December - 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.

My thoughts and ideas about gardening move indoors in the colder days of December. Though I’ll still wander outdoors on occasion to do a little garden clean up, most of the heavy lifting of fall clean up is done, or should be, by now. I try to plant for the birds in my garden, choosing plants that have berries or seeds they will enjoy. But I still put up bird feeders, visible from inside. I have a variety of feeders so I attract many different kinds of birds including bluejays, cardinals, woodpeckers, and finches. Unfortunately, my bird feeders also attract squirrels and the occasional raccoon, so I’m constantly looking for new ways to thwart their efforts to get to the feeders. I also have a heated bird bath which brings me a few surprise visitors.  

A bluebird visited my heated bird bath last winter.

Squirrels are always trying to get to the bird feeders.

Indoors, I’m paying more attention to my houseplants now, including recently potted up Amaryllis bulbs. I never get the timing quite right to have them blooming exactly at Christmas time but it doesn’t matter to me because just having something blooming in the wintertime is a treat. Last Christmas, I helped my three year-old niece plant an Amaryllis bulb on a bed of rocks in a tall, clear vase. She enjoyed watching it grow and flower and I was happy to be the “gardening aunt” who gives such gifts to the little ones in the family.

Planting several amaryllis bulbs in one container makes a striking arrangement.

The amaryllis flower is welcome anytime in winter.

Christmas at my house also means a tree decorated with a variety of gardening-themed ornaments. Over the years, I’ve managed to find enough gardening-themed ornaments to decorate a good sized tree with them. From glass vegetables of all types, ranging from red peppers to potatoes, to miniature greenhouses, trowels, and potting sheds, if it is relates to gardening, you can probably find it on my tree.

A glass trowel on my Christmas tree reminds me of gardening.

I decorate my tree with glass vegetables, including potatoes.