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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Popular in Gardening

Must-Grow New Shrubs, Trees, and Vines for 2014

Make shrubs, trees, and vines the backbone of your landscape. Here are our picks of the best new varieties for 2014.

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    • 2014's Best Trees, Shrubs & Vines

      2014 was an amazing year for new trees, shrubs and vines. We sorted through each new variety to provide you with our favorites.

    • Let's Dance Blue Jangles Hydrangea

      Blooming on new and old wood, 'Let's Dance Blue Jangles' hydrangea is in almost constant bloom. This new variety was chosen for its intensely colored, mop-head flowers in either deep blue or pink. It's also a compact variety that's ideal for pots and planters.

      Name: Hydrangea macrophylla 'Let's Dance Blue Jangles'

      Growing Conditions: Full sun, Part shade

      Size: 24–36 inches tall and wide

      Zones: 5–9

      Source: Proven Winners

    • Yuki Snowflake Deutzia

      Brighten your spring landscape by lining a garden walkway with ‘Yuki Snowflake’ deutzia. This easy-care little shrub forms a tight mound that’s completely covered in pretty white flowers every spring. ‘Yuki Snowflake’ puts on a bold second act in the fall when the leaves turn burgundy-purple. For best effect, plant ‘Yuki Snowflake’ in small groups or clumps.

      Name: Deutzia ‘Yuki Snowflake’

      Growing Conditions: Full sun, Partial shade

      Size: 12–24 inches tall and wide

      Zones: 5–8

      Source: Proven Winners

    • Nikko Blush Deutzia

      Bred by the experts at The National Arboretum, ‘Nikko Blush’ deutzia will quickly become your favorite spring bloomer. Each of these wonderful shrubs develops a multitude of soft pink flowers on graceful, arching branches. ‘Nikko Blush’ makes a great foundation plant or low hedge. In the fall, the foliage changes from green to burgundy.

      Name: Deutzia ‘Nikko Blush’

      Growing Conditions: Full sun, Partial shade

      Size: 6–8 feet tall, 6 feet wide

      Zones: 5–8

      Source: Monrovia

    • Lionel Fortescue Mahonia

      Talk about four-season color! ‘Lionel Fortescue’ mahonia looks good throughout the entire year. This stunning evergreen shrub produces lovely sprays of fragrant yellow flowers in the late fall and winter followed by crops of shiny blue-black berries in the late summer. It makes an excellent landscape shrub that’s disease- and drought-resistant. Deer avoid it, too.

      Name: Mahonia x media ‘Lionel Fortescue’

      Growing Conditions: Shade, Partial shade

      Size: 7–10 feet tall, 4–5 feet wide

      Zones: 5–9

      Source: Monrovia

    • Gatsby Star Hydrangea

      ‘Gatsby Star’ hydrangea is a star of a hydrangea. This new oakleaf type produces luxurious, lacy trusses of double, white starlike flowers in a dramatic fall finale. Because it was developed from the American native oakleaf hydrangea, ‘Gatsby Star’ can withstand a mixed bag of weather conditions. It’s also disease- and insect-resistant.

      Name: Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Gatsby Star’

      Growing Conditions: Full sun, Partial sun

      Size: 5–6 feet tall, 5 feet wide

      Zones: 5–9

      Source: Proven Winners

    • Gatsby Gal Hydrangea

      From the same breeder as  ‘Gatsby Star’, ‘Gatsby Gal’ hydrangea is another newcomer with native roots. This variety however, develops huge upright trusses of single flowers held high above the handsome dark green foliage. ‘Gatsby Gal’ looks terrific in a foundation planting or fence line planting.

      Name: Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Gatsby Gal’

      Growing Conditions: Full sun, Partial sun

      Size: 5–6 feet tall, 5 feet wide

      Zones: 5–9

      Source: Proven Winners

    • Endless Summer BloomStruck Hydrangea

      The newest member of the Endless Summer line of reblooming hydrangeas, ‘BloomStruck’ was a top performer in our Test Garden last summer. This amazing plant produces large pink, violet, or blue flowers throughout the summer. Plus, the plant has rich red stems that add to the color show. It’s heat-tolerant and grows as well in containers as it does in the garden.

      Name: Hydrangea macrophylla ‘BloomStruck’

      Growing Conditions: Full sun, Partial sun

      Size: 3–4 feet tall, 4–5 feet wide

      Zones: 4–9

      Source: Bailey Nurseries

    • Centennial Blush Star Magnolia

      One of the first pink-flowering star magnolias, ‘Centennial Blush’ is a prolific bloomer that puts on a spectacular spring show. Almost every branch bears clusters of pinkish, starlike fragrant flowers. When fall rolls around, the leaves turn a gorgeous shade of yellow-bronze. ‘Centennial Blush’ is a small tree, rarely growing over 18 feet tall, so it fits nicely on most front lawns.

