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: The Pollarded Planetree

When I pollarded this young Suttner's plane tree in January, the results were predicably shocking: a complete decapitation. True, what remained was a trunk with extraordinary bark—but without a single branch.

Platanus x acerifolia Suttneri 091418 overall 320

That was then. By September, new stems up to six feet long had sprouted. Plane trees of all sorts are classic subjects for pollarding, in part, because they respond with almost defiant glee when pruned.

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Good Together: 'Ghost' Weigela & 'Gibralter' Bush Clover

Late-summer spectacle can be easy with annuals and tropicals, which can continue at full tilt as long as the warmth lasts. Late summer spectacle with hardy plants is the exception not the norm—and, so, is all the more exciting.

Weigela florida Ghost Lespedeza thunbergii Gibralter 091018 320

August into September, the feathery, pendulous stems of Gibralter bush clover fairly drip with countless rosy-pink flowers. When branches of Ghost weigela are near, feathers of bush clover can merely drape them; if the weigela were any closer, it would be swamped outright. In gardens as in life, the goal is sociability that's intimate without being smothering. Here, Gibralter and Ghost have achieved companiable bliss.

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The Best Season Ever: The Mature 'Red Flyer' Hibiscus

As the intense heat of late summer burns on, there's evermore triumph in plants that, one way or another, think that such weather is just dandy. Red Flyer hibiscus is one of the more bodacious of the possibilities.  

Hibiscus Red Flyer overall from the west upper 090618 320

Despite the name, the immense flowers are deep pink; they are shameless in their revelry in summer's steamiest weeks.  

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Good Together: Curly-leaved Willow & Golden Scots Elm

Change comes to gardens whether or not it was your idea. This past June, I pollarded the golden Scots elm in exasperation that it had still not flowered despite my having let it mature for three years. Two years ago, I planted a tiny curly-leaved willow nearby, replacing the mature pollard of it elsewhere that had, unaccountably, died.  

Salix babylonica Crispa Ulmus glabra Aurea 090318 315

Three months of regrowth from the elm, and this third season of growth from the willow and—huzzah!—their new duet, born of mystery as well as intention, is already beautiful. 

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The Bestest Season Ever: Variegated Five-Leaf Aralia

One of the delicious surprises of gardening is that a shrub that looks as delicate as this one is, actually, so flexible and accommodating it could be made of cast iron.

Eleutherococcus sieboldiana Variegata overall 060518 320

Variegated five-leaf aralia looks like a fluffy bubblehead, but it's a multi-talented workhorse.

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The Best Season Ever: Short-flowered Sinningia in Bloom

Sinningias are bullet-proof container specimens; mine are nearing eight years, and are more enthusiastic than ever. This short-flowered species is the last to flower.

Sinningia curtiflora 092015 320

It's so worth the wait.

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