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 Key West: African Tulip Tree

Hurricanes are normal for Key West, so stormworthy trees should be the rule. But there are just too many other tempting possibilities for this, the mildest climate in North America—especially those that wouldn't survive even in sometimes-chilly Miami.


The platter-sized flower clusters of African tulip tree are so staggeringly good, the trees are still planted in the Keys, brittle wood be damned. Below, what's left of my favorite Spathodea campanulata in Key West: sprouts from the roots. When I introduced it two years ago, it was well over thirty feet high and wide. 


Spathodea campanulata 022318 915 


Key West miraculously missed a direct hit from last season's storms, but those Category 2 winds were plenty strong enough to topple vulnerable trees. Below, the occasional massive stump still awaiting removal.


Stump two 021618 915


Longer-term, truly catastrophic damage is inevitable. Buildings can be rebuilt—and more strongly—but a given species or cultivar is what it is: Spathodea wood will always be brittle. This species grows particulalry fast, which is one reason the wood is so brittle. On the plus side, though, it grows particularly fast and—as above—can resprout from the roots as well as self-seed. In just a few years, this little grove will be mature enough to flower.


Back home in New England, hurricanes are also inevitable—but I'm growing this purely tropical species in a container that's brought into shelter. Will my youngster develop flowers before these do? I'll compare their progress year by year.   




I'll profile this species in full when I can photograph flowers of my own containered specimen.


Here's another spectacular leafless-in-cool-weather tropical tree, Jacaranda mimosifolia. I grow a pair in containers, and they flower with enthusiasm with the dormant-all-winter treatment I'm eager to try with Spathodea.

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