February - 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.

It’s been a few years since we had this much snow and ice in the winter time so like every other gardener, I’m chomping at the bit for spring to arrive.
I’ve been feeding birds all winter with a variety of seed mixes to attract a variety of birds. I’ve also kept a heated birdbath filled with clean water. So far I’ve attracted bluejays, woodpeckers, cardinals, finches, and nuthatches to my feeders and a few other birds I don’t recognize. Occasionally a hawk will show up and that sends everyone flying away. Some days I see the birds, and some days, I just see their foot prints in the snow.

Bluejay on the lookout.

Bird foot prints in the snow.

I am gearing up to start seeds indoors again this year. I use supplemental lights because I don’t have enough south facing windows to keep all my seedlings happy. Some years I start more seeds than other years, but even when I think I’ve scaled back, I always end up with extra seedlings to give away.  I like to start my own seeds because it means I can choose different varieties, including new varieties that they don’t usually sell in the garden centers

Seedlings under supplemental light.

Keeping lights close to the plants.

As we get into February, it doesn’t take long for the earliest spring flowers to show up in my garden, even in the snow. I start looking for the earliest crocuses and snowdrops every day as soon as I turn the calendar away from January. I planted snowdrops near my frontwalk where I’m more likely to see them. I think the radiant heat from the concrete may help warm the soil up a bit, too, encouraging the snowdrops to bloom even earlier, but I have no proof of that.  I planted crocuses everywhere in big masses so they are easy to spot as soon as they start to come up.

Snowdrop bloom.

Crocus blooms in the snow.