      Name: Magnolia stellata ‘Centennial Blush’ star magnolia

      Growing Conditions: Full sun, Partial sun

      Size: 12–18 feet tall, 10–15 feet wide

      Zones: 4–9

      Source: Bailey Nurseries

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      Tiny Dancer Lilac

      Everyone loves lilacs, but a lot of gardeners can’t grow them because they take up too much space in the landscape or they live too far south to enjoy these cool-weather classics. But with ‘Tiny Dancer’, everyone benefits. That’s because ‘Tiny Dancer’ grows only 5 feet tall, yet it puts on a big color show in the spring with fragrant trusses of lavender flowers. It’s also heat-resistant and will thrive as far south as Zone 8, blooming alongside azaleas and dogwoods!

      Name: Syringia vulgaris ‘Tiny Dancer’

      Growing Conditions: Full sun, Partial sun

      Size: 4–5 feet tall, 3–4 feet wide

      Zones: 4–8

      Source: Plants Nouveau

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      Sweet Summer Love Clematis

      Finally, a sweet autumn clematis in a color other than white! ‘Sweet Summer Love’ produces waves of cranberry-violet flowers that start to open in July and continue right up through September. Like the classic autumn clematis, ‘Sweet Summer Love’ is also intoxicatingly fragrant, fast-growing, and deer-resistant. Grow this vine over a fence, arbor, or pergola.

      Name: Clematis ‘Sweet Summer Love’

      Growing Conditions: Sun

      Size: 120–180 inches tall, 72–120 inches wide

      Zones: 4–9

      Source: Proven Winners

    • 12 of 27

      Golden Dutchess Hemlock

      An exciting new evergreen, ‘Golden Dutchess’ hemlock develops graceful arching branches covered in golden yellow needles. ‘Golden Dutchess’ is a compact variety perfect for rock gardens or containers. Like other hemlocks, ‘Golden Dutchess’ does best in woodland settings where it receives dappled sunlight. It prefers rich, slightly moist soil.

      Name: Tsuga Canadensis ‘Golden Dutchess’ hemlock

      Growing Conditions: Shade, Partial sun

      Size: 3–4 feet tall, 3–5 feet wide

      Zones: 4–7

      Source: Monrovia

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      Let's Dance Diva Hydrangea

      A reblooming lacecap hydrangea, 'Let's Dance Diva' produces extra large pale blue to soft pink flowers. It's a vigorous compact shrub that does equally well in either the landscape or containers. It will thrive in sun or partial shade as long as it's planted in rich, slightly moist soil.

      Name: Hydrangea macrophylla 'Let's Dance Diva'

      Growing Conditions: Full sun, Partial shade

      Size: 2–3 feet tall and wide

      Zones: 5–9

      Source: Proven Winners

    • 14 of 27

      Glow Girl Spirea

      When garden space is at a premium, look for shrubs that have a lot to offer all year round. For example, 'Glow Girl' spirea is a hardworking new variety with lemon-lime foliage that doesn't burn in full sun. By midsummer, each plant sends up reddish flower buds that open to pure white. In the fall, the foliage turns a crisp yellow-orange color. 'Glow Girl' also can handle cold winters and is resistant to hungry deer.

      Name: Spiraea betulifolia 'Glow Girl'

      Growing Conditions: Full sun, Partial shade

      Size: 3–4 feet tall and wide

      Zones: 3–9

      Source: Proven Winners

    • 15 of 27

      Lady Emma Hamilton Rose

      The flowers of 'Lady Emma Hamilton' rose are so usually beautiful they are almost impossible to describe. Each round blossom opens to an ever-changing mixture of yellow, orange, and apricot. The flowers also have a heady fragrance often described as a blend of citrus, pear, and grape. The plants form an upright shrub with dark, bronzy green leaves.

      Name: Rosa 'Lady Emma Hamilton'

      Growing Conditions: Sun

      Size: 3–4 feet tall, 4 feet wide

      Zones: 5–9

      Source: David Austin

    • 16 of 27

      Boscobel Rose

      New from David Austin roses, ‘Boscobel’ would make an ideal choice to flank your porch or entry. As fragrant as it is pretty, ‘Boscobel’ has rich salmon, petal-packed flowers with a pleasing myrrh scent. The compact plants grow about 3 feet tall and have few disease problems. ‘Boscobel’ will bloom throughout the summer with few disease problems.

      Name: Rosa ‘Boscobel’

      Growing Conditions: Sun

      Size: 2–3 feet tall, 2 feet wide

      Zones: 5–9

      Source: David Austin

    • 17 of 27

      Tiny Wine Ninebark

      Big things do come in small packages! ‘Tiny Wine’ ninebark has the same rich bronze-maroon foliage of taller types but grows only 3–4 feet tall. In midsummer, white flowers dance on the dark-leaved stems, creating an eye-catching combination. ‘Tiny Wine’ fits perfectly in the flower border or in containers on your porch or deck.

      Name: Physocarpus opulifolius ‘Tiny Wine’

      Growing Conditions: Sun

      Size: 3–4 feet tall and wide

      Zones: 3–7

      Source: Proven Winners

    • 18 of 27

      Parkland Pillar Birch

      Discovered in Alberta, Canada, ‘Parkland Pillar’ birch is a great choice for northern gardeners who need quick privacy on a tight lot. This fast-growing and handsome tree has a tall, narrow growth habit that makes it a top pick to screen side yards or fence lines. ‘Parkland Pillar’ is heat and drought resistant and can tolerate alkaline soils.

