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

The Best Season Ever: Fastigiate Gold Yews

In a month when flowers are effortless and, even, omnipresent, I'm ducking floral OD by celebrating another June marvel: young foliage of fastigiate gold yews. Paradoxically, the year-round gold of popular bright cultivars other conifers—arborvitae, cedars, junipers, spruces, and especially Hinoki cypresses—is so easy that it only dulls their appeal. (I grow them all, nonetheless: Some appeal is better than none.)


Worse, the norm is for conifers in general to be constant in their presence: green—or whatever—24/7, 365 a year.


Conifers with ephemeral shows are the exceptions and, so, are all the more interesting. Eyecatching cones from fall into winter? Foliage that turns color when its cold—or, even, is shed entirely? Hooray for such colorful eccentrics. June is the month for conifers with flashy new growth. Today, columnar gold yews.


Below is David, a justly-popular fastigiate cultivar of Irish yew. Not only does it increase in size with enthusiasm, it’s now available in “semi-specimen” sizes, too: four-footers in seven-gallon nursery pots.


Taxus baccata David overall 062318 915


A quartet of Davids buttresses my ten-foot “silo” of climbing hydrangea.


Cornus kousa Kristen Lipkas Variegated Weeper Hydrangea anomala petiolaris Ulmus glabra Aurea Acer palmatum Waterfall 060818 looking west 915


Already about five feet tall, I’d be delighted if they were twice that; Taxus baccata ‘David’ is reported to reach eight feet, but perhaps will favor me with greater altitude.


Thank goodness I didn’t want to achieve the same look with Taxus baccata ‘Standishii’ which, in my experience, is happy but glacial: In eleven years, my foot-high starter plants are just four feet tall. 


Taxus baccata Standishii 062318 overall 915


My prized rooted cuttings of Taxus baccata ‘Fastigiata Aurea’ are slower still: their progress seems not just glacial, but geologic. Starting from mere five-inch miracles (yews are painfully slow to root and, so, are normally grafted), they are just nearing two feet high fifteen years later. 


Taxus baccata Fastigiata Aurea 062518 B 915


The Brobdingnagian scale of their parent, a monolithic specimen in Newport, is all the more taunting in comparison. Alas, it was destroyed in a renovation of its property's residence. Thank goodness my youngsters have survived.



Here's how to grow another dramatic upright cultivar of Irish yew, Taxus x media 'Flushing'. A hybrid of Taxus baccata and Taxus cuspidata, it is much hardier: to Zone 4, not Zone 6. Its culture is the same.

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