Lilies: can’t live with ’em; can’t stop growing ’em


That lily stalk looks familiar! I had to smile when I saw
this image (taken by Chrys Gardener) from one of the Ithaca-area Open Days
gardens I am to visit Saturday with Kathy/Cold
Climate Gardening
. Unlike the manicured images from Raleigh—at least, according
to the pictures we saw—this somewhat less tidy image reminds me of what is
going on right here in Buffalo. Every year, the lily stalks reach for the
heavens, bending and swaying all over the place in the process. I have already
snapped off 2 buds brushing past them as I go about my garden chores—which need
to include securely staking about 30 of these.

This garden is in Ithaca; we will also be viewing 2 others
in Danby and Trumansberg. Look for a report Sunday or Tuesday. Sadly, there are
no Open
in my part of New York state. That doesn’t seem right. 

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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. Hi Elizabeth, we have to stake the tall ones here, no exceptions. When a strong storm hits, like it did today with towering stalks loaded in promising buds suffering no losses, it reminds us it is worth the effort. Breaking off buds is heartbreaking.

  2. Great-looking garden.

    I have about 100 lilies waiting to be staked as we speak. It’s really a big job that I tend to do gradually. I should just leave the stakes in, but they mar the spring scene.

  3. Wow, I love that garden, just from the glimpse you gave in the photo above.

    When looking for another way to use those spiral tomato stakes (which are utterly useless for staking tomatoes, for the record)I happened to wind a few around my tallest lilies. So far, no breakage–but I do have to remember to move them through the spiral as they grow.

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