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Despite recent advances in supporting end-user programmers, empirical studies continue to report barriers that end users experience in problem solving with programming environments. We hypothesize that an important barrier that still needs to be overcome is the lack of support for nurturing end-user programmers' ideas on how a program should be written or on how to solve programming difficulties. Therefore, in this paper, we present a qualitative empirical investigation and triangulate the results with theories from problem solving and creativity. Moreover, we explore design opportunities and a design space for “idea gardening”, a new approach to nurturing end-user programmers' ideas and to helping them gradually gain expertise as they overcome barriers. Our results suggest that nurturing end-user programmers' ideas is a fertile area for research with an interesting, multidimensional design space.