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 Curtain of Climbing Asparagus

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The curtain of climbing asparagus is still ornamental even after having shed its leaves in the Fall. The twining stems and their horizontal branches remain woody and strong despite a Winter of heavy snow and wind.

 

Asparagus verticillatus is, nonetheless, an herbaceous vine. These stems are dead, and need to be clipped away to make room for Spring's new crop. Because the asparagus stems twined up actual twine, the job will be quick and easy. In a minute or two, I'll have cut everything away and carried it to the brushpile.

 

I'll save this praying-mantis egg mass. 

 

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In the Fall, female mantises lay eggs that are embedded in a foamy excretion, which quickly hardens into a weather-proof structure that keeps the eggs intact through the Winter.

 

As the weather warms, the eggs hatch into young mantises. Mantis religiosa is an omnivorous carnivore, eating any creature it can catch—including fellow hatchlings if there aren't many other bugs nearby.

 

mantis-religiosa-asparagus-verticillatus-031113-cropped-640

 

There's not likely to be any lack of prey in my gardens. I don't use pesticides or synthetic fertilizers. That, combined with the profusion and diversity of plants in the large beds, ensures plenty of food and habitat for all.

 

Indeed, the reason the egg mass is in the garden in the first place is that that female found enough to eat last season. A mantis egg mass, then, is like a seal of approval, saying "Plenty of Nature Here: Yum!" 

 

Here's how the curtain of climbing asparagus look at the height of its Fall foliage.

 

Here's how the curtain of climbing asparagus looked in the Summer.

 

Here's how to grow climbing asparagus.

 
 
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