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 Angel shrub mint

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Foliage so gold, so shade-tolerant, that you can't believe it's not a coleus.  And that it's hardy to Maine!  This is 'Golden Angel', the shrub-mint with the pure-gold foliage.  (I couldn't resist bringing its wildly-variegated cousin, 'Mountain Madness', to "Geek" only days ago.)

 

On June 29, I'm so pleased to be attending one of my gardens that's on a garden tour in Osterville, MA, for which I'll just have planted 'Gold Angel'—minutes before the tour opens—to substitute for (of all things) some plants of Hydrangea arborescens that didn't, apparently, like the Cape as much as I thought they would.  I wanted to have pictures of the plant in its voluptuous maturity for garden-tour attendees to savor.

 

Voila: My own blissful colony of 'Gold Angel', four years after planting one tiny division.  A much-senior colony of Kirengeshoma palmata in the background—no slouch when it comes to vigor and endurance—is now looking a bit tepid by comparison. 

 

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And at the front-right, a clump of the excitingly-variegated Heliopsis 'Lorraine Sunshine' is almost getting mugged.

 

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'Golden Angel' is far too demure a name for this pushy blond.  And don't get me wrong:  I'm all for pushy blonds.  But truth in advertising would be a help here.  Why not rename 'Golden Angel' as, say, 'Golden Lady Gaga'?

 

 

 

Here's how to grow this luminous, shade-loving, hog-the-spotlight perennial:

 

Latin Name

Leucosceptrum japonicum 'Gold Angel'

Common Name

'Gold Angel' Japanese shrub-mint

Family

Lamiaceae, the Mint family.

What kind of plant is it?

Herbaceous perennial.

Hardiness

Zones 4 - 8.

Habit

Upright, full-to-the-ground, and steadily-spreading.

Rate of Growth

Medium.

Size in ten years

A colony three feet tall and four or five feet wide.

Texture

Dense and substantial, with similar large-leaved bulk to a rhododendron, albeit with vastly more colorful foliage.

Grown for

the solid-yellow leaves, which are so bright even in the afternoon shade that this cultivar requires that they could be lighted from within.

 

the late-season bottlebrush flowers, more of a welcome surprise than a showy display in themselves.

 

the sheer oddity and surprise of the plant.

Flowering season

Late: The end of September into October here in Rhode Island.

Culture

Easy!  Almost any reasonable soil and drainage, with some shade in the afternoon.

How to handle it

Shrub-mints are tough, dependable, and exciting components of morning-sun gardens.  In milder climates stems can remain viable through the Winter, but even so, these are probably best grown like a true perennial, with all the stems cut to the ground in early Spring. 

 

Despite the "mint" name, there is no rampant colonizing, although the colony's outward march is still steady.  Best, then, as the small guy in a primarily woody neighborhood, so it can explore as a groundcover into the shady reaches of adjacent taller shrubs and ornamental trees.

 

The foliage can scorch with too much sun, another reason that these are such natural partners to taller (and therefore shade-providing) shrubs and trees, especially when growing to the East of them. 

 

If the foliage does get damaged, just cut stems back to the ground for a fresh crop.

Downsides

None.

Variants

So far, I've never met a shrub-mint I didn't want to grow.  'Mountain Madness' has recklessly yellow-splotched foliage.  'Silver Angel' has narrower foliage that is silver, indeed.  L. stellipilum has the largest foliage of all, but it's just green, true.  L. stellipilum 'October Moon' has the same fat leaves, but edged in chartreuse.  The plant looks very much like a plectranthus that has—who knew?—suddenly become a hardy perennial. 

Availability

On-line and sometimes at "destination" retailers.

Propagation

Division, as well as cuttings.

Native habitat

Japan.

 
 
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