The heart of the matter



Valentine’s Day is a long weekend this year: we’re taking a break in the Berkshires to enjoy the scenery and the art. It’s always a good time to talk about flowers. I’m happy with pretty much any floral offering, from my boss’s yearly red rose in a bud vase to each member of our largely female staff (he’s old school and wouldn’t even begin to imagine this as in any way oppressive, just a nice thing to do) to the round ball of carnations I got from a friend one year to the 6-foot rose I found (and have never seen again) and brought to a dinner party.


It’s all good. But for the last few years my favorite Valentine flowers have been the ones I grow myself. Like this shaggy pink hyacinth (top), with its little black stamens. It is Raphael, one of about 40 I forced this year, either in glass vases or in pots. Hyacinths tend to be lumped together, but there are many variances between the different types (the classic Carnegie is above). Click here to take a look at the rest of the indoor floral action I’ve got going this February. And as always, a shout to Carol/May Dreams Gardens for starting Bloom Day and for being a fellow aficionado of indoor gardening.

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Elizabeth Licata

Elizabeth Licata has been a regular writer for  Garden Rant since 2007, after contributing a guest rant about the overuse of American flags in front gardens. She lives and gardens in Buffalo, N.Y., which, far from the frozen wasteland many assume it to be, is a lush paradise of gardens, historic architecture, galleries, museums, theaters, and fun. As editor of Buffalo Spree magazine,  Licata helps keep Western New Yorkers apprised about what is happening in their region. She is also a freelance writer and art curator, who’s been published in Fine Gardening, Horticulture, ArtNews, Art in America, the Village Voice, and many other publications. She does regularly radio segments for the local NPR affiliate, WBFO.

Licata is involved with Garden Walk Buffalo, the largest free garden tour in the US and possibly the world,and has written the text for a book about Garden Walk. She has also written and edited several art-related books. Contact Elizabeth: ealicata at


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