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

The Best Season Ever: Mature Standards of Bald Cypress

Hardy, durable, stylish standards are always welcome, especially where typical mild-climate standards of bay and myrtle aren't hardy. 

Taxodium distichum Codys Feathers west to east 080118 320

About eight years ago, I commissioned a pair of large-scale standards formed by grafting a dwarf cultivar of bald cypress atop four-foot trunks of the straight speces. Now, here they are, each a triumph eight feet high.

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Two-lobed False Hydrangea

These translucent flowers are ravishing in their own right, but the one of the left should merit a double-take: It's a sterile flower—no pistils or stamens at all—and looks like it belongs on a hydrangea. But hydrangeas are shrubs or vines, and this one is borne by a perennial.

Deinanthe bifida flowers 070614 320 

Welcome to this hydrangea cousin, an Asian perennial with a greek genus name of Deinanthe: deinos meaning wondrous, and anthe in reference to the flowers. Wondrous, indeed.

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The Best Season Ever: The Mature 'Vermont Gold' Norway Spruce

Fifteen years ago, this dwarf spruce was the size of a mango—and its needles weren't very golden. Seven years ago, it was the size of a baby watermelon—and its needles still weren't very bright. Welcoming it to the garden was an act of faith. True, planting any plant is an act of faith. 

Picea abies Vermont Gold 070318 320 

Seeing it now, why did I ever worry?

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The Best Season Ever: Fastigiate Gold Yews

In a month when flowers are effortless and, even, omnipresent, I'm ducking floral OD by celebrating another June marvel: young foliage of fastigiate gold yews. Paradoxically, the year-round gold of popular bright cultivars of other conifers—arborvitae, cedars, junipers, spruces, and especially Hinoki cypresses—is so easy that it only dulls their appeal. Worse, the norm is for conifers in general to be constant in their presence: green—or whatever—24/7, 365 a year.

Taxus baccata David overall 062318 320

Conifers with ephemeral shows are the exceptions and, so, are all the more interesting. Eyecatching cones from fall into winter? Foliage that turns color when its cold—or, even, is shed entirely? Hooray for such colorful eccentrics. June is the month for conifers with flashy new growth. Today, columnar gold yews. 

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Pollarding the Golden Scots Elm

As usual, the foliar display of the golden Scots elm is so vigorous, so bright, that to call it exuberant or, even, eyepopping seems like understatement. This tree provides the most reliable season-long display of colorful foliage of any woody plant hardy colder than Zone 7.  

Ulmus glabra Aurea narrow 061818 320.jpg

But even after several years of growth since the last pollarding, the branches were still not mature enough to flower well. If I were to wait yet another year before pollarding again, the branches might be almost twenty feet long—and would then be dangerously uncontrollable as they fell to the ground during the pollarding. But without pollarding, this still-compact tree would transform into a free-range monster that would completely overwhelm its compact garden. Flowering or not, pollarding can't wait another season.  

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'Tokyo Tower' Fringetree

I had delayed welcoming fringetree to my garden because the straight species is often a wide ornamental tree, not a shrub. But this Tokyo Tower cultivar is a godsend for any garden already dense with beauties: It’s a slender column in adolescence, and may never grow wider than four to six feet.  


Chionanthus retusus Tokyo Tower fingers close up 052718. 2 320


Even I have room for a pair, flanking one of the garden’s crosswalks. Without concern over too-big maturity, I can concentrate on the tree's pristine, profuse spring flowers and, in time, striking upright habit. 


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