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: Prostrate Plum Yew

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Snow is always welcome when it reaches the ground. There it functions as mulch, buffering the plants and roots below from Winter extremes.

 

Some of the snow that doesn't reach the ground gets stuck on the garden's plants. Most often, it just obscures them. Sometimes it weighs down their branches past the point of breakage.

 

But sometimes—here, for instance—plant-borne snow is stylish. The branches of prostrate plum yew are largely horizontal, with a rank of unusually long needles angling up at each side. It's a perfect configuration to collect snow in the centerline.

 

Flakes that hit the needles often slide down to the center on their own. If they are blown about, the plentiful as well as upward-angling needles are likely to keep some of them from falling to the ground. Instead, they'll bump around in the shallow groove formed by the needles' two ranks. Like tiny pinballs, pinging from one side to the other, the flakes' tendency will be to land ever nearer the centerline as, inevitably, they drift lower and lower.

 

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As that same wind also jostles the needles themselves, it changes their look, too, by shaking some of their snow to the ground as well as tossing it back up into air. The needles of Cephalotaxus harringtonia 'Prostrata' will tend to rid themselves of snow, just as the centerlines of the shrub's branches will tend to accumulate it. The result? The contrast of the two ranks of deep-green needles flanking a white line of snow is maintained and even enhanced. Conditions and activities that are purely physical—freezing water, constantly-shifting wind, horizontal branches, thick but flexible needles—produces a result that is wonderfully aesthetic.

 

For a time, for this time. Today's was a light snow. During a longer storm, or one with larger flakes or less wind, the branches' overall ability to accumulate snow would soon outweigh the needles' abilities either to shed it or bounce it into the center line. This stylish look, then, appears only occasionally. It's not to be taken for granted.

 

Here's how to grow a close relative, the Chinese plum yew, Cephalotaxus sinensis. Its habit is upright and even tree-like, but it has the same versatile constitution of Cephalotaxus harringtonia, thriving in full sun or deep shade, and in any soil as long as it's not poorly drained.

 
 
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