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

How to Hybridize a Rose

Grow an original rose with a few simple instructions.

Use each plant as both male and female parent.

To begin, choose parents with many common strengths and no shared weaknesses. If one parent has a weakness, choose the other with a strength that balances it. Some varieties create poor offspring as the mother, but good offspring as the father, and vice versa.

Unless you live where the growing season is long, start your process during the first flush of flowers so the plant has the whole season to mature the seed.

Click here to learn more about the principles of growing healthy roses.

Instructions:

Steps 1-3

1. Choose six or more buds on the mother rosebush. They should still be tightly closed.

2. Carefully remove the petals and anthers from several buds of the mother plant. Use nail clippers for this delicate task. (The anthers are the tiny stalks clustered in the flower center; the heads are where pollen is stored. The anthers should not be shedding pollen yet when you remove them.) A group of pistils in the center of the flower will remain. Cover the clipped buds loosely with a paper envelope so you can find them again and to keep out pollinating insects.

3. Let the prepared buds sit for one day. They will be ready to hybridize when the stigmas, or tops of the pistils, become shiny and wet. (Don't wait longer than two days.)

Steps 4-7

4. When the prepared buds are ready, remove an opened bloom from the father plant. (The anthers will be open and shedding powdery pollen.) Carefully snip off the petals; leave the anthers intact. Use this flower like a paintbrush to carefully dab pollen onto all of the prepared mother flowers. Cover again with the paper envelope. If you are successful, the base of the mother flower will swell into a rose hip, the fruit of the rose, within one or two weeks.

5. Leave the rose hips until they turn dark after a frost. Then harvest them and store them in a sealed plastic bag in the refrigerator until spring.

6. In spring -- a month or two before the last frost date -- cut the rose hips open, and plant the seeds in seed-starting mix or potting soil in a plug tray. Set the tray in a 70 to 75 degree F greenhouse or in a southern-exposure window. Keep moist and fertilize regularly with diluted balanced fertilizer.

7. The seedlings should grow big enough to bloom within six weeks. Choose the ones you wish to nurture into full rosebushes (probably less than 5 percent), and send the other scientific attempts to the compost pile. Pot the survivors in individual pots until they can be planted in the garden.

Over time, you'll discover other flaws, such as disease problems, lack of reblooming, or weak plants. From several hundred seeds, you may keep only one plant, depending on your taste, but it's your creation and the world has never seen its exact likeness before.

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