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: Japanese Yew Barked by Deer

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A very old Japanese yew is located outside the current reach of my deer fencing. Unless there are moose or elk or lions now roaming the wild lands of Rhode Island, this particular one of the yew's trunks has become a favorite rubbing post for deer.

 

Yew bark is naturally flaky, and a trunk could be polished to expose new bark that is smooth and strikingly red. These deer are certainly overdoing it: The trunk seems to have been abraded right down to heartwood. 

 

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This old Taxus cuspidata branches right from the ground, so has developed many trunks. This one is the only one with such serious abrasion, most likely because it's the most exposed. It would be difficult and even dangerous for deer to rub against or between any of the more interior trunks, which could trap their antlers.  

 

Is the damage to this trunk as damaging as it looks? This is also the trunk—and the very same portion of that trunk—that usually appears the most polished and smoothly red. Does light rubbing just remove the outer flakes of bark to expose smooth new bark beneath? Would this more serious abrasion just encourage growth of bark that will be more showy than ever? Is this "damage," then, just unstintingly thorough (although entirely inadvertent) polishing? Could this abrasion actually be the norm, and I've only noticed how this tree looks later in the season, after any damage has faded and all possible new bark has formed? Or is this year's abrasion so much deeper and more extensive that it will lead to scarring instead of new bark?

 

The back side of this trunk is protected from rubbing because other trunks are nearby, so this trunk will live to provide the answer.

 

Here's how to grow Japanese yew.

 

 
 
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