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

Today in the Garden of a Lifetime: 'Survivor' Camellia after Hurricane Sandy



Hurricanes are normal for New England, even if they're not frequent.  Every few years, there's another.  Every decade or two, it's a whopper.  A great garden needs many years to develop and then, ideally, lasts many years thereafter in maturity, acquiring additional plants, gardens, and realizations all the while.  No garden in New England will have the time to mature—and then the decades of maturity during which it celebrates maturity—unless it is strategized from the start to survive hurricane after hurricane, whoppers as well as wimps.


Hurricane Sandy was only middling this far from its central swathe of intensity, New York City to Philadelphia.  But the damage to these gardens was modest as much because, in late October, they are largely invulnerable.  There are few full-sized trees, nearly all the containers are stowed in the greenhouse already, and all the annuals are done for the season anyway.  By landfall, it was only the in-ground portion of the gardens—the plants that are truly rooted in place, and have been so for years—that needed to face the blast.


I already knew that 'Survivor' camellia can handle Winters that are, for a camellia, unusually severe.  I had no idea how well its flowers handle hurricanes.  As long as they were lower down on the bush, which is protected on two sides by old box hedging, flowers that were fully open the day Sandy arrived survived through the night and into the morning, when I took these pictures.


Bees were quick to emerge from shelter the next morning, too, collecting nectar even through a light rain.




The very top of the bush is higher than the hedge, so is completely exposed.  And yet not just the foliage remained, but also the buds. 




Hours of winds to seventy miles an hour may only be modest torment if you're used to hurricanes farther south, with winds of over one hundred.  But still, winds of seventy sting.  And yet there's not a leaf missing, not even a petal out of place on this half-opened bud.


'Survivor', indeed. 


Here's how to grow Camellia x 'Survivor'.


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