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: The Hardy Orange Stares Down Blizzard Nemo



8 AM. Blizzard Nemo is just starting to announce itself. The topiary of hardy orange will come to wear a heavy mantle of snow as this epic storm progresses. As always, the tree will highlight the coming drama without becoming a victim to it.


10 AM. Snow has intensified, and the countless thorns of the Poncirus trifoliata are now nicely "iced" with it, at least in the sense of pastry decoration. In happy coincidence, the other culinary word, "frosted," is as appropriate—although neither one is truly ideal. Nemo's precipitation is small flakes of snow, not ice. And the "hardy" orange is, at least in this climate, fully so: Not so much as a tip gets "frosted" in the horticultural sense of damage from cold. Too bad one doesn't "snow" pastry.




This topiary has another connection to culinary terminology. Any topiary that has one circular layer atop another (whether or not, as here, the layers are spherical or flat) is called a "cakestand." I'm going to form one of the tall central twigs that formed this past season into a third sphere, even smaller than the other two. In a year, my topiary of hardy orange will be a three-tier cakestand. Delicious!


5 PM. The snow has only begun to accumulate. The forecast is for a depth that is historic. All night long, the layer will deepen. By tomorrow morning, we'll see just how epic this storm has been.




8 AM. The hardy orange is supporting its maximum of Nemo's snow, which formed in such cold weather that it's small and granular, not huge, heavy, and sticky. If the temperatures had remained in the low thirties instead of the low teens, enormous flakes would have formed, instead. The layers on the topiary might have been twice as thick, and many times as heavy.




Topiary such as this one, with a comparatively small canopy of rigid branches that have knit together all around and atop a thick trunk, are impervious to anything short of a direct hit by a tornado or hurricane. Mere "historic" blizzards aren't important enough to bother this horticultural flourish.


Here's how to grow hardy orange. The pruning strategies I recommend in the link maximize the amount of time in each year that the shrub has a tidy shape—but also mean that the best show of flowers and fruit will be every other year.  


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