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

Nally's Lime Dots

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Blue-green leaves and stems on a bushy plant that looks like feathery coral.  And now it's starting to bloom, too.

 

Here's one of the first: tiny flowers like the center of daisies. 

 

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And yes, these are daisy flowers—just ones that don't have a single petal.  I grow 'Nally's Lime Dots' as billowing filler in the garden, and in the vase.  But I also grow it because gardens are more interesting when they welcome surprise.  A daisy without petals?  How could I not give this plant a try.

 

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Here's how to grow this high-energy ornamental grass:

 

Latin Name

Boltonia asteroides 'Nally's Lime Dots'

Common Name

Nally's Lime Dots

Family

Asteraceae, the Aster family.

What kind of plant is it?

Flowering perennial.

Hardiness

Zones 4 - 9.

Habit

Multi-stemmed, strongly upright but much-branched, in colonies that increase with vigor but are not rampant.

Rate of Growth

Fast.

Size in ten years

If growing free-range, a strappling colony six feet tall and as wide.  Shorter when pinched, and narrower when edged or divided.

Texture

Feathery and vertical, this is a perennial that brings a sense of graceful upward motion.

Grown for

its vigor: Boltonia are energetic and amenable, growing tall—a bit too tall, truth to tell—and thriving even in heavy wet-in-the-Winter soil that can discourage many other plants.

 

its texture: smooth and narrow, the blue-green leaves don't look anything like "typical" daisies, and will remind you more of baby's breath or, if you're gardening in mild maritime climates like the Pacific Northwest or England, Bupleurum fruticosum

 

its height: six feet, truly and without exaggeration.

 

its surprising flowers: They start out as typical daisies, with the tight disk of minute flowers, chartreuse in this case—but not a single petal ever develops to surround it.  The flowers, then, look like small buttons—lime dots, indeed.  They're a lovely contrast with the blue foliage.

Flowering season

Late August into September.

Culture

Full sun, almost any soil that doesn't get too dry; for once, good drainage in the Winter isn't critical.

How to handle it

Modest basal rosettes of foliage suddenly appear atop cold wet soil in Spring, and it takes imagination to realize that by August these will have  elongated into willowy much-branched stems six feet tall.  Don't let them: cut them back by half by late May or early June.  Yes, the colony will look awful, but only for a bit: Side branches will hide your brutality, and the plants won't even grow high enough to get up to assure dramatic floppiness.  One of these years I'll practice what I preach.

 

Unless your soil is really dry, you'll soon have all the Dots you need.  Like all asters, colonies are very blasé about being edged or even dug-up, divided, and replanted—and all just in time for you to pot up the extras for plant sales.  

 

In my experience, the plants are trouble-free in terms of pests or diseases.  And the chartreuse and blue coloring is at home with pink and yellow partners, even red and orange ones. 

Downsides

'Lime Dots' does such a winning imitation of a completely self-supporting plant, like its comparatively shorter 'Snowbank' cousin, that I never remember to give it some preventive staking.  And then, just as the flowers themselves start to show by mid-August, the towering stems lean over almost to horizontal in a gully-washer.  While the wiry stems are easy to right again, they and their thin leaves only call attention to twine or stakes.  Next season I will remember to cut the plant back by half before Memorial Day.

Variants

'Snowbank' is "only" four feet tall, with a blizzard of small flowers with, duh, pure white petals.  Four feet seems to be the upper limit of self-supportability:  'Pink Beauty' grows to five feet and, yup, needs some staking.  No wonder 'Nally's Lime Dots' needs some frank support:  It gets six feet tall.  I'm going to try next Boltonia decurrans, taller still, which prefers to grow in bottomlands that periodically flood. 

Availability

On-line.

Propagation

By division in Spring.

Native habitat

Boltonia is native to North America.

 
 
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