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

Bamboo Foliage: the Alpha & Omega

Otatea acuminata subs. aztecorum Indocalamus tessellatus 091117 915


Leaves of big-leaved bamboo are the largest: up to two feet long. Despite their tropical size, its hardy to coastal Maine. 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 the containered specimen in front of my colony of big-leaved before loading into the truck.


The contrast of their differing foliage sizes could hardly be more striking. Below, a couple of leaves of Otatea acuminata var. aztecorum resting on my palm.


Otatea acuminata subs. aztecorum close up with hand 091117 915


Below, just a single leaf of Indocalamus tessellatus is far more than any three or four hands my size could grasp fully.  


Indocalamus tessellatus leaflet with hand 091117 915 


The two species also contrast sharply in habit as well as hardiness. As befitting its native habitat in Mexico and Central America, Otatea is subtropical: It's hardy only to Zone 9 and, so, is a container specimen here in Zone 6. As is so often the case with bamboos that are tender here, it's also a clumper, not a runner. Heights of twenty feet are not unusual.


Below, a magnificent mature colony at the entrance to the Berkeley Botanical Garden


Otatea acuminata ssp. aztectorum Berkeley Botanical Garden 111114 915


Indocalamus is native to China, and is a running bamboo that rarely tops six feet.


Whether in ground or in containers, both are easy keepers.




Here's how good the big-leaved bamboo foliage looked in January.


Here's how to grow big-leaved bamboo.


I'll profile Mexican weeping bamboo this coming season.

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