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

Top Shade-Loving Annuals

Transform shady spots in your backyard into a spring-to-fall shade flower show. Start with one or more of these easy shade-loving annuals.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Fuchsia

      Bring elegance to your garden with fuchsias. These graceful plants bear gorgeous pendulous flowers, making them ideal for hanging baskets. The petal-filled blooms appear in a number of shades of red, pink, and purple, and some selections offer variegated foliage. So enjoy these beautiful flowers -- and the hummingbirds they invariably attract.

    • Balsam

      Balsam is an old-fashioned plant closely related to impatiens. Like its cousin, it blooms in a wide range of shades, though balsam plants tend to be taller and the flowers much more intricate than impatiens. It also self-seeds, so plant it once and you're likely to enjoy the beautiful blooms for years.

    • Lobelia

      Add lobelias to bring rich, true blues in the garden. These trailing plants flower prolifically in spring and fall, almost covering themselves in flowers. Annual lobelia is a cool-season plant that does best in shade in the South, though it loves partial shade in the North.

    • Torenia

      Sometimes called wishbone flower, torenia is a charming annual with beautiful trumpet-shape blooms in a range of shades from blues and purples to pinks and yellows. And versatile torenia is available in both upright and trailing varieties, making it perfect for beds and borders as well as containers.

      Test Garden Tip: Torenia is a good plant for attracting hummingbirds.

    • Oxalis

      Golden-leaf selections of oxalis are the perfect complement to browallia; blue and gold always look good together. Oxalis varieties may offer attractive green or purple foliage, as well, and are sometimes called shamrocks because of their leaf shape. They also produce pretty pink, white, or yellow flowers. Some varieties are happy in sun or shade; others need protection from the sun during the hottest part of the day.

    • Impatiens

      Impatiens are one of the most popular plants for shade -- and it's easy to see why. They bloom constantly from spring to fall, offer flowers in just about every color, and couldn't be easier to grow. Look for New Guinea impatiens, which bear larger blossoms and stockier stems; double impatiens, which feature petal-filled, roselike flowers; or mini impatiens, which cover themselves in small blooms.

    • Coleus

      Grow coleus for its fantastic foliage -- there are hundreds of varieties, and they feature leaves splashed, spotted, streaked, and otherwise colored with shades of chartreuse, purple, pink, red, black, and green. Make eye-catching combinations by growing a few varieties of coleus together -- or complement your favorite flowers with coleuses that have similar leaf colors.

    • Perilla

      A coleus look-alike, perilla also features fabulous foliage, though in a more limited range of colors. Varieties such as 'Magilla' (shown here) offer variegated leaves. Older selections have pure purple foliage, tend to self-seed freely in the garden, and are sometimes used in Asian cooking.

    • Browallia

      Browallia is a surefire pick for adding rich color to your shade garden. This delightful annual bears star-shape flowers in blue, lavender, and white over emerald-green foliage. It's a fast grower that does well in shade or sun. In warm-climate areas it may self-seed, but not to the point of being considered a pest.

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      Polka-Dot Plant

      Add a dose of whimsy to your garden with polka-dot plant. It bears pretty, purple-green leaves that, as the name suggests, are decoratively speckled in shades of pink and white. Native to Madagascar, this tropical plant thrives in hot, humid conditions. Adaptable polka-dot plant is also relatively drought-tolerant.

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      Sweet Potato Vine

      You can't beat this fast-growing plant for bold summer color. It produces bronze, purple, or chartreuse foliage depending on the variety and grows quickly once temperatures heat up. Use it in containers or as a dramatic groundcover.

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      Like lobelia, violas are cool-season plants that can take full sun in early spring and fall, but they'll bloom a bit later into the summer if you grow them in the shade, especially in the South. Violas bear flowers in a dizzying range of shades including many wonderful bicolors such as the 'Sorbet Coconut Swirl' shown here.

      Note: Violas may be short-lived perennials in some areas, though they're often grown as annuals.

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      Beefsteak Plant

      Pack a lot of color in a small area with beefsteak plant's bold foliage. Available in shades of purple, pink, lime, and cream, the leaves look as great as coleus. It's easy to grow -- in fact, you can even bring containers of beefsteak plant indoors as a houseplant for a bold shot of winter color.

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      Next Slideshow Top New Annuals for 2015

      Top New Annuals for 2015

      2015 is the year for new annuals. Here is a colorful collection of what you can pot up this spring!
      Begin Slideshow »



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