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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Family-Style Backyard Garden Design

This landscape plan was designed to address the needs of an active family with children.

This landscape plan turns a modest-sized backyard into a garden with something for every member of the family.

Assessing Your Family's Landscape Needs

Key Features

  • Patio. The brick patio area provides a solid footing for tables and chairs, and allows a view of the entire yard.
  • Formal bed and fountain. This small garden is designed to be viewed from inside the house. Additionally, the fountain's sound helps mask noise from the surrounding yards and streets.
  • Lawn. A small panel of grass invites children's play. It is small enough to be easily resodded when worn out, and provides a visual break from structures and plants. A circular walkway provides a neat transition between lawn and planting beds, and offers a path to stroll year round.
  • Decorative arbor. Helping to soften the corner of the yard, this simple structure provides a shady refuge. Paving stones below the arbor eliminate mowing.
  • Play area. Bordered by sunken logs for sitting or hopping on, the shaded play area provides hours of entertainment and activity for children. The triangular sandbox is especially inviting to younger kids.
  • Vegetable garden. Separated from the play areas by a low fence, the vegetable garden is also protected from pets.

Patio Planning, Step-by-Step

Legend

(A) Yew (Taxus x media 'Densiformis'); Zones 4-7. (B) Hydrangea 'Annabelle'; Zones 4-9. (C) Astilbe 'Sprite'; Zones 4-8. (N) Hosta 'Fragrant Bouquet'; Zones 3-9. (D) Coralbells (Heuchera 'Pewter Moon'); Zones 4-8. (E) Anemone 'Robustissima'; Zones 5-8. (F) Ajuga 'Bronze'; Zones 3-9. (G) Hosta 'Patriot'; Zones 3-9. (H) Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium); Zones 5-9. (I) Astilbe 'Ostrich Plume'; Zones 4-9. (K) Serviceberry (Amelachier x grandiflora); Zones 5-8. (P) Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii); Zones 4-8.

Best Flowering Trees and Shrubs

Legend

(G) Hosta 'Patriot'; Zones 3-9. (M) Rhododendron 'Aglo'; Zones 4-8. (O) Boxwood (Buxus microphylla); Zones 6-9. (N) Hosta 'Fragrant Bouquet'; Zones 3-9. (P) Catmint (Nepeta x faassenii); Zones 4-8. (R) Salvia 'May Night'; Zones 5-9. (H) Northern sea oats (Chasmanthium latifolium); Zones 5-9. (W) Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia); Zones 5-9. (U) Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia fulgida); Zones 4-9. (T) Rose (Rosa 'The Fairy'); Zones 5-9. (V) Phlox 'David'; Zones 4-8. (Q) Sedum 'Vera Jameson'; Zones 4-9. (X) Geranium 'Biokovo'; Zones 5-8. (Y) Pussy willow (Salix caprea); Zones 6-8.

Legend

(B) Hydrangea 'Annabelle'; Zones 4-9. (FF) Willow (Salix 'Prairie Cascade'); Zones 2-5. (BB) Miscanthus 'Silver Arrow'; Zones 4-9. (CC) Salvia 'Purple Rain'; Zones 6-8. (AA) Sunflower (Helianthus annuus); Annual. (Z) Nasturtium (Tropaeolum spp.); Annual. (DD) Semidwarf apple (Malus 'Honeygold'); Zones 5-8. (EE) Summersweet (Clethra 'Ruby Spice'); Zones 3-9.

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