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

Good Together: Curly-leaved Willow & Golden Scots Elm

Change comes to gardens whether or not it was your idea. This past June, I pollarded the golden Scots elm in exasperation that it had still not flowered despite my having let it mature for three years. Two years ago, I planted a tiny curly-leaved willow nearby, replacing the mature pollard of it elsewhere that had, unaccountably, died.  

Salix babylonica Crispa Ulmus glabra Aurea 090318 315

Three months of regrowth from the elm, and this third season of growth from the willow and—huzzah!—their new duet, born of mystery as well as intention, is already beautiful. 

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The Bestest Season Ever: Variegated Five-Leaf Aralia

One of the delicious surprises of gardening is that a shrub that looks as delicate as this one is, actually, so flexible and accommodating it could be made of cast iron.

Eleutherococcus sieboldiana Variegata overall 060518 320

Variegated five-leaf aralia looks like a fluffy bubblehead, but it's a multi-talented workhorse.

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The Best Season Ever: Short-flowered Sinningia in Bloom

Sinningias are bullet-proof container specimens; mine are nearing eight years, and are more enthusiastic than ever. This short-flowered species is the last to flower.

Sinningia curtiflora 092015 320

It's so worth the wait.

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The Best Season Ever: The Mature Contorted Beech

Time flies when a garden is a celebration. This was a dinner party for the editor & crew of Design New England Magazine—in 2008. To the right of the giant galvanized tripod is some generic bulky leafiness: a contorted beech planted as a youngster in 1999, and extremely happy ever since. That evening in 2008, its tippy-top leaves were already as high as the roofline of the house.

Fagus sylvatica Tortuosa 082608 DesignNERaymondParty 320

It's now ten years since this party—and nearly twenty since the beech was planted: high time to check how the tree has grown.

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The Best Season Ever: Variegated Winter Jasmine

All hardy jasmines should be of great interest, simply because there are so few of them. Winter jasmine is the hardiest but also the most challenging, in that its extraordinary vigor can make it a thug. By comparison, this variegated form is a pussycat.  

Jasminum nudiflorum Aureum 080218 green new foliage 320

This stem tip from my old colony shows the puzzle of the "variegated" name: The newest leaves are all-green, while the oldest are pure white-yellow. Only the "medium mature" leaves are literally variegated. What's the story?

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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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