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

Pink Snake-Barked Maple



A maple with salmon-pink bark:  Interesting indeed—but interesting enough?  Why not add vertical white stripes.  Well OK:  That's snappy indeed.


But let's not stop there:  But what about the tips of the branches?  OK, what about them:  Deeper-pink protective bud scales—check!—through which emerge Spring foliage buds of a white so pure, so intense, it seems electrical.  Check!




Could there be a more inventive "decorator" than Nature?  This tree is almost a caricature of Obscurely Thrilling Quirks for the Cognoscenti.  If there's this much vivid subtlety, so to speak, just in the bark and leaf buds on this this one day in late April, what else—how much else—is in store for us throughout the year?


Nothing so blatant, so obvious, as full-petaled flowers, of course.  Petals we leave to the roses and the peonies.  This is a maple, after all; a little fluff is enough.  (And besides, maples depend on the wind to spread their polllen around.  Petals would only get in the way.)


But the seeds that the flowers mature into, color of the bark when the weather's warm, the leaves and even the little stems of the leaves (petioles is the Latin), the Fall color of the leaves, and then—suddenly when the cold returns—the pink of the Winter bark:  Just about very move and every detail of this tree throughout the year is exciting.


And so it's a tree that will visit us often on 'Geek'.



Here's a look at this tree when it's in leaf and in bloom.


Here's how to bring this serious Winter and Spring pink to your own garden:


Latin Name

Acer pectinatum subspecies forrestii

Common Name

Pink Snake-barked Maple 

What kind of plant is it?

Small deciduous tree, single- or multi-trunked.


Zones 5 to 8.


Upright and sparsely-branching.

Rate of Growth

Fast when happy.

Size in ten years

Fifteen to twenty feet tall, ten feet wide.


In Summer: Large leaves sparingly placed on the branches provide a "ventilated" but plush look.  In Winter, the upright branches are an orderly filigree of color.   

Grown for

Salmon-pink Winter bark on young and young-ish twigs and branches is highlighted with vertical white stripes.  (In Summer the bark reverts almost entirely to green.)  Intensely white leaf-buds in early Spring.

Typical maple flower "fluffs" mature to clusters of the familiar two-winged seeds—but this time in deepest pink.  Large "non-maply" foliage is an intriguing as well as beautiful mystery in Summer and Fall.  Yellow Fall foliage. 


A tree with diverse, varying, but continuous appeal year-round.

Flowering season

Early Spring


Shade to part sun, shade and moisture at the roots.  If you grow this tree like a clematis—sun at the top, moist shade at the bottom—it should establish easily.  This is in great contrast to other snake-bark maples, whose extreme cold tolerance (down to Zone 3) doesn't prevent young "starter" plants from failing over the Winter despite the very same conditions.

How to handle it

The tree normally needs no substantive intervention at all.  Plant it, be sure it doesn't thirst for water, and enjoy its quickly-expanding profile.  More really IS more with this one. 


Not a tree that appreciates drought, so be sure to plant in humus-rich "woodland garden" soil, and take care to water it during hot weather, especially when it's young. 


'Alice' seems, incredibly, even more interesting, with deeper pink-to-red bark, a blue cast to the foliage, and black-purple young shoots.  No wait, there's more:  The leaflets are softly silkly underneath. 


Only at the more adventurous "destination" nurseries, also on-line.



Native habitat













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