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

Pink-leaved Chestnut

Closer, but not close enough:

 

aesculus-erythroblastos-64

 

 

 

Closer still:

 

 

aesculus-erythroblastos-c

 

 

Yup: Pink.  Just buds today, with the new leaves just barely expanded beyond the protective tan scales that sealed the bud safely over the Winter.  But even now the blush is there, and it's definitely a pink blush.  And when the leaves expand, the blush intensifies—who knows why?— beyond anything permitted by dignity or even for bubble-gum, all the way to a defiantly un-naturalshrimp pink.  Flamingo pink.  Cool-Aid pink.  Ru-Paul pink.

 

I'll journal the progress over the next days, not to worry:  More color, larger leaves, still more color, still larger leaves.  Oh my.  But when the leaves are full-on and full-out—at their shrimpest—then tragedy: They lose all nerve and succumb to a boring green adulthood for the rest of the season.  As if the entire foliage canopy took one last toke of wild youth and iconoclastic color—and then scurried off to accounting school.

 

It's not unusual for young leaves to have an experimental phase when it comes to color.  (Didn't we all.)  Becoming flushed with purple, or orange, or red, or yellow, or blue, or white?  These are the normal pleasures of youthful foliage, making Spring a season of color from far more than from the usual flood of flowers.  (As welcome as that can be.)

 

But the pink-flushers, so to speak, are the rarest.  I can think of only four others among all the hardy trees and shrubs, actually:  the Chinese toon tree (not hardy for me, alas), the shrimp-leaved sycamore (plenty hardy, but loath to pink-up pleasingly in an East Coast's heat and humidity), the Japanese maple cultivar 'Butterfly' (which is so delicate that I chose a pair of 'Flamingo' box-elders instead for my Pink Borders).  But none of them pinks with the gleeful slap-in-the-face intensity of this chestnut.  I'm not big on pink—or at least not as big as I am on yellow or burgundy or white—but when I want it, I really want it.  No blush or sideways glance or hint.  Bring it on, baby.

 

Check back, then, day by day for this chestnut's pink progress.  It's a shocker.

 

 

 

Here's how to bring this serious Spring pink to your own garden:

 

Latin Name

Aesculus x neglecta 'Erythroblastos'

Common Name

None that's taken hold.  I vote for Pink-leaved Chestnut. 

What kind of plant is it?

Small deciduous tree.

Hardiness

Zones 4 to 8.

Habit

Upright and sparsely-branching.

Rate of Growth


Slow.  All that pink must be exhausting.

Size in ten years

5 - 8 feet tall, 4 - 5 feet wide.  Probably never taller than twenty feet in your lifetime.

Texture

Open; casts a dappled shade .

Grown for

Unique deep-pink Spring foliage that (alas) fades to green.  Pale yellow flowers are swell but secondary.

Flowering season

Mid-Spring

Culture

Sun and rich moist soil.

How to handle it

A star when the Spring foliage is on display, but then only a backdrop plant for the Summer.  Ideally, plant in front of dark evergreens so the Spring foliage is highlighted.  Consider underplanting with Summer color (hostas?  daylilies?), and/or growing a Summer-blooming rose or clematis through the branches.  In my experience untroubled by pests or diseases.

Downsides

Balancing the temptation to give it a prominent spot for the Spring display, but then keeping that spot interesting enough (via companion plants, as above) to still hold interest in the Summer.

Variants

None that can hold a candle to 'Erythroblastos.'

Availability

Sometimes in the more adventurous local nurseries, also on-line.

Propagation

Grafting

Native habitat

Ohio






 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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