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

Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: Golden Cryptomeria in Spring

Gold-needled cryptomeria comes into its own in warm weather. 

 

 

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In Winter, the foliage hunkers down in shades of bronze and tan—not the ideal shades in a season that’s already hurting for lively color.

 

 

But Spring through Fall, Cryptomeria japonica ‘Sekkan Sugi’ is a star. Old foliage changes from bronze back to yellow-green, while the new needles are a creamy lemon sherbet.

 

 

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As with all plants with exciting young foliage, the trick is to encourage them to produce as much of it as possible.

 

 

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Happily, cryptomeria is very amenable to the usual tactics: training and pruning. I’ve espaliered mine onto a high and wide frame erected in the comparative shelter of the south side of the house; ‘Sekkan Sugi’ isn’t as hardy as other cryptomeria cultivars, such as ‘Yoshino’.

 

 

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Branches that are trained to be more nearly horizontal typically send new growth out from all of the branch’s dormant buds. This is because the lowering of the growth tip at the very end of the limb reduces its normal ability to produce a hormone that inhibits growth of buds farther back on the stem. On a horizontal stem—or one that’s nearly so—the terminal buds are scarcely higher any of the others. And so all the buds produce new stems and foliage with equal vigor. The espaliered arms of my 'Sekkan Sugi' have sprouted secondary branches so prolifically that the espalier has morphed into a solid wall of growth.

 

 

The other tactic to encourage plenty of new growth is to prune, which also, inherently, removes those same growth-inhibiting terminal buds. All cryptomerias make great hedges, and deerproof ones, at that. A hedge of ‘Sekkan Sugi’ would be an extraordinary lemon-yellow wall of color.

 

 

I tend to retie my espaliered ‘Sekkan Sugi’ one year, and prune the next. This is the season for pruning, which can be done later in the Summer, after the torrent of Spring tasks—planting, sowing, transplanting, weeding, and staking—has passed. With a lot of thinning, the individual espalier arms will once again be distinguishable. Not to mention, distinguished.

 

 

This is also the time for me to reweave through them the scandent and twining stems of Regel’s wingnut, whose leafy growth is most visible amid the bottom reaches of the espalier. This odd shrub's pendulous clusters of three-winged seeds bring another seasonal peak to the ‘Sekkan Sugi’ espalier.

 

 

Here's how to grow Cryptomeria japonica 'Sekkan Sugi'.

 
 
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