Ketzel Levine is alive and well and drinking lots of champagne



And she says she’s not bitter. Check it out at Ketzel Uprooted.

As Amy noted here, Levine, who does significant garden and plant-related coverage as well as other assignments, fell victim to recent NPR cutbacks. She did her last broadcast yesterday. It was about the gutsy Chicago landscaping firm that created Millennium Park.

Though public radio programming is as popular as ever, the underwriting from the financial and automotive sectors just isn’t as plentiful as it used to be. And, as Amy also notes, where else should they look to cut but their coverage of plants? After all, in these days of climate change and worries about the future of the planet, how important could plant coverage be? You tell me.

As someone rooted in an even older media than radio—print journalism—I can see the demise of my profession coming down the road as surely and certainly as Levine may have—just not right now, and maybe not for a few decades. She has a blog now, just as I and a whole lot of other gardeners do. But are blogs an adequate substitute for established media outlets that actually pay their reporters? I’d say no, though I think they’re an important and necessary adjunct to traditional journalism. In the world of gardening, blogs have broken through the seasonal advice barrier to enable honest and often provocative discussions of things gardeners really care about. But that doesn’t mean I’m ready to accept losing garden coverage in traditional media. Levine says in her most recent blog post: I’m open for business, grateful for the company and am ready to entertain, but she quickly adds: (Resume available on request.)

Will this lay-off accompany the loss of regional garden columnists in local newspapers everywhere?

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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 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


  1. NPR is wrong in eliminating gardening from its programming. If they are so munch the forefront of public opinion on global warming, preservation of agriculture and open space what better way to wave the flag than to promote gardening.

    But I see through the mist and offer my opinion.

    If one grows their own food and becomes self sufficient then do they need the “public aka government social programs” to help them?

    The answer is NO……

    Very little of NPR programming is about helping yourself. I mean compare their programming on environmental issues, energy etc to that of The Mother Earth News.

    I see very little in Mother about asking big brother for help or how growing a tomato is Poughkeepsie helps a poor herdsmen in Pakistan.

    I get most of my news from NPR because they give both sides of the story and offer fair reporting. Most other media outlets do not. However their programming is very much geared towards…..government funding, intrusion, socialism. They cannot survive without socialism paying their way and calling commercials underwriting.

    I do not find regional gardening columnists going away. If they are the editors are not paying attention to their readers wants. Readers are hungry for gardening information both how to and beyond.

    So if NPR wants to wave the save the earth flag why then have they eliminated the best source for saving the earth: encouraging people to start in their own back yard?

    Their social agenda of letting listeners think “everyone else is doing it” gives a false sense of security because the main stream listener hears that someone else is not using their hair dryer so I can still use mine. Just like buying carbon credits. You cut your carbon footprint so I can buy the savings. Net result the same amount of carbon just spread over a wider area.

    Pleasure boaters everyday dump more oil into the waters than Exxon Valdez, Valdez just dumped it all in one place. But then 500,000 mating penguins on one small rock outcropping pooping everywhere is not pollution.

    Go figure!

    I liken this to conservative talk radio as well. A bunch of neo cons calling up Hannity or Limbaugh rattling the phone for a few minutes and hanging up. How many of the callers to talk radio ever attend a school board, town board or county legislature meeting?

    Very few. I know because I attend them not only to find out what is going on but to gather fodder for the several newspapers I write for.

    So best wishes to all this holiday season…………..

    I do not do the Christamas thing but to all who do happy holidays

    The (going reindeer hunting tonight) TROLL

  2. Of course you do not celebrate Christmas, Greg! You’re a troll, not an elf or a fairy. You are supposed to be stealing ornaments and presents though–you better get busy on that. No time to comment today!

  3. Look under your tree!
    What tree you say? You do not see?
    That is beacuse said tree now belongs to me.

    Oh where oh where has your Xmas tree gone oh where oh where has it gone?

    That irreverant blogging garden
    TROLL planted it in his yard instead of a lawn.

    He is remorseful you know that his lawn he did mow one too many times and on a Sunday to boot.

    The tree huggers came to belittle him and the property owners asssciation left him this note:

    Dear Mr. TROLL:

    While our bylaws require that you manicure your place there are certain guidelines to follow.
    No noise before 8 mon-fri nor any mowing on Sunday in this Hollow.

    Now the tree huggers took their turn and reprimanded his lawn by saying you should bow to the sun each dusk and dawn.

    Not wanting to cut down another poor fir upsetting nature nor stir the cause of carbon to get there, Mr Troll then waited for eliz to be sedated by her nightly cup of yuletide ale.

    One sip two sip and then a final exhale. For her nap now soon to begin.
    It was then that Mr Troll snuck in stole her Xmas tree with a grin.

    On Laughter and Natural Disater, on Nixon and Agnew Again. I wish you all a happy solstice, or Rhama-Hanna-Kwansmus or if you choose to do none of this fuss


    The (can’t stand needles in may carpet) TROLL

  4. I’m afraid regional newspapers are no better than NPR. As a long-time editor and garden columnist, I got downsized last spring. The reformulated paper kept me on as a weekly columnist for two months. Then they scaled me back to every other week and now I’m toast as of January 1. It doesn’t matter that gardening is huge in my area with dozens of local nurseries and strong garden clubs and societies. Advertising is the engine that drives newspapers and small nurseries can’t foot that bill. (And as a resident of the state that had a famed socialist mayor into the 1960s, what’s wrong with socialism?).

  5. Nothing is wrong with socialism in its pure theoretical form. Jesus taught that we are our brothers keeper, what you do to the littlest you do to me, no greater love than to lay down your life for your brother etc etc.

    But even he added you are rewarded based on your faith and duties.

    It fails in practice because most of us cannot tolerate the fact they if we work harder than someone else the pie is still split evenly.

    Madison Avenue has capitalized on that human flaw to the nth degree.

    Socialized medicine in Europe is a perfect example of why socialism when put into practice fails. No incentive to get things done in a timely manner.

    The incentive is theory should be to help as many people as get well as quickly as possible.

    The (not your comrade) TROLL

  6. well, yesterday the Chicago Tribune announced the lay off of long-time garden columnist, Beth Botts.

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