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: Fall Foliage of the Dwarf Larch

Now that January is upon us, the forecast of a blizzard plus record low temperatures is, alas, par for the course anywhere north of Florida. (And Rhode Island is so north of Florida.)  The merely chilly days of Fall now seem balmy—and the warm intensity of the best Fall foliage a fond memory.

 

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Larches are particularly generous with their Fall foliage display. This semi-dwarf, 'Deborah Waxman', is so dense, so vigorous, that (at least at close range) her canopy of bright orange Fall foliage can block out the rest of the world.

 

The needles of the season's newest growth are slow to get the message that Fall is here: They remain green and viable long after the needles that originate from stems that are more interior have embraced Fall and, even, begun to release for the Winter.

 

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Larches are among the few conifers besides yews that are easy-going about pruning. As long as there are slender stems with the characteristic bumpy little leaf buds—dormant or not—below your cut, you can trim as drastically as you want.

 

Larix-laricina-Deborah-Waxman-bud-details-112013-640

 

Perhaps these two quirks can be synergized. Since the needles on first-year stems hold on to their green color, and the tree is very willing to produce just such first-year stems in response to pruning, would the way to maximize the number of those green-needled twigs be to maximize the amount of pruning?

 

To up the ante on this experiment, what about pruning so as to maximize the aesthetic impact of these green-needled twigs? The natural shape of this compact form of Larix laricina is irregularly rounded. And that means that the "greens," which seem to arise only from the upper surface of the canopy, are distributed irregularly. If the top of the canopy were simpler—flat, say—the "greens" would all be at the same elevation as they arise from a single plane of older growth. 'Deborah Waxman' would be sporting a green flat-top. 

 

Winter is prime season for larch pruning. Stay tuned for a full article on Larix laricina 'Deborah Waxman', as well as pictures of her dramatic reshaping. 

 

Here's another conifer that displays sensational Fall foliage: the bald cypress, Taxodium distichum.

 
 
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