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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Annual vinca

Catharanthus roseus

You've gotta love annual vinca -- it really delivers. It will tolerate a wide variety of conditions and still keep it up with almost unreal-looking, glossy green flowers and pretty pink, lavender, or red flowers that look like tiny parasols.

Whether the summer is dry or wet, hot or cold, vinca plugs along unfazed. It makes a great container plant. Or plant it in a bed or border, grouping at least eight or more together for best effect.

Plant established seedlings in spring after all danger of frost has passed. Vinca withstands drought but does best with moderate moisture. Fertilize occasionally. Like impatiens, this plant tends to be "self-cleaning" and needs little deadheading.

Shown above: Pretty in Pink vinca

Light:

Sun

Type:

Height:

1 to 3 feet

Width:

6-16 inches wide

Flower Color:

Seasonal Features:

Problem Solvers:

Zones:

2-11

how to grow Annual vinca

more varieties for Annual vinca

'Jaio Dark Red' vinca
'Jaio Dark Red' vinca
Catharanthus 'Jaio Dark Red' produces rich magenta-red flowers on 1-foot-tall plants.
'Mediterranean Deep Rose' vinca
'Mediterranean Deep Rose' vinca
Catharanthus 'Mediterranean Deep Rose' produces rich magenta-rose flowers on trailing plants perfect for containers.
'Pacifica Burgundy Halo' vinca
'Pacifica Burgundy Halo' vinca
Catharanthus 'Pacifica Burgundy Halo' produces deep red-pink flowers with a large white eye. It grows 12 inches tall.
'Pacifica Punch' vinca
'Pacifica Punch' vinca
Catharanthus 'Pacifica Punch' is an award-winning selection that produces deep rose-pink flowers with a magenta eye. It grows 12 inches tall.
'Pretty in Pink' vinca
'Pretty in Pink' vinca
Catharanthus 'Pretty in Pink', an award-winning variety, offers soft pink flowers on compact 1-foot-tall plants.
'Pretty in White' vinca
'Pretty in White' vinca
Catharanthus 'Pretty in White' bears large, pure-white flowers on compact plants.
'Tropical Rose' vinca
'Tropical Rose' vinca
Catharanthus 'Tropical Rose' produces large, bold magenta-red flowers on compact plants.

plant Annual vinca with

Angelonia
Angelonia is also called summer snapdragon, and once you get a good look at it, you'll know why. It has salvia-like flower spires that reach a foot or 2 high, but they're studded with fascinating snapdragon-like flowers with beautiful colorations in purple, white, or pink. It's the perfect plant for adding bright color to hot, sunny spaces. This tough plant blooms all summer long with spirelike spikes of blooms. While all varieties are beautiful, keep an eye out for the sweetly scented selections. While most gardeners treat angelonia as an annual, it is a tough perennial in Zones 9-10. Or, if you have a bright, sunny spot indoors, you can even keep it flowering all winter.
Calibrachoa
Like a tiny petunia on steroids, calibrachoa (also called million bells) grows and flowers at an amazing rate. Often confused for a petunia, million bells makes a splash no matter where you put it in the garden. It is perfect for containers or hanging baskets but also can be tucked into the front of a border where it will spill out onto sidewalk or patio. In fact, it may be the ultimate "spiller" for container gardens as long as you give it ample water and fertilizer, which it needs to fuel its astounding growth.Shown above: MiniFamous Compact Red calibrachoa
Lisianthus
Lisianthus flowers make people ooh and ahh. Some varieties of this annual look like a blue rose. It's such an elegant flower you'd never guess it's native to American prairies. And lisianthus is one of the best cut flowers -- it will last in the vase for 2 to 3 weeks.Lisianthus can be challenging to grow. They're extremely tricky to grow from seed, so start with established seedlings. Plant them in rich, well-drained soil in full sun after all danger of frost has passed. Keep moist but do not overwater. Taller varieties of lisianthus often need staking to keep their long stems from breaking, but newer dwarf varieties are more carefree.
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