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: Bat-Wing Passion Vine

Passion vines are rightly renowned for their flowers, which are typically as large & colorful as they are complex and numerous. It's a sophisticated thrill in reverse, then, to grow bat-wing passion vine, because its little green flowers can be difficult to locate even when full-on. But, oh, the foliage!

Passiflora coriacea leaf fingers 082917 320

A bat-wing leaf reminds me of a boomerang Odd Job would have thrown if he'd had a change of heart an become a green assassin. Up to a foot wide but only inches long, each seems too willfully strange to function merely as a photosynthesizer. Surely depraved cognoscenti know a dangerous and possibly erotic use for them. I plan to grow the vine annually. Here's this season's report. 

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The Best Season Ever: White Paintbrush in Bloom

Alright, it's true: I neglect my pot of white paintbrush for months at a time. Does it ever receive water while overwintering in the greenhouse? That's six months of maybe / maybe-not. Even when outside in a shady spot from May through October, rainfall might be it.  

Haemanthus albiflos overall 102017 320

Nonetheless, my baby clump of three years ago has thrived: now there are six stalks of bloom; back then, just one. Could it be that what I guiltily think of as neglect is, from this plant's viewpoint, skillfully laissez-faire?   

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Good Together: Caribbean Copper Bush & Naranjilla

Weeks into fall, and still no frost! As warm weather last and lasts, summer-peaking displays of tropicals and annuals grow long in the tooth. This month, before everything is put away for the winter, is the time to ponder what worked and what didn't. Which plants and combinations will be reprised whole-hog next season, and which will either be reimagined or abandoned.

Euphorbia cotinifolia Solanum quitoense 101917 overall east toward the house 320

Take this quintet of huge summer containers: four bell-pots of Caribbean copper bush and naranjilla quadranting a four-foot stock tank of striped giant reed and purple-leaved aquatic cannas. From June on, this was just the mega-thing for the large lawn due west of the giant jammed-with-plants beds that crowd the first 150 feet out from the house. From a distance, the quintet was a killer. What about in detail and up close?  

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The Best Season Ever: Seven-Son Tree in "Afterbloom"

The countless white flowers of seven-son tree are showy in themselves, and are even more welcome because they lead to countless deep pink doodads that last into October. Truth to tell, these are even showier than the flowers—and a heckuva lot more obscure.

Heptacodium miconioides mature calyces 092317 320 

After all, blooms are about petals, pistils, and pollen. We all know more or less what they are. The pink doodads? Much quirkier.

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Cypress Vine's September Seedlings

Cypress vine germinates readily, grows quickly, begins flowering when still a toddler, and doesn't stop until cut down by frost. Over the growing season, then, many hundreds of its flowers come and go. And because they are popular with hummingbirds as well as butterflies, it's no surprise that at least some of those flowers might mature to seeds. And that some of those seeds might fall to the ground & germinate.

Ipomoea quamoclit fingers 093017 320

Cypress vine plants aren't hardy even in subtopical Miami, but its seeds are reportedly hardy into climates as severe as those of coastal Maine. How rampant must this vine be where both plants and seeds are fully hardy!

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Waking Up the Frangipani

Frangipani in bloom is one of the iconic thrills of the tropics. In almost every color but blue, flowers emerge in large clusters month after month after month. No wonder the temptation is strong to grow frangipani in a container, enjoying it anywhere it can receive sufficient warmth and sun.

Plumeria cuttings making progress in rooting 091017 320

But first it must come into leaf. And to come into leaf, the tree must be rooted-in and thriving. Frangipani are typically propagated from cuttings that, conveniently, can be shipped anywhere as leafless, rootless, dormant sections of stem. The suspense is in waking up such a cutting, so that it takes root, begins forming foliage, and—eventually— favors you with glorious flowers. I'm discovering just how much patience that wake-up can require.

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