As summer begins, 5 randoms:



1. Clouds of mosquitoes rise across the Northeast and all the other regions that got soaked this spring. Time to pull out all my organic, all-natural repellants—sent by various companies last summer—and see if they work.

2. Luxuriant green growth is one of the benefits of all this rain, but I am concerned that it may be accompanied by moisture-related problems. Will my husband’s tomatoes survive and thrive? Stay tuned.

3. A National Gardening Association spokesperson calls upon the Lord in this statement from a recent AP article: "A lot of folks, I think they kind of look at the evening news or read the paper or read something online, saying 'Jesus, this world is out of control and I can't have any influence on what happens out there but, by God, I can control what happens in my backyard.'"

I am not totally sure that the recession has provided that great a benefit for local gardening centers. Fewer people building or buying houses must mean fewer starting gardens.


4. On the bright side:  judging by the roses of June (other than these, most of my blooming action happens mid-summer), it will be a colorful summer. All of the martagons are about to pop and it looks like a big crop of later-season lilies will follow. Lily beetle, stay away!

5. After a tentative start last summer, Buffalo is instituting what must be one of the few traditional UK-style Open Garden programs, complete this year with a guidebook. Unlike the Garden Conservatory’s Open Days program, there is no charge and the gardens are open every Thursday or Friday (at stated times) for 5 weeks.

There are 66 gardens open, and people are traveling here to see them—I got an enquiry from a couple who is staying a week just for the Open Gardens (not for Garden Walk) the other day. It will be interesting. Again, stay tuned.

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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


  1. I’ve been wanting to organize open days here for a long time.

    Elizabeth, were there any particular resources that helped your organize the Buffalo open garden program? Any tips on how to organize people and resources?

  2. ‘Jesus, this world is out of control and I can’t have any influence on what happens out there but, by God, I can control what happens in my backyard.'”

    Good luck with that! Real gardeners know that’s not true.

  3. Will look forward to the natural repellent report. My trial in that area didn’t repel a thing!
    Garden centers may be selling less overall, but the demand for food plants from backyard nurseries has gone up.

  4. Elizabeth, that’s awesome! I did not know that Buffalo was doing this. Very interested to hear more – sounds like it would be well worth the drive from Rochester!

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