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

 
 

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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

Tellmann's Honeysuckle

lonicera-tellmanniana-640

 

June is honeysuckle heaven.  For creamy orange flowers instead of the usual red-yellow ones, grow this one.  Tellmann's Honeysuckle is a very well-behaved and—clearly—showy vine.  The light orange trumpets are almost orange-sherbert on the outside, colorful and cooling at the same time.

 

Mine is growing up the South pergola in my Red Garden, where orange is an honorary member, for some flowerpower after the mid-Spring wisteria is done.  The wisteria is at one corner, the honeysuckle at the next, at least so far.  When they're both older and bigger, maybe I'll let them play together.   

 

 

 

Here's how to grow this delicious honeysuckle:

 

Latin Name

Lonicera x tellmanniana

Common Name

Tellmann's Honeysuckle

Family

Caprifoliaceae, the Honeysuckle family.

What kind of plant is it?

Twining, flowering vine.

Hardiness

Zones 5 - 10, maybe even down to 4.

Habit

Strongly-twining stems create a broad and dense bushy mass unless pruned to be narrower.

Rate of Growth

Fast after it's established.

Size in ten years

Twelve to twenty feet tall; the width as well as height are dependent on the training.

Texture

Dense and solid; the large flat sprays of narrow trumpet-shaped flowers are an attractive contrast.

Grown for

the flowers.  Narrow long trumpets in flat wheels of a dozen and more, with a bright light-orange interior and a paler exterior that's sometimes blushed faintly with pink.  Overall, the color is a vivid solid orange, one of the most showy displays of any hardy honeysuckle.  The fragrance is faint at best.

 

its comparative rarity in gardens—at least in America—giving it a welcome distinction from ever-popular honeysuckles like Gold Flame, which have darker exteriors to their trumpets, in bi-color combinations of red and yellow, instead of orange.

Flowering season

Late Spring in Rhode Island:  Mid-June.

Culture

Easy!  Full sun and any decent soil.

How to handle it

Tellmann's honeysuckle is vigorous when established, but, in my experience, a bit slow to get going.  Help your youngster along by making sure it isn't drought-stressed its first year in the ground.  Water deeply twice a month, or even weekly, that first Summer.

 

Honeysuckles are twiners, so plan from the start what yours will climb up.  Stems get woody with age, so galvanized wires or braided "cables" are the better choice than mesh, wood, or ungalvanized metal.  Honeysuckles won't twine around thick supports either, although you could weave stems through lattice if you wanted: unlike Asian wisterias, whose stems can get thigh-thick, honeysuckle stems are unlikely ever to get so massive that they'd dismantle any woodwork.

 

Nearly all honeysuckles bloom best in full sun, and 'Tellmann's' is no different.  The tops of pergolas, almost by definition, get plenty of sun, so Tellmann's is a candidate to grow on a large structure to provide shade. 

 

Honeysuckles bloom at the tips of new growth in the current season.  After the vine has grown on its own for a couple of years, don't hesitate to prune it, lightly or heavily, in Fall, Winter, or early Spring, so that it's motivated to branch out even further.  More young stems means more flower clusters.  This pruning is also how you can narrow your bush, in case you're training it up wires to the canopy of a pergola. 

 

On the other hand, if you want to have your honeysuckle cover a wall, start right from the beginning to help your vine grow widely from the ground-up: Instead of letting the vine twine up vertically that first year or two, train stems out along the soil each time they've put on another foot or two of vertical growth, holding them down by mounding some soil over them every foot or so.  The stems will root all along their length, and then send even more vigorous vertical stems up the wires.

 

The Fall-to-Spring pruning is also your chance to keep your honeysuckle from bulging out into the adjacent pathway or plantings.  Established honeysuckles are very relaxed about being pruned, so don't hesitate. 

Downsides

None, far as I can tell.  Tellmann's Honeysuckle seems to have inherited the best traits of each of its parents, L. sempervirens and L. tragophylla

Variants

L. tragophylla is worth growing in its own right, because it's unusually shade-tolerant.  There are many cultivars of L. sempervirens, and other honeysuckle species and cultivars to try.  The few weedy members of this large family—chiefly Japanese honeysuckle, L. japonica, and the shrubby "twinberry," L. maackii—are no reason to eschew all the other exciting and well-behaved members.  Some varieties have very fragrant flowers in Winter, others have showy foliage.  No garden should be without two or three honeysuckles, and five or six isn't too many. 

Availability

On-line.

Propagation

Cuttings.

Native habitat

Tellmann's Honeysuckle was bred in Budapest, Hungary, around 1920.

 
 
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