Ear to the Ground

From the Publisher: May-June 2019

by janem on May 8, 2019

Happy spring!

This issue’s theme is lilacs, and we have all kinds of lilac fun inside, plus a feature on bioswales and rain gardens, our ever-popular almanac and calendar listings, and lots more. I really think you will enjoy it!

My Close Friend and Personal Confidant Ted “Doc Lilac” Collins has been gone from us a little more than a year now. I think of him every day, maybe because of the sticky note on my computer screen that says “Call Ted.” I put it there a week or so before he died, but I never did make that call. I just haven’t had the heart to take it down. 

Lately, though, it’s been falling off on its own. I stick it back up and then think, should I tape it? Should I super glue it? Should I put it in the recycling? If I throw it away, will I forget him?

Of course not. 

Probably the best way to remember Ted is to get out there and smell the lilacs—maybe even plant a few!

Thanks, as always for reading—


Jane Milliman, Publisher


From the Publisher-March-April 2019

by janem on March 7, 2019

Jane Milliman

Outside my window right now are about six inches of light, fluffy snow. Though the days are getting longer and the sun has made more appearances lately, it is still one hundred percent winter. 

Luckily, our winter photo contest is ongoing.

There is still plenty of time to strap on the snowshoes and venture out in search of songbirds; to get a view of your property from inside the house (that’s most important perspective, right?); or to wander around, take some pictures, and send them in to us. upstategardenersjournal.com/winter-photo-contest

While we only have a contest for winter images, we are happy to see anything that you shoot! We’re always looking for story ideas or pictures of your garden, public gardens, the Crafty Cathy crafts you craft … whatever’s on your mind!

Write to us at 390 Hillside Ave., Rochester, NY 14610; email jane@janemilliman.com; follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest; and let us know what’s on your mind. 

We love our readers! Thank you. 

Have a very happy spring. 


Jane Milliman, Publisher


From the Publisher: Directory 2019

by janem on January 23, 2019

Jane Milliman with lilies in Mumbai, India, courtesy Reynolds Kelly

I’m rounding out the first year in my new garden, and it looks terrible. Actually, as I write this it’s blanketed in snow, so it looks ok. But in general—awful. There are a lot of weedy roses of Sharon, and I can’t decide if I want to try to “make my peace” with them or to go with my first instinct, total eradication.

Obviously I have no such qualms about the abundant swallowwort, and I also have no idea how to get rid of it.

The first winter in my last [real] garden, I noticed the postman’s tracks in the snow and decided to build paths there (since he clearly was going to walk that way regardless, and it felt polite). It was probably the best design decision I made in that front yard. It was definitely a better decision than planting dwarf Alberta spruce and other supposedly diminutive evergreens.

That garden produced many happy accidents, however. Certain plants self-sowed with exuberance: ‘Confetti’ hardy geranium; pulmonaria; beautiful, dark-purple spurge; hellebore; corydalis, European wild ginger, Digitalis lutea…the list goes on. (And out back, it’s a totally different list.)

I dug up a lot of those plants—the offspring—and planted them in the new garden this summer. Most of them won’t survive, and there are several I’ll probably try again. But there are some things I’ll try and try again that will simply never take in this new space, so close to the old one and yet so different. I could never grow dogwoods or gaura in the limey, loamy, typically “Honeoye” soil of Caledonia, but I bet I’ll have no trouble with them in the new stuff (city east), which appears to be close to pure sand.

So I’ll take the advice I’ve given coutless others over the past twenty-odd years—when planning a new garden, walk around the neighboorhood and see what is efortlessly thriving in your neighbors’ plots.

And don’t forget about the postal carrier!