Bring it


As if they knew, the entire crew of Erlicheer tazettas now installed in glass vases throughout my ground floor has indicated their willingness to bloom. Last year was characterized by a high percentage of bud blast, but then last year, we didn’t really have a winter. Welcome back! This is January as I remember it from a few years ago.

Office hyacinths

But I’m ready. I have 20-25 tazettas blooming now, 20 or so pots of hyacinths in the back room that will be up in a couple weeks, and a few big pots of tulips waiting in the root cellar. They are needed. I don’t ski, ice skate, or sled, and my lungs hate walking fast in cold weather (though I would like to try snowshoeing). These plants will keep me occupied, and the house fragrant through February at least and most likely partway into March. It’s not the same as a year-round garden—which I don’t even think I would want—but it provides a smattering of gardening activity through the frigid months. For me, it’s better than seed catalogs.

I’ve also bought another humidifier for the indoor plants. I prefer it to the trays of water, or trays of pebbles and water (messy, annoying). There is maintenance, to be sure, but I think it’s worth it. With this kind of weather, even the office philodendrons are looking pretty good!

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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. You should definitely try the snowshoeing! It is a wonderful way to get out into the beautiful winter season. And once you enter the forest the winds drop considerably. It is like you are hundreds of miles away from anyone.

    But your post also reminds me that I have some paperwhites sitting in a brown paper bag that should probably be put in a glass vase and watered.

  2. Great idea to put the tazettas in tall, clear vases–keeps them from flopping! I never thought of it and I have some tall vases just like yours. Thanks–looks gorgeous.

    • Jeff, you can also feed them some rubbing alcohol to stunt their growth. Do a quick google search to get the water-alcohol proportions. Works like a charm.

  3. Hyacinths are coming up in vases in the kitchen. Almost time to bring in the pots of bulbs from the freezing garage. The tazettas will go in vases as soon as I get back home (2 weeks in a foreign country through off my bulb game). I can’t wait to have flowers again!

    I recently read somewhere else that cutting gardens are becoming all the rage in Europe and that they should be the next big thing in the US. I suppose that forcing bulbs is kind of our own version.

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