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: Pink Crinum with 'Panache' Canna, 'Pink Diamond' Hydrangea, and 'Dallas Blues' Switch Grass

Crinum flowers are as large and colorful as those of daylilies, and if you live where crinums are hardy, perhaps they are no more remarkable. You don't stop your car to marvel at a 'Stella D'Oro' daylily in Connecticut. You probably don't stop for a swamp crinum in Louisiana, either. But a crinum in bloom in New England? Cameras, please.


In the picture below, a swamp crinum blooms in late Summer. This one is Crinum bulbispermum, native to the banks of the Orange River in South Africa. Its common name—Orange River crinum—is confusing: The flowers are pink or white, never orange. Whatever the name, this lily's buds and blossoms are a show in themselves, with transitions in color and attitude that can be seen as luscious, poignant or, simply, creepy.




In the close-up below, dark burgundy buds thrust up from the sheath. When just opened, each flower is an exultant cerise made even more vivid by the enormous, pure-white anthers. Ah, the power of youth, but also the simplicity and bluntness. Pointing left, the petals of the maturing flower form a voluptuous curly-edged trumpet of bright pink streaked with rose and white, but the anthers, now speckled with black, seem to have shrunk to a quarter their adolescent size. A fully mature flower droops at the center, its dressy petals and sexual parts both in decline. 




Nearby, the sterile florets of Hydrangea paniculata grandiflora 'Pink Diamond' are just beginning to live up to their name. The price of beauty? The area of the petal with the largest and most deeply-colored blush surrounds a tan patch of damage. This response—the brightest pink surrounding an injury—was also typical of sterile florets of other panicles.




As is typical for hydrangeas, the fertile florets are tiny, and arrayed behind the comparatively enormous sterile ones. Those at the top of the panicle are just opening. Innumerable white stamens are held above the tiny florets; as more and more florets open, the stamens create the panicle's overall fluffiness. 



The crinum's boring strappy foliage is, happily, hidden by the blue-green paddles of 'Panache' canna. The narrow blades of Panicum virgatum 'Dallas Blues' are, by chance, an exact match. The switch grass's airy inflorescences hold countless tiny pink spikelets.




Even the hydrangea's first-year stems have something to contribute: Their bark and petioles are the same rosy-pink as the flowers of both the crinum and the hydrangea.




Here's how to grow swamp crinum, Crinum erubescens. It is nearly as hardy as Crinum bulbispermum, and is handled the same way—basically, in full sun and submerged in water Spring through Fall, and in full sun but nearly dry all Winter.  

Here's how to grow 'Dallas Blues' switch grass, plus a look at how striking its blue-green foliage and pinkish blooms become in Fall.

Here's a fuller look at 'Pink Diamond' hydrangea, plus a link to growing another popular PeeGee hydrangea, 'Unique'. Its hardiness and handling are similar.

Here's how to grow cannas, including ones, such as 'Panache', that can grow aquatically. This canna's blue-green foliage is elegant in itself, but its pink and cream flowers, incredibly restrained for a canna, are its real calling card. I'll introduce them soon.


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