stable. Spray the sand with water to keep it moist, and pat it smooth.

      Materials

      Sand

      Spray bottle filled with water

      Waterproof work gloves

      Dust mask

      50-pound bag quick-setting concrete

      5-gallon bucket

      Water

      Wheelbarrow

      Hoe

      Small decorative objects

      Sheet plastic

    • Step 2

      Wearing gloves and a dust mask, blend quick-setting concrete with water in a wheelbarrow or comparable container, following the package directions. Use about 40 pounds. If you use more, the birdbath will be extremely heavy to move. Add water from a 5-gallon bucket to the concrete mix gradually and sparingly, blending the ingredients with a hoe until the concrete resembles thick peanut butter.

    • Step 3

      Move the mixed concrete into the mold, placing it in a roughly round form. Work quickly -- the material begins setting in about 10 minutes. Once all the concrete is in place, shape it into a basin approximately 15 inches in diameter and 2-3 inches thick. The basin should slope gradually from the base to the rim. Form a lip around the outer edge.

    • Step 4

      Press recycled glass bits, shells, or other objects into the still-soft concrete for a decorative surface.

    • Step 5

      Spritz the basin with water so it cures properly. Cover the basin with sheet plastic; use a few rocks around the edge to hold it in place. Allow the concrete to cure for 3 - 7 days; longer curing enhances strength and durability.

    • Birdbath Basic: Keep it Shallow

      Select a rough-surface basin such as one made of concrete or stone that gradually becomes deeper (to 3 inches) and allows birds sure footing as they wade. Improve the traction of a smooth-surface birdbath by placing gravel in it.

    • Birdbath Basic: Make it Safe

      Situate a birdbath in the open where birds can access it -- and flee -- easily. Place the water source within quick-flight distance of trees. When setting a basin at ground level, avoid proximity to hiding places for predators. Placing a birdbath on a 3-foot-tall pedestal can make it less accessible to cats and other predators. Relocate your bath if it doesn't attract birds.

    • Birdbath Basic: Clean Regularly

      Refill the birdbath daily, and scrub it as needed to keep it clear of algae. Locate a birdbath within easy reach of the garden hose to facilitate cleaning. Every 10 days or so, scrub the bowl with a 10 percent bleach solution to kill bacteria or other disease-causing organisms.

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      Birdbath Basic: Add Sound

      Invite birds into your garden with the sound of moving water. You'll find various ways -- from a motorized dripper/mister to the solar-powered birdbath fountain shown here -- to create irresistible water music.

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