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

Osage Orange in Winter

I seem unable to resist thorny, spiny, and prickly plants not in spite of those painful features, but because of them. Inch-long spines of osage orange are profuse as well as effective deterrents to casual contact with humans, let alone the nibbles of any and all browsers.

Maclura pomifera twig fingers 122918 320

On this basis alone, the trees should be ideal for the unfenced portion of my garden. But this osage cultivar, Cannonball, has another irresistible talent: producing enormous fruits that are literally cannonball size. Why have just the normal grapefruit-sized ones?

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The Higher-than-Ever Hedge of American Holly

All forms of holly rebound eagerly when pruned, which is one reason they can form such effective, attractive, durable hedges: They can be pruned a little or a lot, and respond by forming vigorous bushy new growth.

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This eagerness is the reason holly is so quick and easy to train into a hedge. Long-term, it's also the reason that the hedge can be maintained at peak condition forever. The key is welcoming the new growth while, at the same time, being able to prune most of it away without a qualm.


My immense old hedge of American holly is the poster child for long-term healthy care. In less than two years after its last ruthless prune, the top bristles with new shoots three feet tall and taller. As it turns out, they are just the tips of the radical cut-back that's needed.

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Gold-Needled Umbrella Pine

No garden where umbrella pine is hardy should be without one. The conifer’s unique quill-like needles, and their striking array at the tips of bare stems—looking like the spokes of an umbrella—are a tactical & visual thrill.

Sciadopitys verticillata Gold Star 120718 hand 320

The brightly-hued needles of Gold Star ramp up this species' desirability even more. Other forms are dwarf, or columnar, variegated, or green.  On second thought, every garden needs multiple umbrella pines. 

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The Best Season Ever: Lablab

It's the rare vegetable that's showy enough for the garden at large. What others are there besides fancy-leaved kale, cardoons, Jerusalum artichokes, and artisanal grains such as broom corn and amaranth?


Lablab! This astonishing bean is grown world-wide as animal fodder, as well as for human consumption of its flowers, foliage, roots, and pods. It's also grown world-wide as a garden ornamental.

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Here, the glossy rhubarb-pink pods glint in the sun. The long spikes of pink flowers earlier in the season are singular, as well. Then, there's the foliage!  

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Bamboo Foliage: the Alpha & Omega

Leaves of big-leaved bamboo are the largest: up to two feet long. Despite their tropical size, its hardy to coastal Maine.

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Among the smallest leaves of any bamboo are those of Mexican weeping bamboo. The day it was headed to the greenhouse for the winter, I had set my young containered specimen in front of my colony of big-leaved. Could the contrast be more striking? Of whatever hardiness or character, several forms of bamboo are essential in my garden—in any garden. 

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