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:See More
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.View Slideshow
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.See More
Is your garden as attractive in the snow as it is in the summer? If not, follow these ideas and examples from our Test Garden manager Sandra Gerdes.
Evergreens are the backbone of any cold-climate winter garden. Evergreen trees and shrubs, like the compact Colorado spruce shown here (grown as a standard), contribute color, texture, and form regardless of snow cover.
Consider using evergreens in a variety of colors to add an extra dimension to the winter landscape. Here, the medium green of Serbian spruce (Picea omorika 'Pendula') contrasts with the steely blue foliage of Colorado spruce (Picea pungens 'Glauca Procumbens').
Many trees and shrubs color the landscape with fruit during the winter. The 'Donald Wyman' crabapples that circle the Test Garden's central plaza hold their fruit until spring, when they erupt in a spectacular display of flowers. Other plants with colorful winter fruit include holly, snowberry, bittersweet, and viburnum.
Evergreen perennials are a mainstay in the winter garden. Yucca (shown here) along with hellebores, pachysandra, euonymus, and waldsteinia are some of the best in our Test Garden.
In summer, vines like this sweet autumn clematis help soften the sharp lines of a fence top. They can provide the same service in winter. The effect is particularly striking after a heavy snowfall.
Structures of all sorts can offer eye-appeal in the winter garden. They can be as complex as this obelisk or as simple as a tepee constructed with bamboo poles.
The Test Garden shed is a good example of making utilitarian garden structures as attractive as possible. Although you might not have the means to create something as elaborate as this one, consider how a new coat of paint might turn your own garden shed into a contributing part of the winter landscape.
Trees and shrubs that hold their bare limbs horizontally, such as pagoda dogwood, will catch the snow and form striking designs in black and white. Trees with cascading branches, like our weeping crabapple 'Louisa', also provide interesting winter silhouettes.
When trees and shrubs lose their leaves in the fall, other portions of their anatomy come into better view. Trees with highly textured bark, like this Eastern redbud, should be a part of every garden, but especially one where winters are dark and cold. Other plants noted for their attractive bark include paperbark maple, redosier dogwood, and river birch.
There are many ways to add year-round beauty to a garden. One of the easiest is simply to use decorative garden ornaments designed to be left outdoors. Here, a tile set into a retaining wall reminds visitors of what this garden will be like in a few short months when the warmth return. Statues, fountains, and architectural elements like pedestals can help bring life to a dormant garden.
Even on the bleakest winter evening, there is something magical about pools of illumination from a well-placed light fixture, especially if it is also attractive during the day. This simple custom-designed fixture is one of several that light the path that meanders around the Test Garden.
You can encourage winter walks in the garden if you include paths that can take the traffic in any weather. This crushed rock path, outlined with limestone, invites visitors to explore the garden in every season.