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

The Best Season Ever: 'Evil Ways' Buddleja

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Butterfly bushes flower colorfully and for an unusually long season: My Buddeja davidii 'Evil Ways' began flowering in June and, as in this picture, was still going strong in October.  I keep a potted Abyssinian banana nearby, and by late Summer, both the banana and the Buddleja are, literally, at their yearly peak.

 

The contrast between the solid yellow leaves and the innumerable but tiny hot-purple trumpets of the flowers, each with a tiny orange throat, could scarcely be more blunt.  No problem by me: There's a place for telling it like it is, and 'Evil Ways' is a shrub that doesn't, so to speak, beat around the bush.

 

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The intimate detailing of the Buddleja flowers is especially engaging in contrast to the gigantic sweep of the banana foliage, even as the banana leaves' unusual burgundy-and-green striation is a welcome complexity near the solid chartreuse of the much smaller Buddleja foliage.  And now that you're looking more closely at everything, notice that the green of the banana leaves is actually just mid-green, but because it's in such a fine-grained juxtaposition with burgundy, it seems nearly as bright as the near-yellow of the Buddleja leaves.  Overall, there's a real discussion going on, of the differing merits of overall size, size of detail, and amount of detail, and how they might all assist each other in sustaining the party right through until hard frost.

 

 

 

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Not to seem ungrateful in the face of such talented, unstinting, and durable enthusiasm, but wouldn't this partnership be even better if the Buddleja flowers were darker, more towards the maroon of the banana's leaf veins?  The interactions of the banana and Buddleja foliage alone—heck, the interaction of the banana foliage just within each leaf blade, let alone between the blade and the vein, let alone leaf-to-leaf-to-leaf—are already so successful.  And that interaction is about extremes of scale within a very narrow range of color.  The leaf of a banana has hundreds of times the area of that of a leaf of the Buddleja, and yet the detailing of the banana leaf is almost cell by cell, millimeter by millimeter, against which the coloristic uniformity of the comparatively smaller Buddleja leaves is all the more striking. 

 

There is no need for additional color at this gathering.  There isn't a need for flowers per se, either, although if their density of detail were similar to that of the banana's foliage, that would be a nice turn-of-the-table. 

 

This really is the spot for the potted banana.  Is there a Buddleja with light foliage whose flowers remain within the burgundy-to-acid-green palette?  I could grow 'Evil Ways' elsewhere.  Stay tuned.

 

Here's how to grow 'Evil Ways' buddleja.  

 

 
 
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