2013: It was a year



Yay: I finally can have my vegetables and eat them too. A box of local, organically grown food is delivered to our door every week. We can also go out to the farm once in a while and load up on chickens, excess corn, even flowers. The food-growing thing was just never going to happen in any kind of successful fashion for me. But now I’m supporting an excellent family farm and enjoying some of the best potatoes (among other produce) I have ever had. It took me a while to find a great CSA experience, but it finally happened.

 Boo: Fracking. Talk about one step backward. As we struggle to increase the health of our waterways—with some success—the notion of blasting chemicals into the ground becomes more popular than ever. Hard to see how it will do anything but harm to the farms, vineyards, and overall ecosystem of New York.

Boo: I may not grow vegetables but anyone who wants to should. The zoning boards, HOAs, city inspectors, and other regulators  need to turn their attention to real problems, and stay out of people’s gardens.

Yay: Garden Walk! This continues to be one of the coolest garden touring experiences anywhere. People walk it, bike it, bring their kids, bring their out-of-town guests, and travel to it from afar (we routinely see walkers from all over the U.S. and abroad). It is the social event of the season in Buffalo and increasingly renowned elsewhere. And thanks to the example set by those on both the big walk and the regional walks, front gardens throughout Western New York are a lot more interesting. GW celebrates its 20th anniversary in 2014.

Yay: We have learned to keep fish alive in a shallow pond. It takes a certain amount of technology, but now we can maintain a relationship over time with our pond pets. Too bad, though, about the tadpole I tried to introduce. That didn’t work.

Still yay: Bulbs in containers. This strategy never fails. It makes for better variety, easier planting, and zero aftercare.

Yay: A real winter.  In my neck of the woods, anyway, this is the way it’s supposed to work. Let it snow.

Triple yay: Welcome to the Rant’s three new contributors, Ivette, Evelyn, and Allen. The more the merrier when it comes to ranting; their voices and those of our guests help keep things fresh around here.

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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 yahoo.com


  1. New York said no to fracking but has no qualms about using natural gas coming in from rural Pennsylvania. NYC has been rapidly switching from fuel oil for heat to natural gas from the fracking fields of Pa. Cheaper and the air is cleaner. Yeah! Too bad about the Appalachian rural people. Do you heat or cook with natural gas?

  2. Thank you for the welcome, Elizabeth! I am immensely enjoying being a part of this rollicking (and sometimes rowdy) dialogue you four founders have built over the last seven years. May Garden Rant thrive long into the future!

    • These are almost all hybrid tulip bulbs, so I compost them. Hybrid tulips are not reliable bloomers for me, ever, so I treat them as annuals.

      I keep a few lilies in containers and do save those, in the container, in my garage.

  3. 1) I second everything on your list. 2) I think you’re absolutely right about Cuomo and fracking. Which makes my stomach turn for many reasons, especially that being here in the Finger Lakes, if the water gets ruined, there goes wine, agriculture and tourism. That’s all the Finger Lakes has in terms of industry and jobs. 3) Most importantly, thanks to all the Ranters and a very Happy and prosperous New Year to you!

  4. I’m SOOOO happy to be a RANTER!!! Thanks for the welcome, Elizabeth – I have to say, it has been a secret dream ever since I was a baby garden blogger to Rant with the Ranters – and now look at me! Makes me feel all glowy! Happy New Year to ALL!!!!

  5. Love your list. While my year was mostly “yay!” one great big “boo!” stands out – our official rainfall last year was 6 inches. No typo or mistake there. From January 1 to December 31 we got only 6 inches of rain, approximately one-third of our average. It was the driest year on record. December-January is supposed to be our rainiest time of the year as well and we’ve seen nothing. Nothing. The reservoir from which my city gets its water is dangerously low, maybe 100 vertical feet below max capacity. Things are looking bad this year. As in, not only will the lawns be no-water zones, but possibly the gardens as well. And farmers? Bless their hearts, they may not get even a third of the water they need for crops, which means food costs will skyrocket.

  6. The Garden Walk is a fabulous event. I’m so glad I got to preview it at the Bloggers Fling. One of the loveliest events of my blogging life. Quadruple Boo to fracking. I don’t know how anyone can even consider it. Yay for CSAs. We have a lot in our area and it is wonderful to see all these new farmers in business.

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