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

The Best Season Ever: Black False-Hellebore

This perennial is one of hardy horticulture's enduring unicorns: It's rarely available for sale, is famously poisonous to every creature but the favored polinators, blooms with thousands of sepulchrally-dark flowers, and bears large obsessively-tidy, pleated green foliage.

Veratrum nigrum flower spike top w hand 072818 320

Did I mention that it's painfully slow to mature to flowering age? That it's fatally at risk if the soil is anything less than deep, rich, and moist?  Unicorn, indeed.

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Pink-leaved Chestnut, Leafing Out



Five days from the first picture of April 19, and we've had some warmth and (just as important) a serious rain.  It takes a lot of water to inflate the large leaves.  And—who knows?—maybe it takes some special energy to turn them pink too.

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Pink-leaved Chestnut



It's Spring, and things move fast:  Excitement might be afoot Tuesday but gone by Saturday.  And you won't want to miss it.


Certainly not this plant, the pink-leaved chestnut.  You read right.  Pink.  Look closer:

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Purple Butterbur



Every April, strange almost alien green eggs appear atop the gravel at the shady side of the driveway.  When they open up into spheres of countless cream flowers here, they don't look much less alien.  In fact, they look more like the compound insect-like eyes of some unknowable but intensely-observant Other than actual flowers.  


Well, let 'em look.

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Osage Orange in Winter

I seem unable to resist thorny, spiny, and prickly plants not in spite of those painful features, but because of them. Inch-long spines of osage orange are profuse as well as effective deterrents to casual contact with humans, let alone the nibbles of any and all browsers.

Maclura pomifera twig fingers 122918 320

On this basis alone, the trees should be ideal for the unfenced portion of my garden. But this osage cultivar, Cannonball, has another irresistible talent: producing enormous fruits that are literally cannonball size. Why have just the normal grapefruit-sized ones?

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The Higher-than-Ever Hedge of American Holly

All forms of holly rebound eagerly when pruned, which is one reason they can form such effective, attractive, durable hedges: They can be pruned a little or a lot, and respond by forming vigorous bushy new growth.

Ilex opaca 495 top to prune 122218 320

This eagerness is the reason holly is so quick and easy to train into a hedge. Long-term, it's also the reason that the hedge can be maintained at peak condition forever. The key is welcoming the new growth while, at the same time, being able to prune most of it away without a qualm.


My immense old hedge of American holly is the poster child for long-term healthy care. In less than two years after its last ruthless prune, the top bristles with new shoots three feet tall and taller. As it turns out, they are just the tips of the radical cut-back that's needed.

Read more ...

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