An apple a day—since 1986



First, there was the black screen with a “C” prompt. That was the PC I used to learn the Wordstar program in 1984. Two years later, I bought my first Mac. Suddenly I was looking at a screen where graphics and blocks of text could be easily seen and moved around—and soon I was making newsletters, calendars, and fooling around with sound programs. Even in the days before the web, Facebook, or Twitter, I was on my computer every day; it was easy and fun. Eventually, all PCs were employing a graphical interface (more or less), but I am not the only one giving Apple and Steve Jobs the credit.

If publishing our images and thoughts on gardening wasn’t easy, none of us would do it. We’d be too busy working, raising a family, gardening, traveling hanging out with friends, or any of the other life-related activities. But it is easy. You point, you click, you upload a picture, you type a few words, and you can see what it looks like right away.

Many of the gardeners I know locally struggle with technology. Even here, I remember the initial reluctance about Twitter and Facebook. Now, I think many people who would have spent their time reading and commenting on blogs are switching to the faster, easier communications those networks make possible. It’s a natural progression.

But whatever happens, it’s all so much better than that black screen. So—even though I neither know nor care if he was a gardener—I’m thanking Steve J.

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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. A great tribute. Every major thing I’ve done on a computer, I’ve done on an Apple. When I went to college I took a Mac classic with me (with 4 MB of RAM, which still cracks me up since my phone has 16 GB!). I think I’ve written almost every story story I’ve ever had published on a Mac (I think there was a time at the Freeman when we didn’t have Macs, but that’s the only place I worked without Macs at every desk). And I can’t imagine what the publishing industry would look like today without Steve Jobs.

  2. There are those who dive into computers because it comes naturally, and those who want nothing to do with them. In between are the majority of people, who need to get their feet wet gradually. It has to begin with something they find useful. (Not just for the computer’s sake). My wife warmed up to computing by shopping for things on eBay. Then came email, Craigslist, Facebook, Blogging, etc. She’s a wiz now, but still has trouble sometimes. Repetition and gradual skill building were the keys…like learning to play the piano.

  3. About 14 years ago, Steve Jobs bought the lot next door to his house in suburban Palo Alto, CA, tore down the old house there and planted an apricot orchard. Apparently he wanted more privacy around his house, and that’s the solution he thought of. Not sure how hands-on he was with it, but what a nice privacy buffer.

  4. I worked at Apple for almost 8 years. It was exhausting, frustrating, challenging, triumphant, joyful, and still sweet. Now, iGarden. I believe gardeners, farmers, and garden writers have been doing what Steve did at Apple – we watch, listen and learn. We create again and again.

    We lovers of nature are often forced to “Think Different.” And, after a lot of work, “Boom” it finally happens – that glorious Franklina blooms.

    Off to work with the same passion, determination and anticipation. Thank you Steve. You are very much alive.

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