The landscaping potential of snow


It’s not 12/21 yet, but winter has officially begun in Western New York; I had gotten my final bulbs in just a few days before the season’s first major snowfall hit on 12/10 (making for a really bizarre football game that day).

Photo by Mark Nowak

For the most part snowstorms are no big deal. You can survey a steady snowfall calmly and remark, “Yeah, we got this.” Tornadoes, wildfires, and hurricanes won’t be stopped by roofs and walls; they rage unchecked, wiping out neighborhoods in minutes. But as long as you’re inside with a heat source, a snowstorm can’t get you. If the winds aren’t heavy, it can even be fun to dress warmly and walk out into the snow. We’ve had one or two deadly storms over the past four decades or so, but the casualties were always due to not being inside (and there are usually timely warnings against trying to drive or otherwise travel outdoors during a bad blizzard).

Yes, I’ll take snow over anything else nature throws my way. It’s even pretty. Especially when it covers a landscaping job that seems designed to be blanketed in snow. When we moved into our offices, which had been an industrial complex, this was a weed-tree-filled mudpit. Now it is handy for summer parties and it has beautiful color in fall. But I think I like it best at this time of year.

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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. Absolutely beautiful, Elizabeth. Thanks so much.
    What is the beautiful building with the tower in the middle photo?
    Watched part of that game on Sunday and thought of you.
    Still 50s-60s here in Denver (daytime) but true Winter will hit us Jan-Feb.
    Hope to meet you-all in 2019. Our DBG is looking great though a few too many new hardscape structures for my taste.
    Diane in Denver

  2. That is First Presbyterian Church. Built in 1891, designed by Green & Wicks, it has Tiffany windows. The material is red Medina sandstone.

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