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 Curtain of Weeping Bald Cypress

Any plant in a starring location must command it—and with style. On both counts, this young, weeping form of bald cypress, Cascade Falls, has a bright future.


But even stars sometimes have a job to do. This Taxodium distichum 'Cascade Falls' must curtain off an extension of one of the garden's cross axes that (long story) must cut through a giant brush pile before resuming its cartesian course. Only for state occasions do I cleave the pile afresh, then draw back the taxodium curtain—let alone the deer fence—to reveal the end-to-end view down the vista. The other 363 days of the year, the "folds" of the curtain must once again fall straight down.


Taxodium distichum Cascade Falls 1108117 640


Cacade Falls is peculiarly qualified for the job. First, wow does it weep! In the picture above, you can see how young branches stream downward almost vertically. This doesn't seem a matter of "intention," in the way of branches of weeping beeches. They aren't very flexible even as youngsters and, by their second year, are rigidly confirmed in their chosen positions. Stems of Camperdown elm are nearly as inflexible.


In contrast, growth of Cascade Falls is lax; it hangs simply because it can't support itself. In the picture below, you can see how fully side branches—which developed from stems that had been tied (first) up the side pole, and then along the top one—dangle downward. Even as their caliper increases over a half-inch, they lose little flexibility.


Taxodium distichum Cascade Falls 11261732 extra 640


It's likely, then, that the beginnings of a curtain that they are forming will continue to lengthen, as well as become more dense. These stems are nowhere near their mature length—and, as they achieve it, they'll produce many side stems along the way. Regardless of increasing age and branchiness, I expect that, whenever the full vista needs to be revealed, I'll be able to part the curtain in the middle and tie the "folds" back to either side of the opening.


Taxodium distichum Cascade Falls 112617 overall 640


Note the lovely russet fall color of the foliage, too. Before the new year, it will have all fallen. It's very true that, until new foliage emerges in the spring, the curtain's screening ability is zilch. Cascade Falls makes a good curtain, then, in outdoor areas that are not in ready view late fall to early spring. No problem here. This cross axis is a good hundred feet from the house, and is parallel to it; unless you've come directly upon it, it isn't discernable, let alone all the way from the house.


Before hard winter descends, I'll introduce the view with the curtain tied back. Beyond the portion of the walk that cuts through the brushpile, like Moses parting the Red Sea, the walk passes beneath another portal of Cascade Falls—this one a more traditional arch—and then down the length of a garden otherwise fully enclosed by beech hedging. A young allée of pollarded Limelight hydrangeas is just starting to arch over that portion of the walk.




Here's at look at the second of my screens of Taxodium distichum 'Cascade Falls', this one a more traditional archway. It is in enfilade with this flat-topped curtaining one, but is being trained not to obstruct the vista down its center, but to ornament it: Overly-long branches at the center will be tied permanently aside. You can also find the full "How to Grow It" table in this post.


Here's how to grow a dwarf form of this tough and adaptable tree, Taxodium distichum 'Cody's Feathers'. My pair were grafted very high, to form giant standards. I'll showcase them in the coming year, a full six years after the pictures in the linked post, which shows them in only their second year after formation.


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