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: Zabel's Cherry Laurel



With Winter's official arrival in only days, plants that are quick to shed their leaves have long since done so.  Amid sticks and stalks and suddenly-bare ground, everything that's still evergreen is in high relief.  Zabel's cherry laurel is almost too good to be true:  Hardy, deer-proof, fast, enduring, and unusual. 


Although its glossy leaves could impersonate foliage of true laurels, Prunus laurocerasus is a cherry, with showy white flowers in Spring that mature to small black fruits.  Although birds eat the fruits, the foliage is avoided by browsers despite being thick, juicy, and thornless.


'Zabeliana' is the hardiest form of cherry laurel, and it's the groundcovering champ.  The upward-slanting branches make Zabel's easy to identify and, over many years, can increase the shrub's diameter to ten, fifteen, twenty feet and more.  This adolescent is just beginning its outward expansion through adjacent perennials and shrubs that can soar eight or ten feet each Summer. 


All cherry laurels are impressively shade-tolerant, so 'Zabeliana' is happy to grow outward in the semi-shade of these neighbors' lower reaches.  So happy, in fact, that I may need to prune away branches of 'Zabeliana' to maintain windows of access upward for its high-elevation neighbors.  Skylights, so to speak.  


Here's how to grow a more upright cousin of Zabel's cherry laurel, "Schip" (pronounced "skip") laurel, Prunus laurocerasus 'Schipkaensis'.  Zabel's does not need Schip's preferred formative or maintenance pruning.  Plant four to six feet apart, and let the shrubs fill in on their own.


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