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: 'Amethyst Falls' Wisteria in Bud

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What's this? Small purple cones? Nope: Buds of an American wisteria. Nothing beats an Asian wisteria when it's in flower, but its buds—which lengthen from finger-long fuzzies that seem like catkins to the long streamers that bear the flowers—are just the means to that end. Buds of American wisteria are a show in themselves. They are a worthy curtain-raiser to the floral performance to come.

 

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We have the comparative shortness of the flower chains of this species, Wisteria frutescens, to thank for the superior interest of its flower buds. With Asian wisterias, such as Wisteria sinensis and Wisteria floribunda, a fully-extended flower chain can be a yard long and more. Fabulous! But with the imperative to unfurl with all possible haste, darn it, the tightly-plated array of scales of the young bud are disrupted almost immediately.

 

The flower chains of Wisteria frutescens are dense and compact. Instead of pendulous streamers of bloom, they have the gestalt as well as size of a modest bunch of grapes. The flowers of this cultivar, 'Amethyst Falls', are lavender, which, no doubt, contributes to the grape-purple hue of the bud scales.

 

 

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With its buds channeling pine cones—purple ones, no less—and its flower clusters recalling clusters of grapes, the Spring display of Wisteria frutescens 'Amethyst Falls' strikes a range of notes that's wider than that of the Asian wisterias. Their dedication to the size and intensity of their floral display verges on the monomaniacal. In Spring, they are Johnny One-Notes. It's an incredible note—singular, so to speak—but it's not sustained.

 

By contrast, American wisteria displays buds for a couple of weeks, and then it flowers: The performance of the buds is almost the equal of the flowers that follow. The whole performance is more than a melody, then. It's a medley.

 

 

Here's how to grow 'Amethyst Falls' wisteria.

 
 
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