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

Fabulous in the Fall: Coral Sun Koelreuteria

Koelreuteria paniculata Coral Sun Canna Wyoming Galphemia gracilis closer 101616 640


Even the straight species of Koelreuteria paniculata is unique: it's the only hardy summer-flowering tree whose blossoms are butter yellow, not white. Above-left is its Coral Sun cultivar, which does everything but flower. Given the spectacular show the flowers of the species make, it's incredible indeed to suggest that with Coral Sun, you won't miss them.


Coral Sun provides eye-popping and complex displays each season of the year, involving separate shows of the leaf blades and their petioles, as well as the bark of its young stems. Compared to such dextrous versatility, mere flowers would be so obvious. Here, then, the first of many looks at this remarkable tree at the height of its display of fall foliage: As summer heat turned chilly, the pinnate leaves and their petioles both turned pale yellow.


Koelreuteria paniculata Coral Sun Canna Wyoming Galphemia gracilis 101616 640


Coral Sun is nothing if not clever in each of its parts. Far from being supporting structures to the leaflets—mere background in the yearly cycle of this tree's multi-act show—the petioles have their own performance arc: they had been bright raspberry all spring and summer, during which time the leaflets were first coral-pink, then pale green.


The picture below shows just one of the range of partner plants the seasonally-shifting displays of Coral Sun make possible. The plant at the right, with small green foliage and spikes of yellow-and-raspberry flowers, is a containered ever-blooming subtropical shrub, thryalis. It leaves the greenhouse in spring to enjoy the warm months sunk into the garden bed before returning to frost-free shelter in the fall.


Koelreuteria paniculata Coral Sun Canna Wyoming Galphemia gracilis cropped 101616 640


All summer long, the raspberry petioles of the Coral Sun foliage called out to the bright raspberry centers of the thryalis flowers and the softer raspberry of the shrub's young stems. For the weeks of fall before hard frost would damage the shrub, that link shifted to the yellow shared by the thryalis's petals and the tree's now entirely-yellow leaves and petioles. Although the display of the thryalis hadn't changed, its context had: the notes of raspberry were now the contrast to Coral Sun, not the link with it.



In 2017, I'll revisit Koelreuteria paniculata 'Coral Sun' in spring, summer, fall, and winter. I'll also provide the full how-to-grow-it table.

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