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

Woolly Cinquefoil

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Some flowers you just have to grab by the cheek, especially as a break in an afternoon of down-and-dirty gardening. 

 

This is my first cinquefoil—the perennial wing of the gigantic potentilla tribe of shrubs, herbs, annuals, and perennials.  And to start off on a happy and secure footing, I chose woolly cinquefoil.  The foliage is the wooly part, strokable and sturdy, so go right ahead and nuzzle it.  The "cinquefoil" is French and then some, and refers to the flower's quintet of petals. 

 

The plant has been extraordinarily self-reliant and bountiful, and right from the get-go, too.  Full sun, great drainage, and decent soil seem to have provided just the home life it craves. 

 

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Unlike some of the pink varieties, wooly cinquefoil doesn't fade or falter.  The flowers start out powerful yellow, and they stick to their guns.  And after the flowering is through, the plant keeps your interest from the foliage alone.  That's a yellow creeping Teucrium at the bottom, just getting going in early May.  I'll return to it later in the season, when it's fat and full, and ready for its close-up.

 

 

Here's how to grow this energetic and cuddly perennial:

 

Latin Name

Potentilla megalantha

Common Name

Woolly cinquefoil

Family

Rosaceae, the rose family.

What kind of plant is it?

Herbaceous perennial.

Hardiness

Zones 5 - 8

Habit

Low and dense strawberry-like growth.

Rate of Growth

Fast when happy.

Size in ten years

Six inches tall and a yard wide: It spreads by stolons as well as by gentle self-seeding.

Texture

Plush velvety leaves mound irregularly.

Grown for

the velvety scalloped light-green foliage, similar to Lady's Mantle in overall look but composed of separate veiny leaflets instead.  Also tighter and lower.

 

the surprisingly large (to about an inch, which is surprisingly large when you're a potentilla) bright yellow single flowers, which almost vibrate in contrast to the silvery green foliage beneath them. 

Flowering season

Mid Spring. 

 

Culture

Full sun, decent soil, good drainage.  I'm growing mine in a large hypertufa trough, where it's very vigorous.

How to handle it

Plant and stand back.  Mine bloomed right away after planting last season, the colony increased in size all Summer, and there was even a bit (but not too much) of self-seeding.  This season I have a few young plants to pass along to friends.  On a rock-garden scale, this as potential as a groundcover. 

Downsides

It's so vigorous that it would need control if growing near more diminutive dainties.  Instead, plant it only near larger plants, and just let it chew on their ankles.

Variants

 The potentillas are an enormous group of perennials, herbs, annuals, and shrubs.  Just in the perennial wing of the family alone there are dozens of species, with flowers from terra-cotta to rose to pink to yellow to white.  It's a whole world. 

Availability

On-line and at rock-garden specialists.

Propagation

Division as well as seeds.

Native habitat

East Asia.


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
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