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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Summer Checklist

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Drought-Tolerant Grasses

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Landscape Ideas

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Popular in Gardening

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Larkspur

Consolida ajacis

The pale and dark blues of larkspur are some of the prettiest you'll find in the garden. And they come with little effort. Plant larkspur once and allow the flower heads to ripen, scattering their seed, and you'll be assured of a steady supply of larkspur in your garden for decades. All you'll need to do is pull out the ones you don't want!

Larkspur is basically an annual version of delphinium, an all-time favorite perennial. Larkspur produces lovely spikes of blue, purple, pink, or white flowers in spring and summer. They look best clustered in small patches.

Like many cool-season annuals, it's a good winter-blooming plant for the Deep South. Larkspur is so easy to grow that it often self seeds in the garden, coming back year after year. Plant larkspur from seed directly in the garden in early spring. Larkspur doesn't like to be transplanted. It prefers rich, well-drained soil and ample water.

When hot weather strikes and larkspur starts to brown and fade, pull out plants, but be sure to leave a few to brown and reseed.

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Part Sun, Sun

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From 1 to 8 feet

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6-12 inches wide

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how to grow Larkspur

more varieties for Larkspur

Cloudy Skies larkspur
Cloudy Skies larkspur
Consolida Cloudy Skies Mix bears blooms in shades of purple, blue, white, and silver on 3-foot-tall plants.
Imperial larkspur
Imperial larkspur
Consolida Imperial Strain bears stately spikes in shades of pink, rose, blue, purple, and white on strong 4-foot stems.
Sublime larkspur
Sublime larkspur
Consolida Sublime Mix bears flower-packed spikes in a variety of shades on 4-foot stems.

plant Larkspur with

Cosmos
You can depend on this cottage-garden favorite to fill your garden with color all season long. The simple, daisylike flowers appear in cheery shades on tall stems that are great for cutting. The lacy foliage makes a great backdrop for shorter plants, as well. Cosmos often self-seeds in the garden, so you may only have to plant it once, though the colors can appear muddy or odd in the reseeders.Plant cosmos from seed directly in the ground in spring. Or start from established seedlings. This flower doesn't like fertilizing or conditions that are too rich, which causes the foliage to be large and lush but with fewer blooms. It does best with average moisture but will tolerate drought.
Snapdragon
Few gardens should be without the easy charm of snapdragons. They get their name from the fact that you can gently squeeze the sides of the intricately shaped flower and see the jaws of a dragon head snap closed. The blooms come in gorgeous colors, including some with beautiful color variations on each flower. Plus, snapdragons are an outstanding cut flower. Gather a dozen or more in a small vase and you'll have one of the prettiest bouquets around.Snapdragons are especially useful because they're a cool-season annual, coming into their own in early spring when the warm-season annuals, such as marigolds and impatiens, are just being planted. They're also great for fall color.Plant snapdragon in early spring, a few weeks before your region's last frost date. Deadhead regularly for best bloom and fertilize regularly. Snapdragons often self-seed in the landscape if not deadheaded, so they come back year after year, though the colors from hybrid plants will often will be muddy looking. In mild regions, the entire plant may overwinter if covered with mulch.Shown above: 'Rocket Red' snapdragon
Marguerite Daisy
For a spectacular show during cool weather, plant marguerite daisy. Often confused with Shasta daisy, marguerite is more mounded and shrubby. Different types also come in pink with a bloom that more resembles purple coneflower.Marguerite daisy's hallmark is that it loves cool weather -- and blooms best in most areas in spring and fall, though it will continue to bloom through the summer in mild-summer areas. Even when it's not in bloom, the dark green, finely cut foliage looks good against just about any light-color flower.
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