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: 'Flower Record' Crocus

As gardens revive in Spring, the colors can be tricky. Amid the background of grays, browns, and muted greens, would bright hues be the kickstarter to our spirits, or the clash before our eyes? Do glaring flowers make up for months of a Winter-muted palette, or are they a rude reminder that Winter is always comparatively drab—and why point that out so gleefully?

 

But then, some crocuses appear, as is their wont, almost overnight. They flaunt flowers that are huge compared to the grassy-leaved sprigs of foliage that they emerge from, and in what-the-hell color combinations that seem to be fresh discoveries even for the plants themselves.

 

These are Crocus vernus 'Flower Record', with bright purple petals around a glowing orange pistil.

 

Crocus vernus Flower Record 031216 640

 

Peering closer, you can see that the yolk-yellow stamens are still ripening. And that the "purple" of the petals is actually a complication of colors and patterns: chilly white striped with pink at one edge, infusions of magenta blushing the tips, and dense networks of purple veins connecting it all.

 

Crocus vernus Flower Record closer 031216 640

 

And, in the middle, that jolt of pure orange and pure yellow. No infusions, stripes, blushes, and nettings there. Instead, a saturated spike, a smack across the face of anything that has merely outlasted Winter, not triumphed over it.

 

Only a week ago, I was surrounded by the ceaseless enthusiasms of tropical horticulture, where something—and something big and crazy—is always in bloom. Where, even in the dead of Winter, trees rain six-inch flowers onto the streets. And where, as one resident told me, "I can't wait for Summer, when all the flowers really get going."

 

Amid such profusion, who would ever notice a clump of crocuses, even those as exuberant as these?

 

 

Here's how to grow crocuses, as well as a look at the 'Zwanenburg' cultivar, whose petals are yellow and burgundy.

 

 
 
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