Hoosier Gardener: New book inspired by longtime gardening blog – Indianapolis Star (blog)
Carol Michel has come a long way since I first interviewed her for this column shortly after she won the 2009 Mouse and Trowel Award for MayDreamsGardens.com, voted the best blog by readers from all over the country.
“I love writing, and blogging gave me a way to write about gardening and share what I wrote almost immediately with others,” she said at the time. Michel, who grew up in Greenwood, has been blogging seriously since 2006.
Since the 2009 interview, Michel, who has a degree in horticulture from Purdue University, wrote a garden column for a south-side community paper for a while, writes regularly for gardening magazines and began accepting speaking gigs. She also attended Erma Bombeck’s Writer Workshop in Dayton, Ohio, named for the late humor writer whose columns were published regularly in The Indianapolis Star. And Michel has won other awards for her blog, including from the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the Garden Writers Association.
Last year, she retired after 33 years working in information technology and almost immediately started on a book. Published earlier this year, “Potted and Pruned: Living a Gardening Life” pulls from Michel’s blog, showcasing her practical advice, heavily seasoned with her unique sense of humor.
“After 10-plus years of blogging, I felt like I had some good essays about gardening that were trapped in the online world. By putting some of the essays in a book, potting them up and pruning them first, I hoped to reach a new audience of gardeners,” she said in an interview.
Michel, who declares herself a gardenangelist, published the book under Gardenangelist Press. It’s at Amazon.com in printed copies or on Kindle. Signed copies are available from her blog, which come with a seed packet as a bookmark.
She claims to have the world’s largest hoe collection with 56 of the tools, and she embraces the antique and historic aspects of gardening. Michel prowls used bookstores and lurks online auction houses, searching for first editions of garden books, such as those by Elizabeth Lawrence (1904-1985) or Cynthia Westcott (1898-1983).
“I read once that the Smithsonian and other archivists would far rather preserve something on paper than in an electronic format,” Mitchel said. “Though I don’t think my book is by any means worthy of a museum, I hope that someday a gardener discovers it in a used bookstore, the way I’ve discovered old gardening books in used bookstores.”
Jo Ellen Meyers Sharp (hoosiergardener.com) is treasurer of Garden Writers Association and co-author of “The Indiana Gardener’s Guide.” Write to herat P.O. Box 20310, Indianapolis, IN 46220-0310, oremail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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