If your neighbors don’t think you’re a little crazy, you need to up your gardening game.
Carol J. Michel is the award-winning author of five books of humorous and helpful gardening essays and two children’s books. With degrees in horticulture and computer technology, she spent over three decades making a living in healthcare IT while making a life in her garden. Her awards have come from several organizations, including GardenComm: Garden Communicators International; National Federation of Press Women; and National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Michel is also the keeper of the world’s largest hoe collection and her library is a sanctuary for old gardening books. In between tending her own garden, writing, and reading, she records a weekly podcast, The Gardenangelists, with Dee Nash. More of Carol’s works are scheduled for publication in the roaring 2020s. For more info, visit her website, www.caroljmichel.com and her long-standing garden blog, May Dreams Gardens.
In my own words
I love to garden and I love everything about gardening—good soil, plants, flowers, books, tools, insects, T-shirts with funny sayings about gardening—all of it. I consider myself a gardenangelist, an evangelist for gardening who loves gardening and wants others to love it, too. (Yes, I made up that word!)
I’ve been gardening in some capacity my entire life, starting as a toddler following behind my dad as he planted peas every spring. I wore out the gardening books at my local library by checking them out repeatedly. And there still might be a spoon or two—my childhood digging tool of choice—buried in the backyard.
Boiler up! I hold a Bachelor of Science degree in horticulture from the Purdue University School of Agriculture. Then I got a computer technology degree and worked in that field for 33 years.
I’m a long-time garden blogger, probably most notable for originating Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day. For the past ten years and counting, gardeners around the world post on their own blogs about what’s blooming in their gardens on the 15th of every month. They then leave a link on my own blog post about what’s blooming in my garden. Keeping that record has improved my garden and made me a tiny bit famous among garden bloggers. I admit I have chosen and planted many different flowers through the last ten plus years so I can have perpetual spring; that is, something newly blooming every month of the year in my Zone 6a central Indiana garden.
My garden blog is home to well over 2,500 posts going back to 2004 and has won both silver (2014) and gold awards (2015) from GardenComm: Garden Communicators International. I was also awarded third place in 2015 by the National Society of Newspaper Columnists for “Who knew the garden could be so fun?” in the category of Online, Blog, Multimedia – Under 100,000 Unique Visitors. In 2022, I won a first place in the personal blog category from the National Federation of Press Women for this post.
I cannot resist old gardening books. My library is a Home for Old Gardening Books and Seed Catalogs. Plus I never met a garden tool I didn’t like or want to try in my garden. That’s how I ended up as the caretaker for the world’s largest collection of gardening hoes. No one has ever disputed my claim to such. I am also the keeper of the secrets to happiness in a garden. It’s a big responsibility!
I am also the author of five books of humorous and helpful gardening essays. They include: Potted & Pruned: Living a Gardening Life (2017), which won a 2018 Gold Award for Best Overall Book from GardenComm: Garden Communicators International; Homegrown and Handpicked: A Year in a Gardening Life (2018), which received a second-place award for non-fiction humor books in 2019 from the Woman’s Press Club of Indiana; Seeded and Sodded: Thoughts from a Gardening Life (2019), which received a first-place award from the National Federation of Press Woman in 2020 for non-fiction humor books; and Creatures and Critters: Who’s in Your Garden (2020), which received a second-place award for non-fiction humor books in 2021 from the Woman’s Press Club of Indiana. The fifth book, Digging and Delighted: Live Your Best Gardening Life, was published in August 2021 and received a third-place award from the Woman’s Press Club of Indiana.
I also wrote and published The Christmas Cottontail: A Story for Gardeners of All Ages (2018) which won First Place for Children’s Books in Fiction from the Woman’s Press Club of Indiana in 2019 as well as Third Place for Children’s Books in Fiction from the National Federation of Press Women, also in 2019. And in 2022, I published a second children’s book The Halloween Hare: A Story for Gardeners of All Ages, which was awarded a first place from the Woman’s Press Club of Indiana in 2023.
In 2021, I was named a GardenComm Fellow.
I’m pleased my bio isn’t finished. I have more books to write, more hoes to collect, more books to discover, and more gardens to plant and enjoy!