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: Ferny Hellebore in Summer

Helleborus multifidus subsp. hercegovinus 071315 640


A year ago in early Spring, my colony of this astonishing hellebore was young—and not just because its new foliage and flowers were still emerging. Even when mature, the weirdly stiff leaves looked more spidery than fluffy. This season, the plants have owned up to their inner feather-dusteriness: Each leaf is dissected into scores of rustling grassy segments. In the picture below, my fingers are beneath the multi-layered ruff of segments of a single leaf, whose stem arises directly from the base of the plant.


Helleborus multifidus subsp. hercegovinus hand 071315 640


This one leaf could easily have fifty quill-like lobes; I'm told that the record is over a hundred and fifty.


This is a colony of three plants of Helleborus multifidus subsp. hercegovinus, and is five years old. Like peonies, these hellebores can remain in place for decades, even generations, without needing division. And they too reach a plateau of full-on display that seems to be sustained indefinitely. For all its look of maturity, then, this grouping is barely in adolescence. I'm not aware whether there are other named forms, some of which may well have leaves that are even more dissected. Another possibility is that the number of leaflets increases year by year. Perhaps the clump with "centi-leaflet" leaves was decades old.


This colony will thrive in situ at least as long as I do—or longer if this garden is lucky enough to pass to another plant-besotted owner, or into preservation. Let's say that there's another thirty years to my own tenancy. Will the leaves' degree of dissection continue to increase? Stay tuned for the reports.



Here's how to grow this astonishing perennial, as well as a look at its quirky foliage and diminutive green flowers as they emerge in early Spring.

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