Last end-of-year list—really, I mean it



Every season I notice certain trends in the world of gardening. Not like the ones that the marketing people write about—mine are more personal. These have to do with how I interact with other gardeners and bloggers, how I find new plants or learn to appreciate old ones, and how the cityscape around me gets greener.

So here is my 2010 in review—the "Encores!" and the “Enoughs!” 

Let’s have:

MORE activism on behalf of community gardens, such as that described in a guest post by the Flatbush Gardener (our friend Chris) about the New York City Community Gardens Coalition.

LESS orange, red, and bright yellow echinaceas. Sorry. What I love in a dahlia I can’t abide in these plants—and they don’t do well for me anyway.

MORE blogger get-togethers. The Buffalo get-together was so much fun. And my wish has been granted. We’re all meeting in Seattle July 21-26. If you’re a garden blogger, leave your name below so I can invite you to the Facebook group, or wait for the blog that will soon appear for the Seattle get-together. We’ll be announcing it.

LESS bankrupt nurseries. The Plant Delights newsletter was full of them all year, while such industry journals as I happen to see have had equally sad reports.  

MORE heirloom bulbs and plants. The recently published Bizarre Botanicals celebrated nutty annuals, succulents, and tropicals, while another new title, Heirloom Bulbs for Today, extolled such oldies but goodies as Roman hyacinths and Grand Primo narcissus.  The best part is that I can buy all these from such splendid vendors as Old House Gardens and Select Seeds, even though I can rarely find them locally.

MORE crazily huge and weird colocasia. Thank you, Tony Avent. These plants are along the few that do well in the dankly shady parts of my garden.

LESS roses that have no fragrance and boring flowers. Down with them.  No matter how low-maintenance they are.

LESS fancy tags, ornate packaging, and high mark-ups; I can't afford designer plants any more than I can afford designer clothes.

MORE fantastic resources like the recently announced Plant List, run by the Missouri Botanical Garden and the Royal Botanical Garden, Kew. They had me at “a complete list of all known land plant species on earth.”

And what about you? (other than LESS end-of-year lists)

Clarification: To be added to the Seattle blogger meet-up Facebook group, I need your FACEBOOK name in comments. Thanks!

Previous articleThe Renegade’s Black Spot Awards for 2010
Next articleWall Street Journal Op-Ed Page Gets One Right
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


  1. Not sure how viable it is, but I’d like to see something like a cutting-swap for local peoples as well as seed/bulb swaps.

    LESS of nurseries carrying vegetables with fruit on them already.

    MORE proper sales times (strawberries in spring are just stupid for Texas).

  2. All these new hybrid coneflowers suck. Awful. I stuck in some regular ole species cones last spring and they shot up 4 feet in one year. Hybrids? I’ve got an orangey / red one that blooms in early July, then turns white, then black. The whole thing. What’s with that?

    Anyway, please hook me up with the Seattle fling thing. Maybe the money fairy will help a guy out this time around.

  3. I want more hardy disease resistant roses. Did you know the New York Botanical Peggy Rockefeller Rose Garden has more than tripled its plantings (in the same space!) over the past four years – and they are all healthy and organically grown?

  4. Those nuclear echinaceas do present appropriate application for the adjective “Gawd awful,” don’t they?

  5. Less horticultural bullying. As in posting a photograph of some unknown persons pruning endeavor and then making moronic , demeaning and belittling remarks of someones sincere attempt at pruning and or gardening for the sake of cheap laughs and self promotion.
    It’s distasteful, pathetic and right in line with school age bullying.

  6. Elizabeth, I agree with all you said (except I don’t really care one way or another about colocasia). Add to that: MORE nurseries carrying plants that bloom in the fall in their spring inventory, and vice versa.

  7. My inventory with over one hundres species identified with their botanicals:

    Plants for people in zone 11, drought/heat resistant and even better collected,
    propagated by yours truly.

  8. I am a contrarian, but I like knockouts and easy plants. And all of the crazy coneflowers.

    MORE regional gardening meetups without just fuddy duddy plant freaks devoted to one species.

  9. I second MORE meet-ups with local gardeners–and they don’t all have to be bloggers–but not through the garden clubs at our local botanical garden. These clubs only meet on weekdays. I have time on weekends.

    MORE native plants with leaves and LESS agaves. I’m tired of agaves, agaves, and more agaves. And even more agaves. Did I mention agaves? They are the current fashionable trendy thing in Austin, Texas.

  10. Less complaining about this plant and that plant….more creative ways to use what we have……fyi…..I know so many beginning gardeners that have had success with Knockout and will now feel comfortable to try other roses, such as the wonderful array of antiques. Give the Knockout bashing a break people, it is a new day, a new month and a new year.

  11. I also rise to defend Knockouts, the most popular plant in the U.S. and a great start for beginners. Which defense is entirely consistent with wanting to see fewer nurseries and IGCs go bankrupt.

  12. Sorry, but I, too, like the various colored conies. And I do think there are good uses for Knockout roses (like Susan mentioned… they are great for beginners). We experienced gardeners need to understand that we don’t define ALL gardeners’ experiences… nor their taste. Nor should we try to do so.
    Gardening, design and plant selection is so very personal. I say we let others have the plants they want (if they are zone/situation appropriate), and keep our criticism focused on gardening issues that cause landscapes to fail in a more technical (less artsy) sense… like improper pruning, inadequate soil preparation, failure to water correctly, failure to put plants into appropriate places, etc.

  13. Don’t you mean fewer echinaceas, fewer bankrupt companies, and fewer roses without fragrance?

    I for one would like to see more articles about gardening in large publications (like the NYTimes) written by actual gardeners. I’m not asking for big name fancy gardener writers, but I would like to read the work of authors who actually stick their hands in soil a few times a year.

  14. I want to see residential streets and neighborhoods where more boring, poisonous lawns are dug up and turned into sustainable landscaping. Imagine: summer late afternoons and early evenings where neighbors are chatting up and down your street over how big the cucumbers are getting, how gorgeous the PINK echinaceas are, how good their homegrown lettuce tastes in salad. And, just to add one more piece, set up a goal of how many pounds of harvest the street is going to donate to the local food bank.

    This is all do-able, if we have the courage and the discipline.

  15. Okay, then I say MORE AGAVE-eating snout-nosed beetles, and MORE tequila for all of us! 😉 I drive by only about 40 agaves in the 4.5 miles to work every day. It’s a ubiquitous plant in Austin Texas, but to each his own. I just like to drink my agaves!

  16. I am sick and tired of plant snobbery! We all don’t drive the same cars or live in the same neighborhood or garden in the same zone. We all live different lives. I would like to see the bashing of plants stop.. grow what you like to grow be it ornamentals, veggies, lawn or the latest hybrid invented. The elitist mentality needs to go!!! If your not hurting the earth or your neighbor next door it’s all good period.

Comments are closed.