How I learned to stop worrying and love gardening indoors

This was taken in February of last year.
This was taken in February of last year.

At some point, I have to admit that summer is over and last weekend was that point. As I was potting tulips and moving them into the garage, a few strange white flecks (I wouldn’t call them flakes) came drifting down as the sun shone brightly. This weird mixture of snow and hail didn’t last long, but it was enough. That’s OK, though. I am ready. I have enough gardening activity to keep me busy through March, when I can turn my attention to planting outdoors once again.

bulbsBulbs, bulbs, bulbs
I’ve started, but won’t get all my outdoor ones in until mid-November, probably. I shoehorn in as many species tulips as I can in between the maple roots and shovel in big groups of 50 hybrids at a time in selected raised beds. Then there are the lilies, the grape hyacinth, the erythronium,  and the scilla. Then there are the potted bulbs for the garage and the bulbs for forcing. I’ll be potting up tazettas and hippeastrum right through the holidays. The forced hyacinths and tulips start coming out of the attic and root cellar in December through January. They bloom late January through February and into March. I have 1000 bulbs to process. That takes time.

Indoor plants
With some of these it’s just a trick of keeping them alive through the winter, but I do have a promising lemon tree and some long-standing foliage plants and traditional indoor flowering plants (you know the ones). It is so important to have these.

Big plans
With help, I might be instituting some major changes in the garden next spring; now will be the time to figure those out, and—essential—nail down my professional help. You don’t call people up in April and expect they’ll be making their way to your property anytime within two months. Ha.

IMG_2415 (1)Investigations
There are always interesting botanical phenomena to explore. We just got a flower cart guy here who also designs amazing floral installations for clients—all out of his house. It will necessary to visit our lovely botanical garden. And then, of course there’s life (see image above).

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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


    • Maybe change up some shrubs in the front, tear out one of the beds in the back and finally get rid of the weird brick barrier around it. Ongoing hardscaping replacement.

  1. Do tell more about the drinks you’ve mixed up! Is your mint still going, or is it shutting down for the winter?

  2. My indoor gardening efforts pretty much consist of “try my best to keep everything from dying”. It’s really tough when none of your windows get any good sun!

    • Similar problem. I do have two windows in LR getting southern exposure 4-6 hours but very little floor space. Would love to see what plant shelves others are using in front of windows that aren’t too cluttered.

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