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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Salvia

Salvia

There are few gardens that don't have at least one salvia growing in them. Whether you have sun or shade, a dry garden or lots of rainfall, there's an annual salvia that you'll find indispensable. All attract hummingbirds, especially the red ones, and are great picks for hot, dry sites where you want tons of color all season. Most salvias don't like cool weather, so plant them outdoors after all danger of frost has passed.

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more varieties for Salvia

Black and Blue sage
Black and Blue sage
Salvia guaranitica 'Black and Blue' is a blue-flowering favorite of hummingbirds. Perennial in Zone 7 and warmer; it's grown as an annual in cooler zones.
Blue salvia
Blue salvia
Salvia farinacea offers stately pale blue blooms on a 3-foot-tall plant of gray-green foliage. It's a perennial in Zones 7-10, but is usually grown as an annual.
Coral Nymph sage
Coral Nymph sage
Salvia coccinea 'Coral Nymph' offers bicolor, salmon-and-white tubular flowers on 2-foot stems. Perennial in Zones 8 and warmer; grown as an annual in cooler climates.
Golden Delicious pineapple sage
Golden Delicious pineapple sage
Salvia elegans 'Golden Delicious' shows off bright golden-yellow foliage that smells of pineapples when rubbed. In autumn it bears spikes of bold red flowers. It can be grown as a perennial in Zones 8-11
Lady in Red sage
Lady in Red sage
Salvia coccinea 'Lady in Red' is an award-winning, long-blooming, heat- and drought-resistant selection with bright red flowers. It grows 2 feet tall. While it's usually grown as an annual, it is perennial in Zones 7-10.
Phoenix Bright Lilac salvia
Phoenix Bright Lilac salvia
Salvia splendens 'Phoenix Bright Lilac' offers lilac-purple flowers all summer on compact, 16-inch-tall plants.
Pineapple sage
Pineapple sage
Salvia elegans is a tender shrub that has pineapple-scented foliage and bright red flowers in late summer and autumn. The leaves are great for teas or garnishes. It grows 6 feet tall and 4 feet wide. Zones 8-11, though in most areas it's treated as an annual.
Scarlet Sage
Scarlet Sage
Salvia coccinea is a durable non-stop bloomer popular in park plantings. It's usually grown as an annual, but is perennial in Zones 7-10.
Wendy's Wish salvia
Wendy's Wish salvia
Salvia 'Wendy's Wish' is a majestic plant with spikes of magenta-pink flowers from spring to fall. It grows 3 feet tall and wide. Usually grown as an annual, it is a perennial in Zones 9-11.

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Annual vinca
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
Sweet potato vine
Among the most popular container-garden plants, sweet potato vine is a vigorous grower that you can count on to make a big impact. Its colorful foliage, in shades of chartreuse or purple, accents just about any other plant. Grow a few together in a large pot, and they make a big impact all on their own.Sweet potato vines do best during the warm days of summer and prefer moist, well-drained soil. They thrive in sun or shade.
Ageratum
Ageratum is such a little workhorse that nearly every garden should have some. This annual is an easy-to-grow, old-fashioned favorite that produces a steady show of colorful powder-pufflike flowers from late spring through frost. It's also rarely bothered by pests, so you count on it to look good. Plus, it provides some of the truest blues you can find in flowers -- a rare thing.Plant in spring after all danger of frost has passed. Plant in groups of a dozen or more for best show. Deadhead and fertilize regularly for best blooms.
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