Louis Raymond experiments in his own gardens like

a mad scientist, searching out plants that most people have

never seen before & figuring out how to make them perform.- The Boston Globe

…Louis Raymond ensures that trees can grow in Brooklyn…

or just about any other place where concrete consumes

the dirt and skyscrapers shield the sunshine.- USA Today


NEW Trips to Take!

Myrtle's easy when the conditions are right.


NEW Plants to Try!

Louis tries to capture the exact words to describe the fleeting but deep pleasures to be found in these Summer-into-Autumn incredibles.


New Gardening to Do!

Allergic to bees? You can still have an exciting garden, full of flowers and color and wildlife.


Plant Profiles

Gold-Needled Umbrella Pine

No garden where umbrella pine is hardy should be without one. The conifer’s unique quill-like needles, and their striking array at the tips of bare stems—looking like the spokes of an umbrella—are a tactical & visual thrill.

Sciadopitys verticillata Gold Star 120718 hand 320

The brightly-hued needles of Gold Star ramp up this species' desirability even more. Other forms are dwarf, or columnar, variegated, or green.  On second thought, every garden needs multiple umbrella pines. 

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The Best Season Ever: Lablab

It's the rare vegetable that's showy enough for the garden at large. What others are there besides fancy-leaved kale, cardoons, Jerusalum artichokes, and artisanal grains such as broom corn and amaranth?


Lablab! This astonishing bean is grown world-wide as animal fodder, as well as for human consumption of its flowers, foliage, roots, and pods. It's also grown world-wide as a garden ornamental.

Lablab purpureus pods bloom fingers 092918 320

Here, the glossy rhubarb-pink pods glint in the sun. The long spikes of pink flowers earlier in the season are singular, as well. Then, there's the foliage!  

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Bamboo Foliage: the Alpha & Omega

Leaves of big-leaved bamboo are the largest: up to two feet long. Despite their tropical size, its hardy to coastal Maine.

Otatea acuminata subs. aztecorum Indocalamus tessellatus 091117 320

Among the smallest leaves of any bamboo are those of Mexican weeping bamboo. The day it was headed to the greenhouse for the winter, I had set my young containered specimen in front of my colony of big-leaved. Could the contrast be more striking? Of whatever hardiness or character, several forms of bamboo are essential in my garden—in any garden. 

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The Best Season Ever: 'Rubyglow' Passionvine in Bloom

The hardy passion vine has been in flower for months, and is just completing its floral show for the year. The floral season of this giant tender form, Ruby Glow, is just beginning.

Passifora alata Ruby Glow from front with blossom held horizontal 092218 320

Summer's leafy growth was the definition of exuberance: Next year, I'll supply a tower twenty feet high, not "just" fourteen. These massive, colorful flowers are even more exciting.

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The Best Season Ever: The Pollarded Planetree

When I pollarded this young Suttner's plane tree in January, the results were predicably shocking: a complete decapitation. True, what remained was a trunk with extraordinary bark—but without a single branch.

Platanus x acerifolia Suttneri 091418 overall 320

That was then. By September, new stems up to six feet long had sprouted. Plane trees of all sorts are classic subjects for pollarding, in part, because they respond with almost defiant glee when pruned.

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Good Together: 'Ghost' Weigela & 'Gibralter' Bush Clover

Late-summer spectacle can be easy with annuals and tropicals, which can continue at full tilt as long as the warmth lasts. Late summer spectacle with hardy plants is the exception not the norm—and, so, is all the more exciting.

Weigela florida Ghost Lespedeza thunbergii Gibralter 091018 320

August into September, the feathery, pendulous stems of Gibralter bush clover fairly drip with countless rosy-pink flowers. When branches of Ghost weigela are near, feathers of bush clover can merely drape them; if the weigela were any closer, it would be swamped outright. In gardens as in life, the goal is sociability that's intimate without being smothering. Here, Gibralter and Ghost have achieved companiable bliss.

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