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: Narrowleaf Ironweed

Vernonia lettermannii flowers 092516 640 


I grow few Fall-flowering perennials—asters and mums, say—because their foliage is so boring all Spring and Summer. But I'm jazzed all season long about two of my vernonias.


This thread-leaved species, Vernonia lettermannii, comes into flower in late September after looking as fine since May as the best thread-leaved amsonia. Not even two feet high and wide, it's often an easier fit than amsonia: Each clump of the latter quickly spreads to four or five feet wide, which is great for large gardens but far too billowy for compact ones.


Vernonia lettermannii foliage 092516 640


In close-up, the foliage really is as feathery as that of the amsonia. Does narrowleaf ironweed foliage also develop as exciting a Fall coloring? Will flowers continue to emerge even as the foliage turns?


Vernonia lettermannii foliage cropped 092516 640


Either way, I'll post the full profile on this rare species soon. Its stems are self-supporting and the clump looks fresh all season: Narrowleaf ironweed deserves a place in almost any sunny garden whose soil provides decent to amaaazing drainage year-round.


Vernonia lettermannii overall 092516 640


Here's the story on another of my ironweeds, Vernonia altissima 'Jonesboro Giant'. Its flowers and season of bloom are the same as those of narrowleaf ironweed, but otherwise the two are opposites: Jonesboro Giant soars to twelve feet and more, it prefers soil that is moist to saturated, and it usually needs staking.


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