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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October Tips: Southern California

In Southern California, September can provide some of the year's most pleasant weather. Celebrate with a planting spree.

It's a great time to plant perennials.
  • As the weather cools and the sun moves lower in the sky, reset your irrigation timer to water less frequently. However, don't change the number of minutes the system waters each time.

Planting Trees and Shrubs -- It's time to get planting again. The pleasant weather is great for planting perennials, ground covers, herbs, roses, and trees and shrubs. It's also ideal for planting native plants, trees, shrubs, and perennials. And don't forget native wildflowers. They'll germinate beautifully with the winter rains.

Planting Trees and Shrubs

  • It's also the time to plant beds with cool-season flowers, such as pansies, calendula, candytuft, foxgloves, snapdragons, sweet peas, stock, and sweet alyssum.
  • Also plant cool-season veggies and herbs, such as broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, cilantro, dill, fennel, lettuces and greens, parsley, potatoes, radishes, and peas.
  • In hot desert regions, warm-season plants can also be sown or transplanted, with the exception of corn and melons, which should be planted in late winter.
  • Plant South African bulbs, such as babiana, croscosmia, freesia, ipheion, ixia, and watsonia. Also plant oxalis and Tazetta-type narcissus, including paperwhites. Now is also a good time to plant lilies.
  • Pre-chill the bulbs that need it for spring bloom, including tulips, hyacinths, and crocuses. You can buy anemones, daffodils, grape hyacinths, and ranunculus now but don't plant them in the ground just yet. Store them in a cool, dry place, such as your garage, to plant next month.
  • In all but the very warmest regions, hold off on planting tropicals, which may be injured by frost. They include bananas, citrus, avocado, heliconia, gingers, palms, and hibiscus. It's best to plant them in late spring.

Dividing Perennials -- Now is a good time to divide perennials, especially those that bloom in the spring. This way, they'll have time to establish themselves before it's time to flower.

Dividing Perennials

  • Remove the remnants of the warm-season plantings, including warm-season annual flowers, herbs, and vegetables that have faded.

Smart Pruning -- Prune trees and shrubs as needed, cutting out dead branches and shaping plants in preparation for winter growth.

Smart Pruning

  • Cut back geraniums (Perlagonium) to renew them and prevent unsightly, leggy growth.
  • Fertilize lawns, using a product made especially for fall, if possible. Fall is also a good time to dethatch and aerate your lawn.
  • If you are overseeding with fescue or rye for winter, quit feeding and watering Bermuda lawns and overseed them now. Otherwise, continue to feed and water Bermuda lawns to delay their dormancy.

Feeding Roses -- Fertilize roses to encourage further bloom.

Feeding Roses


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