November - 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.

Fall has certainly taken its time arriving in my garden. The warm days through October have made me think there is plenty of time to clean up the garden, plant bulbs for spring flowers, and stow away the garden decorations before next year. Now that it is November, I’m starting to move a little faster as I clean up the garden.
I find it therapeutic to clean up the garden in the fall. I do a lot of reminiscing about the garden while I rake leaves and chop down perennials.  I also do a lot of planning, too, as I remove the frost-blackened vegetable plants and cover the garden with chopped up leaves. If there’s time, I also harvest the compost from the bins to make room for more plant clippings to compost over the winter. I don’t mind if there is a chill in the air as I work. The cold temperatures keep me moving and quicken my step a bit. 

Leaves on the lawn provide good mulch for flower beds.

Compost from my bins will enrich the soil of the vegetable garden.

I’ve planned and planted a variety of flowers over the past several years to try to have something in bloom in my garden every month of the year. As we get closer to winter, it’s more of a challenge to find plants that bloom this time of year.  In late October and early November, I usually have autumn crocuses in bloom (Crocus speciosus) and then by late November, the Christmas Rose (Helleborus niger) will have a few white buds showing.

Autumn crocuses bloom in late October/early November.

The Christmas Rose starts to bloom in late November

By November, I’m ready to pay more attention to my houseplants as well.  Some of my favorites include the old-fashioned Christmas Cactus (Schlumbergera sp.) which in my house blooms in November around Thanksgiving so is more appropriately called a Thanksgiving Cactus.  It isn’t much of a plant to look at until it blooms but it is easy to grow and will last for years if you don’t overwater it. I know people who’ve kept the same Christmas Cactus blooming for more than ten years.

Christmas cactus blooms in November.

Christmas cactus comes in white as well as pink.