Welcome to my …


Photo by Mark Nowak

No, you’ll find no dreadful scenes like the above lurking about my property. There is no need for manufactured horror here. If I want to be filled with fright and despair, all I have to do is take a short walk around the yard. Do you dare to accompany me? All right, but just remember … you were warned!

The Black Lagoon of Misery

This was once a cheerful water feature, with bright orange fish darting through the clear water. Now, the once-pristine pond is more like a swamp, choked with leaves and inexplicably-dead water plants. The fish lurk in the bottom, their only hope possible adoption by a kindly neighbor.

Dark Shadows of Doom Overhead

By the thousands, they rustle in the breeze, still bright green for the most part, taunting us as they flutter down, one or two at a time. They’ll save the big drop until 3 hours before the first major snowstorm. And there they’ll lay for months, ready to be scooped up in heavy, sodden piles after the thaw.

Will the Bulbs Never End?

Who ordered all these? What could he or she have been thinking? Who’s going to plant all these? How much did all this cost? This is madness, I tell you, madness!

The Killing Fields

This is where young, vibrant, healthy, expensive plants are taken to die … slowly. The torture is simple but exquisite. If planted, these perennial salvias, daylilies, and geraniums might make a bright show next summer. If planted—and that’s looking less and less likely.

OK, that’s all for today. Thank you for visiting my little garden. I’m sorry if it has been unpleasant. Once I had beautiful flower beds, lush ferns, colorful container annuals, and much more. Not any more.

The horror! The horror!

(And—oh yes—there’s also next Tuesday.)

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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 yahoo.com


  1. Thanks for this fun posting. The Killing Fields made me laugh the most)) Our family did not celebrate Halloween this year, because now life is like eternal Halloween.
    I want to share with you one interesting fact that I just recently learned about Halloween. One of the main attributes of Halloween is the pumpkin. This is a tribute to the tradition of the end of the harvest.
    But actually, now we have to use turnips.
    One of the legends says that a certain blacksmith Jack tricked the devil into promising never to take his soul. After death, the sinner could not go to heaven, he also had no way to hell. The devil gave Jack an ember, which he put in an empty turnip. Such a flashlight, known as the Jack-O-Lantern, helped him illuminate his path. The turnip was replaced with a pumpkin due to the availability and cheapness of the latter.


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