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Indy garden blogger earns kudos

Carol Michel in her Day Dreams Gardens. (C) Photo courtesy Christopher Cary.

Carol Michel in her Day Dreams Gardens. (C) Photo courtesy Christopher Carrie.

Carol Michel has turned everyday musings about her landscape into one of the best read and award-winning garden blogs in the country.

May Dreams Gardens combines Michel’s passion for gardening with her desire to write.

“I love writing, and blogging gave me a way to write about gardening and share what I wrote almost immediately with others,” said Michel, who grew up in Greenwood, Ind., and has been blogging seriously since 2006.

Dubbed a garden blog rock star in April 2008 in the Austin American Statesman in Texas, Michel picked up Mouse and Trowel award for Blog of the Year. The contest, operated for several years by a fellow blogger with readers doing the voting, was discontinued this year.

Benefits of blogging

A benefit of blogging are the “connections I’ve made with other gardeners, near and far, who share the same passion for gardening that I do,” said Michel, who has a horticulture degree from Purdue University and a computer technology degree from Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis. She works in information technology.

Favorite plants for fall

About 530 unique individuals visit Michel’s site every day for her take on life in May Dreams Gardens, located on Indianapolis’ southside. One of the regulars is Kathy Purdy, a garden blogger in upstate New York.

“After reading her blog, you may have a few items on your to-do or must-get list, but you will also have a grin on your face,” said Purdy, whose Cold Climate Gardening received a Mouse and Trowel award for best design.

Acknowledging that awards were nice, Michel said the greatest rewards have been the ability to connect with others with similar interests and having freelance articles published. Here are three of her favorite plants for fall:

  • Beautyberry shrub (Callicarpa dichotoma) for its brilliant purple berries that last well into December.
  • Dwarf fothergilla shrub (Fothergilla gardenii) for its easy care and lovely fall foliage.
  • New England asters (Symphyotrichum novae-angliae) because these perennials bloom in September and October and provide nectar for bees and migrating butterflies.

    <p>Migrating monarch butterflies depend on asters and other late-blooming plants for food. (C) Fotolia.com</p>

    Migrating monarch butterflies depend on asters and other late-blooming plants for food. (C) Fotolia.com

<p>'Issai' beautyberry (Callicarpa dichotoma) (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp</p>

'Issai' beautyberry (C) Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp

<p>Fothergilla begins to take on fall colors. (C) Photo courtesy Carol Michel</p>

Fothergilla begins to take on fall colors. (C) Photo courtesy Carol Michel

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