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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Even the so-called stink lily variety is a gorgeous plant.

Fritillaria, commonly called fritillary, has been maligned because one of its more than 100 species emits a musky scent and bears the common name stink lily.

Don't judge all fritillaria by this standard. (In fact, the so-called stink lily, shown, is a gorgeous plant.)

Species of fritillaria range in height from 3 inches to 4 feet. Early-spring bloomers, fritillarias usually stay in flower for more than two weeks.

Learn more about beautiful bulbs such as endymion.

Latin Name: Fritillaria imperialis Common Name: Crown-imperial, stink lily Zone: 5-8 Description: The largest of the fritillary family, crown-imperial grows 2 to 4 feet tall and produces foliage-capped clusters of nodding blooms. Although the blooms emit a musky odor, which earned the plant the unpleasant moniker of stink lily, don't let this deter you from including crown-imperial in your garden. Its stellar height and vivid colors make it an excellent bedding selection. Planted in groups of three to six plants, the imposing crown-imperial holds court above smaller bulbs. The red-orange variety 'Aurora' is spectacular. 'Lutea,' an all-yellow variety, also is impressive.

Latin Name: Fritillaria meleagris Common Name: Guinea-hen tulip, checkered lily, snake's-head lily Zone: 4-8 Description: The unusual appearance of this fritillary species has spawned such descriptive names as guinea-hen tulip (comparing the checkered petals to the mottled feathers of a hen) and snake's-head lily (for its nodding bloom). The 6- to 8-inch-tall plants produce delicate bell-shaped maroon or cream blooms. In the wild, this species gravitates toward shaded areas and riverbanks. It naturalizes well and is also a good choice for rock gardens. Fritillaria meleagris 'Alba' is an all-white variety.

Latin Name: Fritillaria michailovskyi Zone: 4-9 Description: The nodding yellow-and-purple flowers of F. michailovskyi are a charming addition to any garden. In sun or partial shade, F. michailovski appears early in spring and grows up to 8 inches tall.

Latin Name: Fritillaria persica Common Name: Persian fritillary Zone: 4-9 Description: The long, straight stems of this fritillary are lined with many bell-shaped brownish-purple flowers. Loving full sun, these plants grow to 30 inches tall. They are magnificent paired with the crown-imperial but are more sweetly fragrant.

Location: Full sun to part shade (shade during hottest part of the day) When to plant: Fall General Instructions: Plant fritillaria bulbs as soon as they are available from your garden center because the bulbs tend to dry out quickly. Taller fritillaria, such as crown-imperial and F. persica, should be planted 4 to 6 inches deep in well-drained soil, with 8 inches of space between bulbs. Smaller varieties such as F. meleagris should be planted 4 inches deep and 2 inches apart.

In the spring when the shoots have emerged, fertilize lightly. Fritillaria bloom best if left undisturbed. Once the blooms are spent, allow the foliage to die back naturally. To propagate, lift and divide the bulbs in the summer by removing the small bulbs from around the large one and replanting.


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