Too darn cold

A back room that’s just chilly enough

After reviewing the situation in my root cellar over the weekend, I decided I better just get all the hyacinths out of there, whether their buds are large enough or not. The temps have been in the single digits for days now, with no relief promised, and the root cellar isn’t providing its usual protection. I’ve found that freeze/thaw cycles can turn hyacinths to mush (tulips are tougher), so better to let them take their chances at room temp. Already, after a couple days, the slower buds are emerging, and I know they’re rooted enough.

These big pots hold 12 bulbs each, which is really the best way to do it.

I’ve found that most bulbs—especially hyacinths—will take a decent amount of abuse and still bloom, but this winter is testing their resolve, even in the house. It’s like they know how bitter it is outside and are staying cautious, just in case. This year, I won’t see flowers until mid-February, I’m guessing.

It’s a good winter to feed the birds, which I’m doing with seeds and suet. It’s also a relief that I gave up on most of my macrophylla hydrangeas. The summer of 18 won’t be too good for mopheads around here. Every now and then, ma nature likes to remind us what a WNY winter can do. This is one of those years.

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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 regularly 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. 75 days until Spring, Elizabeth!
    Love your writing and look forward to your posts every time I get Garden Rant in the e-mail.
    Hang in there and Keep On Writing!

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