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: Gold-needled Himalayan cedar, happier than ever



A year ago, I was finally able to espalier the gold-needled Himalayan cedar that had been growing free-range near the South facade. Cedars are easy to train, and respond readily to the attention.  As I discovered with my southern magnolias, the increasing size of plants espaliered against a building is especially obvious:  The plant gets larger but the building doesn't.


A year later, the cedar is thriving.  It's clearly bigger—but how much?  Here's the cedar, seen head-on.  Its tip is now just up to the top framing board of the wall—and within two feet of the top of the galvanized-pipe espalier frame.




Last Summer, that tip was well over a foot shorter:  There were four and a half clapboards above it, plus that top framing board.  The top pipe of the espalier frame would have seemed years away, but if the past year's growth is a guide, the cedar will reach it by 2014 at the latest.




The cedar's horizontal arms eagerly develop graceful pendulous secondary branches, whose increasing cascade will create an undulating waterfall of foliage over time.




As the cascade from each arm fills in and lengthens, this Cedrus deodara 'Aurea' will be a strong contrast to the weeping witch hazel in front.  This Hamamelis vernalis 'Lombart's Weeping' is adolescent, and will mature to quite a haystack of growth.  Its Fall foliage is an exciting butter yellow, but it's steadfast about not shedding those leaves when they turn brown.  In early January they get cilpped off, one by one, so the fragrant Winter flowers can be given their best showing.


Yes, that's a young palm to the left of the witch hazel, planted directly in the garden.  Sabal minor 'Birmingham' is one of the hardiest cultivars of one of the hardiest palm species.  With some protection, this Zone 7 palm should survive its first Winter in a chilly Zone 7 garden in New England, to become hardier and hardier year by year.  I'll profile it shortly. 


The arms of the cedar cross directly in front of a door that has been sealed shut for decades.  From the interior, the view through the arms out to the garden is a thrilling surprise.




In this coming year, the west-most tips of the cedar's arms will begin to close in on the south-most tips of the espaliered southern magnolias around the corner.  When they are all mature, will the arms of the cedar meet the wall of magnolia foliage in a single vertical line?  My sense is not.  Plants that are espaliered typically grow much larger than those that must support themselves, so I'll encourage the magnolia to grow still farther, at least at the top.  I'll lead upper limbs around from the house's west face to this, its south, to give the wall of espaliered cedar a lavish corner of glossy foliage. 


The cedar needle's yellow coloring is strongest in new growth, turning the tree a warm gold in Spring and Summer. What a high-energy pairing this conifer will make with the deep green magnolia.


Here's how to grow gold-needled Himalayan cedar, as well as more views of it just before and after espaliering.  Here's a look at its first-ever flowering.

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