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: Madeira Vine in Full Flower

Two weeks after my September 22 posting, the countless buds at the top of the twenty-foot tripod of Madeira vine have matured to white flowers. If only my jet-pack were working, I'd float up to enjoy their fragrance. 




The vine is a terror in the tropics, where its reproductive prowess is a cruel exaggeration of fecundity. There, my one-season's-worth of growth to twenty feet would have been accomplished before Spring break, not September. Even so, there are probably a thousand flowers crowning my tall tripod. Imagine the out-of-control growth of this vine when growing in frost-free habitat. A free-range infestation of this vine could have tens of thousands of blooms, the goal of each of which is to mature to seeds.




Even worse than the seeds are the bulbils that form in the leaf axils. The growing season isn't long enough this far North to enable their formation and, at any rate, they aren't hardy if any should fall to the ground. In the tropics, they mature on the vine, month after month, ramifying into heavy clusters as big as grapefruits. Not only can the vine's innumerable stems and thick foliage shade out the canopy of a host tree, the overall weight of the clusters can break even large limbs. Countless dislodged bulbils then crash to the ground, to take root and send up more twining stems.


Where it is hardy, Anredera cordifolia is a nightmare. Where it is not, it's an aggressive but harmless oddity. Mine survives year to year only because the vine has tuberous roots, and I overwinter the containered colony—dormant, with its twenty-foot stems severed—under one of the greenhouse benches.


Here's how to grow Madeira vine. Here's how Madeira vine looks in bud.

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