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: 'Calidora' elephant ear in bloom

Sure, elephant ears are all about foliage—well, actually, all about size of the foliage. Leaves of this cultivar, 'Calidoro', can grow to eight feet tall. Amazingly, that's just middling: Foliage of 'Borneo Giant' can top twelve.

 

 

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But only folks who have exhausted themselves with callas will ignore elephant ear flowers. Calla flowers are bright, showy, suitable for arrangements: Dramatic, but obvious. Flowers of elephant ears aren't just ghostly and secluded, they are at once phallic and, with their sheltering hoods, sinister. Calla flowers: Think Katherine Hepburn. Elephant ear flowers: Think Bela Lugosi.

 

 

Or maybe just "Wow: That's some creepy blossom."  The chalk-white spathe has a female zone at the bottom, widening abruptly to the male zone above it. (OK, there's an intervening sterile zone, and a capping "appendix" zone at the top, but let's not wander too far into the weeds here.) 

 

 

 alocasia-calidora-spathe-and-fingers-072113-640

 

 

Pollen has already been scattered about the lower interior portion of the hood. The pollinators? Flies. Each zone is receptive at a different time, so flies congregate first on the female zone, and then next on the male.

 

 

Flowers of Alocasia 'Calidora' are a veritable cornucopia of creepiness. The vampiric afraid-of-the-light location under the leaves. The chilly blue hood, even though the plant flowers best when the weather is unrelentingly hot. The spathe that is almost comically penile—but with a female zone here and male zone there—and that also looks, nonetheless, like a depraved bishop. Pollination by flies.

 

 

The appeal of the magnificent foliage is considerable, but one-note: If it's bigger, it's better. Anyone understands. The appeal of the flowers? Too sexual for the kids, too blatant for the proper, too complex for the simple, too subtle for the coarse, too funny for the serious, too deviant for the righteous.

 

 

In other words, too wonderful!

 

 

Here's how to grow Alocasia 'Sarian', a cousin whose care is the same.

 

Here's a look at one of the water-loving cousins of Alocasia: Colocasia 'Black Coral'. Colocasia welcomes even richer soil and even more moisture. Unlike Alocasia, it thrives in saturated mud or even shallow water. As long as it has the moisture it needs, 'Black Coral' welcomes full sun in even torrid climates. Otherwise, the care is the same as for Alocasia.

 
 
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