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: Giant Scouring Rush, Aglow



Advice from the Geek: In the evening, arrange to sit to the east-ish of your colony of giant scouring rush. The hollow stems are translucent as well as refractory: They capture the low sun, but instead of just allowing it to pass straight on through, they send it back out into the world evenly in all directions. Nature's own glow sticks!


The refraction is vertical within the hollow core of the stems, not just radially outward. In the picture below, see how the bottom segment of the stem is dark? It's not being hit by direct sun. The segment above, however, is uniformly aglow: Even if its lower portion were in the shade, refracted light from the upper portion would still illuminate the segment top to bottom.




If you're looking from the west, the direct sun is still so much stronger than the refracted sun that the stem's internal glow is hidden. The stems do appear bright in the setting sun—but the brightness is just reflected from the surface of the stems, not refracted back out from their interior.




With the colony of rushes to my southeast, the western sun streams straight by me at my left. The stems whose refracted light reaches my eyes instead of their reflected light are the ones that are aglow.




In the cocktail hour, the stems of Equisetum hyemale—and also its giant version here, E. hyemale var. robustum—bring light to the party.


Here's how grow scouring rush.

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