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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6 Steps to Make a Rain Garden

Rain gardens filter runoff and protect groundwater, especially after big rains. They also add unexpected beauty to low spots that tend to collect water and draw wildlife. Here's how to make a rain garden in your own landscape.

Many landscape spots used to be covered in grass, scrub, and forest, but as metro areas have grown, those have been replaced by homes, patios, driveways, and other hard surfaces. Those hard surfaces prevent water from slowly seeping into streams and underground aquifers. What is a rain garden? It's one solution to those types of drainage problems. Rain gardens are both beautiful and practical: They filter rainwater runoff and provide a home to birds and butterflies. Plus, they're easy to maintain. Here's how to make a rain garden in six easy steps.

Use your rain garden to manage runoff in an urban garden -- and find even more inspiring city landscape tips.

Choose the Right Site for Your Rain Garden
Take a good look at your yard: You'll need a low spot or depression that's at least 10 feet from your house in order to make a rain garden.

Clay soils work best to make a rain garden because they slow the percolation of water, holding water while allowing it to slowly drain. If you are unsure of the type of soil you have, complete a soil test, which can usually be done for a small fee through your state's extension service. If your test indicates sandy soil, you will need to add water-absorbing compost and topsoil to the rain-garden area.

Learn more about soil testing.

Select Rain-Garden Suitable Plants
As you make a rain garden, stick to plants that can tolerate wet sites. Many native plants work best, and seedlings are easier to establish than direct-sown seed when you are going to make a rain garden so you don't have to worry about the seed washing away. For that reason, native plant plugs work better than seeds. Also try to use native grasses, sedges, and rushes in at least one-third to one-half of the rain garden. Those plants possess extremely deep root systems.

To make a rain garden, other good plant choices include marginal plants. These plants typically grow near the margin, or edge, of a pond, and tolerate both extremes of moisture: They thrive in soggy soil but are content in dry spells too, bouncing back when water becomes available again. Those plants include 'Bengal Tiger' canna, scarlet rose mallow, yellow flag iris or Siberian iris, cardinal flower, and obedient plant.

Learn more about cannas.
Learn more about rose mallow.
Learn more about iris.
Learn more about cardinal flower.
Learn more about obedient plant.

Planting Ideas for Rain Gardens
As you choose plants to make a rain garden, consider planting in larger drifts for best overall impact. Also provide different types of foliage and texture as well as color; one good plant to consider is red osier dogwood.

In the final step to make a rain garden, arrange your plants, spacing according to label directions. Water well and mulch.

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