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: Coat-racking the Korean Pines

Plant anything fifteen years ago, and it should be a lot bigger by now. Compact and upright though they are, these two Silveray korean pines flanking the grassy alley are finally too broad as well as tall. What's needed is more than snapping off much of the soft new growth, the "candles," each May.   

Pinus koraiensis Silveray 032318 both before 320

Instead, it's time for "coat-racking"—cutting all the branches back as far as possible, leaving only crude, projecting stubs: the hang-your-hat-on hooks of the "rack." Take a deep breath, pick up the pruners and loppers, then begin.

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Today in Key West: 'White Ghost' Euphorbia Revisited

Two years ago, I introduced this White Ghost euphorbia, which was thriving in the delightful Martello Tower garden in Key West. In the tropics, plants grow so quickly that two years there is like a decade or two in New England. Mindful of the devastating hurricanes since, I was anxious that this singular succulent might have been crushed or, simply, swept away.

Euphorbia lactea White Ghost tips 030818 320

But no. Here it is, in the pink literally. But pink? Two years ago, all its young growth was tan. As Alice remarked in Wonderland, "Curiouser and curiouser."

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Today in Key West: White Orchid Tree

Up North, trees with flowers so large that they are showy individually, even from a distance, are pretty much limited to magnolias. Not so in the tropics, where scores of arboreal species produce blooms as large as your hand.

 Bauhinia variegata Alba overall 030518 320

Even amid such competition, the flowers of the white orchid tree are standouts. (True, it doesn't hurt to have an adorable Key West conch cottage as the backdrop.) Is this tree a possibility back North? Thinking creativity, yes

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Today in Key West: Thryallis Vine

My pair of potted thryallis shrubs guarantees that, each season from August into October, my hot-color garden in New England is graced by fireworky spikes of yellow and red flowers. This thryallis brings the same excitement to the street scene of Key West year-round—but it's a vine. 

Tristellateia australasiae 022818 two 320

Vining thryallis: Who knew? The flower spikes are identical to those of the bushy form. Would the vine be a more effective, easy to handle, or exciting vehicle for them back North? Only one way to find out.

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Today in Key West: African Tulip Tree

Hurricanes are normal for Key West, so stormworthy trees should be the rule. But there are just too many other tempting possibilities for this, the mildest climate in North America—especially those that wouldn't survive even in sometimes-chilly Miami. The platter-sized flower clusters of African tulip tree are staggeringly good, so the trees are planted here despite their brittle wood. 

Spathodea campanulata 022318 320

Above, what's left of my favorite: sprouts from the roots.

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