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

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Top Shade Perennials

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Landscape Ideas

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Elements of a Japanese Garden

Japanese gardens combine the basic elements of plants, water, and rocks with simple, clean lines to create a tranquil retreat. Learn how to make your own Zen garden.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • Make an Entrance

      Use a simple bamboo fence to block views of the world outside your Japanese garden. Make the entrance to your garden clear with a gate and attractive arbor.

    • Create Mystery

      A key element in Japanese garden style is creating vignettes that can't be viewed all at once. Here a winding path leads your eye past the stone pagoda and beckons exploration of what's around the next corner.

       

      See more photos from this Midwest Japanese meditation garden on our sister site, Midwest Living.

    • Grow Evergreens

      Most Japanese gardens rely on subtle differences in color and texture. Here conifers provide soothing shades of green for year-round interest. Some echo the pyramidal form of the pagoda while others frame the feature with their low, spreading branches.

    • Encourage Moss

      Moss makes the perfect groundcover in moist shady areas of the Japanese garden. Because moss doesn't tolerate foot traffic well, place stone steppers among the moss to allow passage without damage to the cushiony surface.

    • Make a Private Pavilion

      Create an intimate space in your Japanese garden with a teahouse or pavilion made of bamboo or wood. Use such a structure for entertaining or for viewing the serene landscape.

    • Try a Pagoda Pillar

      Stone lanterns shaped as pagodas are staples of Japanese gardens. They can echo the roofline of a teahouse or covered gate entries in addition to providing a charming glow in the evening garden.

    • Add Textural Contrast

      Shaded sections of the Japanese garden rely on subtle color contrast and bold textural differences to create interest. Here chartreuse and green hostas surround the base of a tree while variegated hakone grass softens the edge of the bed.

    • Create Structure from Plants

      Trees in a Japanese garden often are pruned into shapes that reveal their architectural form. This Japanese maple shows its zigzag branching pattern. Arching branches reach over the contrasting groundcover and reflect in a nearby pool of water.

    • Protect Yourself from Evil Spirits

      Legend has it that a zigzag bridge such as this one will protect you from evil spirits in the Japanese garden. The myth says that evil spirits can only travel in a straight line, so the bridge traps them, allowing you to escape to safety.

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      Provide an Island Getaway

      A small island in the middle of this pond creates the illusion of a secluded Japanese garden retreat, even though the arch of the bridge is too steep to safely walk over. With a larger space and longer span on the bridge, you could access the island.

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      Time for Reflection

      This small reflecting pool has a decidedly Japanese garden flavor. From the glass Japanese fishing float on its surface to the bamboo fountain, Japanese bloodgrass, stone pagoda lantern, and moss-covered rocks surrounding the pond, all elements blend in Asian style.

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      Feed the Fish

      Colorful koi and goldfish bring hours of enjoyment to the Japanese garden. Train your fish to come on command for feeding time. Goldfish are hardier than koi, but both types may need to be overwintered indoors in cold climates.

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      Go with the Flow

      The sound of moving water from waterfalls adds to the soothing nature of Japanese gardens. This stream is punctuated by two waterfalls and ponds. Papyrus, ornamental grasses, and groundcovers bring life to the stream edge.

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      Deter Deer Naturally

      This clever bamboo device is designed to frighten deer away from the Japanese garden. The upper bamboo tube drips water into the larger, lower tube. When the tube fills, the weight of the water causes it to clunk against a bamboo mat resting on a stone. The sudden sound startles deer and reportedly scares them away.

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      Braced with Bamboo

      Bamboo has many uses in Japanese gardens: It's grown as an ornamental plant, and it serves as an important structural component. This bamboo fence uses bamboo shoots as rails and smaller ones tied into latticework to follow the curve of the gravel path inlaid with steppingstones.

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      Graceful Gravel Garden

      Raked gravel surrounding stones represents ripples of waves around islands. This type of Zen or Japanese garden is designed for contemplative thought and is super-easy to maintain.

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      Artful Additions

      Personal touches in the Japanese garden should have a connection to nature. These polished egg-shape stones arranged in a bowl are a good example. Backed by the crimson foliage of a Japanese maple, they take on a sculptural quality.

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      Stone Streambed

      Japanese gardens usually utilize representation. Here, tumbled gray river rocks of uniform size have been carefully arranged in this meandering dry streambed to create the illusion of flowing water. Ferns and evergreens line the stream, softening its "shoreline."

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      Next Slideshow Vertical Garden Ideas

      Vertical Garden Ideas

      Gardening is a pastime appreciated by many, but what if tight quarters keep you from a sprawling green garden? It's time to start thinking vertically when it comes to your gardening projects this season, and -- lucky for you and your green thumb -- the options for executing your new vertical garden only go up from here! Get inspired by these clever vertical garden ideas.
      Begin Slideshow »

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