Buffalo rocks GBBD



The thing is, we’ve gotten SO much rain over the summer, but always in short bursts interspersed with sun. There was a lot of chilly rain in late spring too, so all the plants seem about a week or two behind.

Thus, at a time when I’m usually freaking out—“It’s only August and I don’t have any flowers!”—the garden is rather lush … for me. Looming over the sunny bed are a climbing rose I left for dead a few years back and the on-stilts rudbeckia hirta “Herbstomme.” (above) I won’t talk about lilies; I did them in Wednesday’s post—but I still have plenty.


I’ve embraced rudbeckia after wavering on whether to hate them or not, and so I have a few cultivars blooming, including triloba “Prairie Sunset” (above, with “Herbstomme”) and laciniata “Golden Glow.”


This is technically not a bloom, but a Plant Delights colocasia hybrid, Nancy’s Revenge, is finally showing its variegation. Sort of. I’m hoping for better later on, because these take a while to get going here.


Finally, let’s hear for the neighborhood public plantings. The wet summer has made maintenance much easier; I’ve only had to haul gallon-jugs of water up and down the street to my three six times or so. After you’ve done that a few times, you really understand why the old days sucked. You see here fine examples of the Tidal Wave brand, grown from seed in a neighborhood basement by another volunteer. Some of these silver ones self-seeded in my yard from last year; they’re really quite something. I like petunias.

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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 yahoo.com


  1. Please tell me more about the Rudbeckia triloba ‘Prairie sunset’. that is great – haven’t seen it before. I tried googling it but didn’t find out anything.
    Your garden looks beautiful!
    About public plantings – is all the maintenance volunteer? I am starting a neighborhood container beautification project and the maintenance concerns me. It’s key to keeping it beautiful. Yes, hauling water is a drag!

  2. Public plantings: Take my word–find the money–contract out as much as you can. It sucks. Pure and simple.

    The triloba variant can be found at Select Seeds (mail order–I get plants, not seeds). In the past, commenters have said this isn’t a triloba at all, but the habit, size, form are the same. Only the color differs. So I take Select Seed’s word on it.

  3. Love those rudbeckias. Herbstonne blooms admirably for me with very little sun. I usually pinch it to keep it a little shorter, as it has a tendency to lean in the shade.

    Nice planter! How good of you to volunteer and help care for the public plantings.

  4. Thanks guys! Carol, I believe the Herbstommes must be widely available–I see them all over the place here.So I bet other nurseries across the US are catching the wave.

    Pinching them back–that would be a great idea, Linda. I will try that.

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