These driveway dahlias were nice until a couple days ago.

Well, I guess I can get out the fall décor (won’t say the H
word yet) a little early this year. Many of us in the Northeast have been
pounded by cold driving rain and high winds over the past week, so much so that
even if some balmier weather does arrive, as I am sure it will, the container
plants and tender perennials are too ripped apart to recover. My outdoor
tropicals are barely hanging on (I like to test them).


Guess I'll just take a walk. (Burchfield Nature Center)

But is this premature devastation such a bad thing? In many
ways it will be a relief to stop watering the pots, plant them up with bulbs
(as has been reported here, that is how I use over 200 of my bulbs); pull out
the stakes, cut back a few dead stalks, and enjoy a somewhat denuded but still
pleasant garden. Hikes, country drives, and outdoor activities are still
possible. And there are the other 200 plus bulbs to get in the ground. At some

Previous articlePlants make you a better person
Next articleTurnip Day Sessions
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 yahoo.com


  1. Yeah, we had our first frost last night — goodbye to the lingering tomatoes, peppers the glory of the dahlias is over. I’m cleaning up and planning for spring now. It is a little nice though — winter is a nice vacation for thinking and other pass times.

  2. Fall arrived with a fury here in the Pac NW. First frost for us last night too (gosh, there are a lot of Fs in that sentence). Time for clearing out, rebuilding beds, and planting the cover crops.

    Even if you won’t use the H word, it sure feels like that spooky time already…

  3. It is a relief isn’t it? I always feel an ironic component though; the tropicals, containers, and lots of the annuals are at their most beautiful now and it seems somehow not quite right that they’re cut down in their prime. And it seems even worse that I’m a bit happy about it!

Comments are closed.