This is what winter looks like


It’s cold, it’s dreary, and it seems like it will last forever. At least, that’s the reality if you live in the mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and Northeastern zones, as many of us do.  It doesn’t bother me much—I’ve lived and gardened through many a snowy season. No biggie and ho-hum. But I appreciate a gardening publication that looks cold weather in the eye, as the new issue of Wilder Quarterly seems to.

From the frozen white landscape on the cover to the features on Iceland, calendula hand salve, and wild-gathered cuisine in Sweden, the fifth issue of Wilder looks a cold, still season straight in the eye. There is plenty of nonseasonal matter (including an interview with Mark Bittman) and the usual excellent photography.

Last year, I received the winter issue of Wilder well after the snow and cold had relaxed its grip, and it seemed incongruous. This year I got it just in time to provide a grudging appreciation of winter’s glories—as I was cursing its inexorable presence. There are some bright spots—my outdoor bulbs are pushing up, and I thoughtfully supplied myself with enough indoor hyacinths (as you see above) to last until it finally does warm up.

While I enjoy browsing the summer bulb catalogs as much as anyone, I also appreciate a gardening publication that is meant to be really read—not just looked at—by the fire.

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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. I had to stop subscribing to Wilder Quarterly because I have no desire to read about the season after it’s passed. It just languished on the table. Sad because it seems to have promise, but relevance is key for a periodical.

  2. I found it somewhat annoying that 6 of the articles (nearly half) in the winter issue were about cooking and food. It was my first issue so at first I thought perhaps I had misunderstood what the magazine was about. But in an interview with the NYTimes, Celestine Maddy (the editor) clearly said it’s for contemporary gardeners. Hmmm. From this one issue, I’d say it was for foodies who dabble in gardening. I hope future issue prove me wrong. If not, I doubt I’ll renew.

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