      Name: Betula platyphylla ‘Parkland Pillar’

      Growing Conditions: Sun

      Size: 35–40 feet tall, 6–7 feet wide

      Zones: 3–7

      Source: Bailey Nurseries

    • 19 of 27

      Oso Easy Lemon Zest Rose

      Brighten your landscape with the canary-yellow blooms of ‘Oso Easy Lemon Zest’ rose. This rugged little shrub rose seems to thrive on abuse, growing easily in almost any sunny situation. They look terrific planted by themselves or mixed with perennials and annuals in large pots or planters. They never seem to be out of bloom and rarely get ill.

      Name: Rose ‘Oso Easy Lemon Zest’ rose

      Growing Conditions: Sun

      Size: 18–24 inches tall and wide

      Zones: 5–9

      Source: Proven Winners

    • 20 of 27

      Delta Blues Chaste Tree

      Bold clusters of rich blue-spiked flowers appear on ‘Delta Blues’ chaste tree from June until October. This compact, heavily blooming variety of chaste tree has fragrant flowers and foliage that’s attractive to butterflies and hummingbirds. The plants also develop small, shiny reddish fruits. ‘Delta Blues’ is also pest- and disease-resistant and will grow in either acid or alkaline soils. Once established in your landscape, ‘Delta Blues’ requires almost no care. Regular pruning, however, does increase flowering.

      Name: Vitex agnus-castus ‘Delta Blues’

      Growing Conditions: Sun

      Size: 8–10 feet tall and wide

      Zones: 6–9

      Source: Bailey Nurseries

    • 21 of 27

      Sugar-Sweet Blue Clematis

      One of the first sweetly fragrant clematis on the market, ‘Sugar-Sweet Blue’ bears pretty periwinkle blue, single flowers from April through June. The plants are resistant to clematis wilt and will quickly scramble up and over small arbors or obelisks. ‘Sugar-Sweet Blue’ is also winter hardy, growing bigger and better every year.

      Name: Clematis ‘Sugar-Sweet’ Blue

      Growing Conditions: Sun, Partial shade

      Size: 6–9 feet tall, 18–24 inches wide

      Zones: 4–11

      Source: Plants Nouveau

    • 22 of 27

      Tasman Ruffles Pittosporum

      ‘Tasman Ruffles’ pittosporum gives a new twist to the classic pittosporum often used as a hedge plant in warm climates. This new variety has bright green wavy leaves that are delicately edged in cream. Left unpruned, ‘Tasman Ruffles’ eventually grows into a 10-foot-tall cone. Planted singly it makes a good focal point in the landscape. Or, line up several ‘Tasman Ruffles’ for an easy-care hedge.

      Name: Pittosporum tenuifolium ‘Tasman Ruffles’

      Growing Conditions: Full sun, Partial sun

      Size: 8–10 feet tall, 4–5 feet wide

      Zones: 7–10

      Source: Monrovia

    • 23 of 27

      Easy Elegance Head Over Heels Rose

      The newest member of the Easy Elegance family of roses, ‘Head Over Heels’ is a must-have for your garden. This vigorous shrub rose produces a nonstop show of fluffy, extra double pink flowers all summer long. In the border it mingles well with perennials or other roses and also does well in containers. It’s winter hardy, too.

      Name: Rosa ‘Head Over Heels’

      Growing Conditions: Sun

      Size: 24–30 inches tall, 18–24 inches wide

      Zones: 4–9

      Source: Bailey Nursery

    • 24 of 27

      Campfire Rose

      Growing roses in the far north just got easier with the introduction of ‘Campfire Rose’. This new variety from Canada is as hardy as it is beautiful. Each plant sports semidouble yellow flowers with rosy-pink edges. The almost thornless branches remain disease-free even during humid summers.

      Name: Rosa ‘Campfire Rose’

      Growing Conditions: Sun

      Size: 3 feet tall and wide

      Zones: 3–7

      Source: Bailey Nursery

    • 25 of 27

      Gladiator Crabapple

      If you only have room for one ornamental tree in your landscape, consider 'Gladiator' crabapple. It's a space-saving columnar variety that grows just 9 feet wide and 20 feet tall. In the spring it produces clouds of showy pink flowers that are followed by decorative red-purple berries in the summer and fall. 'Gladiator' also has bronze-purple foliage so it looks terrific in the landscape even when not in bloom.

      Name: Malus x adstringens 'Gladiator'

      Growing Conditions: Sun

      Size: 15–12 feet tall, 7–9 feet wide

      Zones: 2–8

      Source: Bailey Nursery

    • Trees for Small Spaces
      26 of 27

      The Best Trees for Small Spaces

      See our favorite trees that fit perfectly in tight spots.

    • 27 of 27
      Next Slideshow The 13 Best Summer-Blooming Shrubs

      The 13 Best Summer-Blooming Shrubs

      Add beautiful blooms without a lot of maintenance to your garden this summer with easy-growing, summer-blooming shrubs. Here are some of the best.
      Begin Slideshow »

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