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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How to Plant Spring-Flowering Bulbs

Follow these simple tips in fall for beautiful results in spring.

For the best effect, plant bulbs in large drifts rather than single file.

Plant hardy bulbs anytime in fall before the soil freezes, but it's best to plant them early enough so the root systems can grow before extremely cold weather arrives. In some climates, you can plant until Thanksgiving, even Christmas. Late-planted bulbs will develop roots in spring and may bloom later than normal; they'll get back on schedule the following year. Water the bulbs after planting to stimulate the roots to grow.

Positioning bulbs at their proper depth helps ensure their longevity. Generally bulbs should be planted so the bottom rests at a depth that's two-and-a-half times the bulb's diameter. In well-drained or sandy soil, plant an inch or two deeper to increase longevity and discourage rodents.

Related Chart: Planting Depth for Spring Bulbs

Related Slide Show: Best Bulbs for Spring

Interplanting bulbs that bloom at about the same time gives you twice the show in half the space.

Because bulbs look best planted in groups, you are better off using a garden spade instead of a bulb planter, which encourages you to plant bulbs singly. A spade makes it easier to set bulbs side by side in large groups. Plant groups of bulbs in holes no smaller than a dinner plate, or dig wide, curving trenches and position the bulbs in the bottom.

Layer different types of bulbs from bottom to top in the same hole to create companion plantings or a succession of bloom in a given location. For example, dig a 6-inch-deep hole and place several Dutch hyacinths in the bottom, lightly cover them with soil, then plant a handful of grape hyacinths at a 5-inch depth. The two types of hyacinths bloom at the same time in spring. The grape hyacinths create a softening skirt beneath the more massive Dutch hyacinths. As another benefit, the leaves of the grape hyacinth bulbs appear in autumn and remain all winter, providing a marker for the dormant Dutch hyacinth bulbs, so you won't inadvertently plant on top of the hyacinths or dig them up.

Interplanting provides maximum flowers in the smallest space and eliminates bare spots where bulbs go dormant. To create a succession of bloom and foliage, plant perennials around the bulb holes. As the bulb foliage dwindles, the perennials will grow up, camouflaging the bulbs' yellowing leaves. This interplanting technique works in both formal and informal gardens.

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