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: Pink Snake-barked Maple, in Leaf and in Flower



Pink snake-barked maple is "on" every day of the year. When the weather turns cold in November, the bark turns salmon-pink. When leaf buds begin to swell in April, those pink twigs are studded with piercing, pure white tips. When mild weather is certain in May, dangling chains of flowers and unusual "non-maply" leaves emerge.


Most maple flowers are pollinated by wind, whose efficacy is thought to be impaired by the presence of petals. And yet, petals form the conical shape of these flowers of the pink snake-barked maple, Acer pectinatum ssp. forrestii. The flowers of our native snake-barked maple, Acer pensylvanicum, also have petals—and the species is known to rely chiefly on bees for pollination, not wind. The same is likely true here.


The wind-pollinated maple species tend to be tall, what the man in the street would term a shade or street tree. Sugar maples, Acer saccharum, can top one hundred feet, and so can red maples, Acer rubrum. Norway maples, Acer platanoides, sometimes top ninety. There's plenty of wind that high above the ground. Maples whose flowers have petals tend to be comparatively smaller; Acer pectinatum might mature at just twenty feet. Such smaller species are often comfortable growing as an understory tree. That's a less windy environment, so, no wonder these species' flowers attract insect vectors to transfer pollen from male to female flowers. 


However they function, the pendulous chains of the flowers of pink snake-barked maple are certainly graceful.




The is nothing like the sharply pointed, deeply-lobed leaves of sugar maples, or the feathery and dissected foliage of Japanese maples.




The vertical striations of the bark are white as well as light brown, readily suggesting this tree's reptilian common name, snake-barked. In cold weather, the portions between the striations are what change from green to pink.



Here's how thrilling pink snake-barked maple looks during the cold months—as well as how to grow it.

FacebookTwitterRSS Feed

Stay in touch!


Sign up for twice-monthly eNews, plus notification of new posts:


* indicates required