January - What’s in Carol's Garden?

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Your Regional reporter

Carol Michel is a regional reporter photo

Carol Michel is a lifelong gardener and resident of Indiana with a Bachelor’s degree in Horticulture Production from Purdue University.
She regularly writes about her old books, hoes, and many other gardening related topics for Indiana Gardening and on her award-winning garden blog, www.maydreamsgardens.com. She is the author of the recently released book Potted & Pruned: Living a Gardening Life.

Brrrr, it’s cold outside and some days in the wintertime, I can barely stand the cold winds long enough to fill up the bird feeders and take a quick walk around the garden to make sure all is well.
Indoors, though, I’m forcing two of my favorite flowers into bloom. Every fall, I buy a few hyacinths bulbs and keep them in the back of the refrigerator until just after New Year’s Day. Then I get them out, place them on special hyacinth vases with the bulb base barely touching the water, and watch as first roots grow, then shoots, and eventually flowers. I also force Lily of the Valley into bloom using pre-chilled pips which are shipped to me in mid-December. I pot them up, keep them watered, and in a few weeks, I get to enjoy the blooms.

Fragrant hyacinth blooms.

Potted Lily of the Valley blooms in the winter.

I have stacks of seed catalogs to browse through all month. I know it would save paper and costs if I just looked online to buy seeds but I love holding the catalogs, flipping the pages, circling everything I want, and then going back through to downsize my list to something reasonable amount that will fit in my garden. I also like to compare the new catalogs to old catalogs I’ve saved, including a 1976 Burpee Seed catalog. Though times change and new varieties come out every year, there are still some tried and true varieties I can find in both the 1976 catalog and the 2017 catalog.

A vintage 1976 Burpee Seed Catalog.

A 2018 Burpee Seed Catalog.

Once all the holiday decorations are put away, the house can look a little drab in January so I keep my holiday plants going as long as possible, but I don’t mourn them too much when I eventually toss them out. They’ve served their purpose and I’m happy to clear out room when the time comes for starting seeds and welcoming new plants into my home for the next holidays.  I’ve discovered that cyclamen especially will bloom for quite a while and brighten up a room on dreary January days. Even after the blooms fade, the foliage is still pretty to look at.

Cyclamen blooms.

Cyclamen foliage.