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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About the Test Garden

Learn about this oasis of greenery at our company headquarters.

Outside the offices of the corporate headquarters of Better Homes and Gardens®, near the heart of a traffic-clogged downtown, lies an oasis of green -- and yellow, and red, and purple -- you get the idea. This refreshing blast of color and quiet on half a city block in Des Moines is the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden®. And as gorgeous as our garden is, sometimes visitors get the wrong idea about it.

The plan below shows the general layout of the Better Homes and Gardens Test Garden. North is at the top.

Despite its name, the Test Garden is not just a garden. It is an outdoor studio for photographers, a venue for corporate entertaining, and a meeting and lunch spot for employees. While inner city, the garden is landscaped in the style of someone's backyard; or, actually, several someones' backyards because anywhere you take a look in our garden, if you turn ever so slightly, you will have a whole new vista. And so will our cameras, as we set about photographing how-to sequences and plant portraits and documenting the performance of new plants. In all, there are 22 distinct areas in the Test Garden.

Within the 22 different garden spaces are hundreds of perennials, trees, and shrubs -- and a changing palette of annuals and bulbs. The Better Homes and Gardens garden editors and Test Garden visitors find new plants tucked into shady corners, sunny borders, and colorful containers all the time. And when the BHG staff has finished evaluating and photographing plants, they often come out to make room for more new varieties. The Test Garden team continues to plant and replant (and replant) for many reasons, but mostly for our visitors.

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