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:

See More

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.

View Slideshow

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.

View Video

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.

See More

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.

View Video

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.

View Video

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.

View Slideshow
Popular in Gardening

Shape Your Shrubs

Many shrubs grow rapidly, and become overgrown, excessively twiggy, and weighted down with excess foliage.

Prune to guide the natural growth of each shrub.

This bushiness eventually obscures the structure of shrubs, reduces flowering, and invites fungal disease. Periodic pruning makes them more attractive and healthier. Pruning to control size is a waste of time -- they will just grow back. Instead, guide them so they grow to their mature size with strong stems and healthy foliage.

Experienced gardeners usually do their major structural pruning when shrubs are dormant, then perform follow-up shaping during the growing season, after the spring growth spurt. Prune your flowering shrubs to shape them after they've bloomed and before they set buds for the following year, so you don't inadvertently remove the buds and ruin next year's bloom. Plan to shape spring bloomers, such as rhododendron, azalea, and forsythia, in early to mid-summer. Wait to shape summer bloomers, such as crape myrtle and glossy abelia, until autumn.

Clip branches individually, and reserve shearing for hedges. The idea is to groom the shrub to curb unruliness, not to change its appearance. Properly shaped, the shrub should look essentially the same, only neater.

Learn more tips on pruning your shrubs.

Dormancy

Whether deciduous or evergreen, trees and shrubs have a dormant period. Except for certain tropical trees, this rest time is usually during the cold winter months. During the period when days are short and the ground is cold, they suspend active growth and live off stored energy. Warm weather triggers new vitality.

Shaping Shrubs

When shaping shrubs, achieve optimum results by honoring their natural habit. Use restraint. Respect the fact that each shrub is genetically programmed for a certain size, profile, and branching pattern. Make cuts that support these features and preserve the essential character of the plant. Lollipop shapes look unattractive on the front lawn. Leave the highly stylized pruning -- topiary, pollarding, and bonsai -- to the experts.

Love shrubs? Find out how to grow trees in your yard, too.

How to Shape Forsythia

Step 1.

1. The first step is to cut back excessively long branches. Clip them off where a leaf emerges back on the stem near the main mass of foliage. Avoid making them all identical lengths.

Step 2.

2. Reach deep within the dense tangle of branches, clip off particularly large or twiggy ones to the point where they join a main branch.

Step 3.

3. Once its general shape is established, give the shrub a final once-over. Be sure no branches rub against walls or tangle in nearby plants.

How to Shape Evergreen Hedges

Step 1.

1. If the foliage on the sides of the hedge gets insufficient sunlight, it will die back. Taper the sides of the hedge so that the lower branches are wider than those at the top.

Step 2.

2. To stimulate growth, trim a hedge with hedge shears or electric clippers below the desired height in spring. When you prune later in the season, don't remove all new growth.

How to Shape Boxwood

Step 1.

1. Boxwood shrubs are commonly used as hedges because they tolerate repeated shearing well. However, when planted individually, they contribute attractive, fine-textured evergreen foliage. Periodically clip them to neaten their appearance.

Step 2.

2. Use hand pruners, rather than the hedge shears, to clip off individual branches that protrude from the main foliage body of the shrub. Cut the branches at slightly different lengths to avoid creating a round profile.

close
close
close
close
close

Loading... Please wait...