Merry Christmas to my Hoosier Gardener readers. Happy New Year, too.

Visit an area garden during the holiday, such as Garfield Park and its train exhibit in the conservatory, through Jan. 8, 2012. © Fritz Nerding

Thank you readers for your questions and good cheer for another year. Here are my wishes for you:

May all of your indoor and outdoor plants be strong and healthy.

Eat local and buy your produce locally. Farmers markets abound throughout the state, making it easier to get greens, tomatoes, peppers, potatoes, blueberries, strawberries and many other fruits and veggies throughout the growing season. Even in winter, you can find root crops, such as potatoes and parsnips, and greens at farmers markets.

Realize that Mother Nature is not perfect. A bug-eaten leaf is not the end of the world and may not require any corrective action on your part.

Reject plants in the garden center that do not look healthy. Plants should not have insect eaten leaves, look chlorotic, have dried foliage or dead flowers.

Yank out invasive species in the landscape, such as Japanese or Asian honeysuckles, garlic mustard and Canada thistle.

Champion a green initiative in your home, workplace, neighborhood or community, such as recycling, pulling invasive species from a natural area or planting native plants.

Have patience with the landscape. Remember what they say: gardening is the slowest of the performing arts.

Rid your garden of a plant that is not thriving, doing what you want it to do or in other ways, disappoints you.

Ignore claims about plants that seem to good to be true. They are.

Stop applying insecticides, fungicides or herbicides in the lawn and garden before you know if the problem is an insect, fungus or weed. Always read and follow the label directions.

Try something new in the flower or vegetable garden.

May your garden be weed free in 2012.

Attend a garden show, lecture, garden tour or other nature related event. You might find a new plant to try, learn something new or just enjoy rubbing elbows with other gardeners.

Support a local park, nature area or other outdoor venture by donating time or talent.

Model train exhibit travels to Conservatory Crossing at Garfield Park

December 12, 2011 10:00 AMtoJanuary 8, 2012 5:00 PM

Garfield Park's Conservatory Cross continues through Jan. 8, 2012. (C) Fritz Nerding

Garfield Park has several special events for families for the holiday, including a spectacular train display. Hours are listed below. Here are the details:

Conservatory Crossing — Nov. 25, 2011 to Jan. 8, 2012. Admission: $3/person, $8/family. Come enjoy a winter wonderland!  See the Conservatory decked out in its holiday best with a brilliant display of poinsettias and enjoy running model trains, a train village and thousands of twinkling lights.  This display is created in partnership with The Indiana Rail Road Company.

Candlelight Crossing — 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Dec. 16, 2011. Admission: $5

Enjoy the holiday train and poinsettia show during an evening reception with holiday treats.  Take time from the hustle and bustle to relax with a cup of cocoa and enjoy the warmth and beauty of our tropical Conservatory alive with the twinkle of lights!

Conservatory Hours:
Monday/Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sunday,  1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

For more info: (317) 327-7184