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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    • Evening Garden

      If you work away from home during the day, evening may be the best time for you to enjoy your garden. Why not plant a garden specifically for twilight pleasure? This free-form plot is designed to snuggle up to a deck or patio. Flowers in pale shades and silvery foliage glow in the dwindling light, while floral perfumes scent the evening air. If a fence or trellis is nearby, plant it with annual moonflower vines to complete the romantic effect. This garden combines shade-loving perennials, placed under the birch tree, with perennials for sun, such as the aster, artemisia, and veronica.

    • Side Garden

      This garden plan transforms the short walk from front yard to back into a stroll through a colorful shade garden. It brings beauty to the strip of ground between the side of a house and the property line -- an area that is often drab and neglected. The gently curving path can be constructed of 2-foot pieces of flagstone, crushed rock, shredded bark, or brick. The perennials all perform well in partial to full shade. Foliage textures vary from lacy ferns to bold hostas, and flowering perennials provide seasonal highlights.

    • Foundation Garden

      A colorful alternative to the standard all-green landscape, this foundation planting mixes broad-leafed evergreen shrubs and a sculptural tree with flowering perennials and groundcovers. Lay a path of stepping stones around the front of the border to define the garden's shape and to provide access to the side yard. If you would like the color scheme to emphasize pinks, change Daylily 'Eenie Weenie' to Daylily 'Minnie Pearl'; Serbian Bellflower to Oenothera 'Siskiyou'; and Silver-and-Gold Chrysanthemum to Ajania pacifica 'Pink Ice.' The daffodils and tulips at the bottom of the plant list are optional. Plant in sun or partial shade.

    • Shade Garden

      Here's a garden that will thrive in the cool shade of mature trees -- a difficult growing situation where lawns languish. Perennials were chosen for a progression of flower colors from spring through fall. Pink and lavender shades predominate, with touches of silver, white, pale yellow, and chalky blue foliage. The foliage alone creates a pleasing composition: bold leaves are contrasted with fine, lacy textures and bright leaf patterns. The four varieties of spring-blooming bulbs at the bottom of the plant list are optional. They bloom before the perennials to give this garden an earlier start on the season.

    • Shared Garden

      If your next-door neighbor loves to garden as much as you do-or at least appreciates the beauty of flowers-here's a garden for you to share. It is designed to span two properties in the area between the houses. Because of the variable mix of sun and shade to be found between buildings, plants that do best in sun or partial shade were chosen. The perfect cone of a dwarf Alberta spruce is the centerpiece, flanked by a pair of matching white-flowered viburnum shrubs. The beds are balanced and symmetrical but not identical. If you like, add the optional daffodils and tulips for some extra spring color.

    • Patio Garden

      Flowers and fragrances surround a patio or deck in this garden of perennials. And why not plant your garden right next to where you relax? Many of these perennials boast long seasons of bloom. They're joined by one shrub (the dwarf mockorange) and flowering clematis vines on lattice panels. The lattice panels, which lend a sense of enclosure, can be extended for extra privacy. Or replace them, if you prefer, with an alternative plant -- columnar buckthorn shrubs. This garden is best in a spot with at least six hours of sunlight daily.

    • Spring Shade Border

      It only takes six different types of plants and a shady border to create this springtime garden plan. Start by planting the bleeding hearts and then add the yellow, daisy-like flowers, the leopardsbane, to give the garden some height. Taper the garden down by planting the bergenias and coralbells. Foilage to use includes bugleweed and hostas.

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      Next Slideshow Small-Garden Plans and Ideas

      Small-Garden Plans and Ideas

      Add big color to your compact landscape with our collection of ideas for small garden plans.
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