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: Mature Standards of Bald Cypress

Hardy, durable, stylish standards are always welcome, especially where typical mild-climate standards of bay and myrtle aren't hardy. About eight years ago, I commissioned a pair of large-scale standards formed by grafting a dwarf cultivar of bald cypress, Taxodium distichum 'Cody's Feathers', atop four-foot trunks of the straight speces.


Now, here they are, each a triumph eight feet high.


Taxodium distichum Codys Feathers west to east 080118 915 


Every few years, I've pruned the canopy for shape, but the natural bushyness and density of this dwarf cultivar has done most of the work. I also provided a rebar stake to keep the young trunks securely upright while these tap-rooted trees worked on their deep anchoring. 


Now, the canopy of each of the standards is a four-to-five-foot sphere. Below, the east-most one provides a dense green backdrop to the bright foliage of variegated rose-of-sharon.  


Taxodium distichum Codys Feathers eastmost canopy 080118 915


Below, the view toward the standards from the other direction.  


Taxodium distichum Codys Feathers north to south 080118 915


Because the grafting was unusually high by North American standards, the canopies are at eye level. They permit just tantalizing glimpses of what's on their other side, but are high enough above the ground to still permit all kinds of underplanting. A pair of potted variegated soft agaves have become striking no-care accents during the warm months: They thrive in heat and drought, but also welcome summer's occasional drenching rains. And the comparatively-modest canopies of these bald cypresses ensure that sun still reaches them.




Here's how to grow standards of Taxodium distichum 'Cody's Feathers', plus pictures of their remarkable blue cones.


Here's a look at the exciting fall foliage of bald cypresses, as well as how diminutive these trees were just seven years ago.


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