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

Gold-leaved European Raspberry



One of Spring's biggest shows?  Gold leaves against burgundy.  The European raspberry, Rubus ideaus, is usually known for tasty berries and nasty thorns.  This variety doesn't bother with either.  For Rubus idaeus 'Aureus', gold foliage is its talent, and spreading far and wide its only pleasure.


No berries (nor even flowers that you'd ever notice), nothing anyone could dignify by called it a thorn, and not much in the way of height either.  A foot or two, tops.


Only the gold foliage on quickly-spreading thin stems.  I'm fine with that—no, I'm great with that.  What garden doesn't need more gold spangles?  Around the ankles of tall shrubs.  As a frothy surf waist-high to huge hostas or ferns?  Or here, mixing it up with the mahagony lily-pad leaves of a purple ligularia?  (More on that astounding plant later.)





Here's how to get your garden spangled and shimmering with this gold-leaf raspberry.


Latin Name

Rubus idaeus 'Aureus'

Common Name

Gold-leaved European Raspberry


Rosaceae, the rose family.

What kind of plant is it?

Comparatively short for a raspberry, this is otherwise the familiar deciduous suckering "caney" shrub.


Zones 5 - 9


Quickly-spreading colony-forming shortish shrub. 

Rate of Growth


Size in ten years

Depending on how it's handled and controlled, a colony one to three feet tall and from two to twenty feet wide.


Energetic and of a "ventilated" density.  In my experience, not sufficiently homogeneous in growth to look like a groundcover.  More like an enthusiastic "top note" above and in between the actual groundcover.

Grown for

the unusually-vivid "hot chrome" foliage, which in bright enough sun can aquire yellowish-white top notes, and even in part shade is vividly colorful. 


Flowering season

Mid-Spring, but the small white flowers aren't showy. This is strictly a foliage plant.



Any decent soil with good drainage year-round. 

How to handle it

It's a real help to finding the right combination of sun and shade, moisture and good drainage.  If too sunny and too dry, the foliage scorches and browns; if too shady, both growth and foliage color is weak and the colony fails.  If drainage isn't good in either sun or shade, the plant is likely to rot. 


Despite these caveats, the real concern is planting where this eagerly outward-bound plant can spread at will without swamping smaller or less vigorous neighbors.  Almost every garden has one or several promising situations: As a "romper" through groups of taller and somewhat open shrubs.  As a groundcover under a mounding purple-leaf Japanese maple, where occasional stems can be allowed to poke up through the lacy canopy of the maple.


As a lower companion to vigorous and strongly-upright perennials or grasses that have no trouble growing taller than the rubus, like upright ferns (cinnamon, royal, or ostrich, say).  Or with large-leaved solidly-vigorous clumpers of a contrasting colorful, like giant blue hostas (Big Daddy, e.g.) or, as in the picture, the deep-purple Ligularia 'Brit Marie Crawford'.  Or as a bouncy and noisy lapdog yapping around dignified and dense small-leaved evergreen shrubs like box, yew, Japanese holly, and Meserve hollies.


This is a non-fruiting cultivar, and makes the tightest growth if the entire colony is cut or string-trimmed to the ground in early Spring.


Basically thorn-free, especially compared to the ferocious prickers of fruiting raspberries.  You can work on this plant entirely bare-armed and without gloves.


The underground runners are numerous and very thin, and would be very difficult to keep under strict control.  Not a plant for tight quarters, or for anywhere near shorter plants that aren't really shade-tolerant.  Raspberries can be susceptible to any number of pests, but in my experience this isn't one of the vulnerable ones. 


The green-leaved species has many cultivars that bear edible fruit, but isn't attractive enough for use in ornamental settings. 


On-line and, very rarely, at destination retailers.  Despite the incredible ease of propogation—I was given the starts for my colonies in August, when a gardener ripped up some hunks of it bare-handed, and bare-rooted, and just gave them to me—the plant is amazingly scarce in commerce.


Division at any season—or just, as above, removal by any means at hand of just about any bare-root portion that can be extracted out of the colony, no matter how meager.  The roots never get good at grasping the soil, so even careful divisions usually bare-root themselves.  No matter:  Just plant whatever you have and water in well, and it will almost certainly establish.

Native habitat










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