A shout-out for garden blogging from the hood



For thirteen years, Upstate Gardener’s Journal has been the regional publication for gardeners from Ithaca to Buffalo. It has seasonal advice, plant-focused articles, and a great yearly directory of everything garden-related in the area. For example, in Nov/Dec, there was a piece about Sycamore Gardens, which looks highly visitable—actually, gorgeous.


Jane Milliman, the founder/editor of UGJ also writes for the Rochester paper and was nice enough to mention not just Garden Rant but also Cold Climate Gardening and some other friends in today’s column about garden blogging. We don’t have a ton of garden bloggers in these parts, so I hope Jane’s column will inspire more of the local gardeners to start. If (hint) she also writes about blogging in UGJ, more Buffalonians will see it. I mean, here we have 300 people who invite strangers to come through every year, and only 2 of us blog? Come on, people.

Anyway, thanks for the mention, Jane, and keep up the good work with UGJ. That’s her, above. I took that picture at a local garden fair that got pretty much rained out. Nobody came, and she still had to sit there, poor thing.

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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 regular 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 yahoo.com


  1. Thanks for the link. I wasn’t even aware of this article! And even though I’ve written for Jane, we’ve never met–so thanks for the photo, too!

  2. I’ll add my sympathy for Jane sitting there in the rain to yours, Eliz. I see what Kathy Jentz does to promote her regional g’ing mag and sympathize because it’s not an easy business to succeed at. Jane’s 13 years at it tell us she’s not just a young cutie but doing something very right. So Jane, back at ya!

  3. I was standing in the rain alongside Elizabeth and Jane that day, and I can assure you that no child labor laws were violated. She is young–aren’t we all?–but not quite the 12-year-old that the angle of the photo may lead you to think.

    Although I was merely a third wheel in the conversation, I can also vouch for her energy, sense of humor, knowledge of the field, and dedication. Meeting her was easily the high point of the garden fair that soggy day (well, along with a tasty snack at the Roycroft Inn across the street), and I went home and filled out a subscription form right away. UGJ is available for free at nurseries all over WNY (and I love reading it), but I really wanted to support one of the indie-est of indie publications around.

  4. Thanks very much for the kind post!

    Ron is right–I’m not as young as that very flattering photograph would suggest. The hat is hiding my usually quite noticeable forehead wrinkles.

    Susan–Re: Kathy Jentz–that woman puts me to shame. I have no idea how she finds the time to do everything that she does, and I’m constantly looking to her for inspiration and marketing ideas (photo contest, seed swap, etc.).

    Upstate New York is a relatively easy place to publish a regional gardening book because we have, I believe, an unusually enthusiastic population of gardeners, like Ron and Elizabeth, who are very supportive.

  5. Jane, young as she looks, is old in gardening and publishing experience, and every issue of the magazine full of pertinent articles, gardens to visit, nurseries and garden centers to explore. I’d love to blog more, but every time I get into the blogs, I get lost in reading, appreciating and don’t often (what’s the correct term) “blog” back.

  6. So that’s what Jane looks like. I’ve only ever traded emails with her. She looks shorter in person than in emails.

    Upstate Gardener’s Journal (UGJ) is the only regional source for gardening info around here, short of local radio/TV hosts and gardening articles in the Buffalo News. Next to that we have People Places Plants, which is a Northeastern U.S. glossy and not widely distributed in Western New York.

    Thanks for the effort you put into UGJ. We gardeners, ever anxious to learn, share & gossip appreciate the effort.

  7. re: Sycamore Gardens. My husband and I took my mother there for Mother’s Day 2007. Huge disappointment if you are looking for good landscaping in a public garden setting. Basically comes across as an exercise in how many plants they could get in the ground; extemely amateurish. The family that owns it is very generous, but with all the money that has been poured into the gardens, one wishes they had hired a top notch landscape architect/garden designer early on (even now maybe such a person could salvage something).

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