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: Rough-leaved Hydrangea

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Spring isn't just about new leaves and colorful flowers, swell as they are. It can be even more exciting to figure out that one of your more unusual plants has merely survived Winter. Compared to that pleasant shock, flowers and foliage are a bit obvious.

 

Case in point, rough-leaved hydrangea, which had been thought not hardy colder than Zone 7. With large fuzzy leaves, plus heads of pink Yup-it-IS-a-hydrangea flowers, Hydrangea aspera 'Rocklon' is a worthwhile experiment.

 

As is usual for hydrangeas, the leafless stems can look dead even when they're completely alive. To be sure, I've gently scraped away a small patch of the outer layer. If the stem is alive, the inner layer will be green.

 

And, indeed, it is.

 

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Because many hydrangeas form flower buds only on stems that have survived from the previous season, it will be nice to know whether the thinner, younger twigs at the top of the shrub are alive, too. If they aren't, the shrub would still produce plenty of its distinctive "rough" leaves, but no flowers.

 

Happily, even this tiny twig is green.

 

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While a shrub that greets Spring with foliage and flowers is always welcome, by Summer, many of those same plants have become a bit quiet—or even tired. Shrubs whose Spring headline is "Wow: I'm alive!" are often the same ones that will be at their best in Summer, when all garden interest is at a premium.

 

'Rocklon' hydrangea is just such a plant. It provides two distinct peaks each year: In Spring, the show for cognoscenti: the green-on-the-inside confirmation that, indeed, the shrub is back for another season. In Summer, the show for everyone: colorful flowers and unique foliage.

 

Here's how to grow rough-leaved hydrangea.

 
 
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