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: Dwarf Bald Cypress in Fall Foliage



The soft feathery foliage of bald cypresses is fresh green from May until mid-October, when it changes to a bright russet.  This sprig is still in Fall denial, but with another hard frost, it too will get the message.




"Bald" cypress, Taxodium distichum, is one of three genera of conifers—Taxodium, Larix, and Metasequoia—whose species and cultivars all drop their needles during the cold months. 


Because the needles are going to be shed anyway, these trees don't need time to harden new foliage so they can withstand Winter.  And so the trees produce flushes of new growth all season long.  The last flush of the season is green and still emerging even as all the prior flushes have progressed to Fall color. 




As is typical for emergent foliage, "emergence" is, in part, just a matter of inflation, as the young cells fill with their adult portion of water.  With their proportion of water still at the reduced level of juvenility, young foliage is, conveniently, much less susceptible to the chancy cold weather and frosts of the season.  For most plants, that season is Spring, but for these deciduous conifers, which keep producing new foliage as long as the weather is warm enough, the season is also Fall.  Increasing cold in the coming weeks will become so severe it will cause even these juvenile tips to turn russet, and then drop. 


Meanwhile, Taxodium distichum—here in a dwarf form, 'Cody's Feathers', which has been grafted atop a four-foot trunk of the straight species to form a standard—supplies many weeks of distinctive color.  In early Spring, the first flush of foliage will emerge, turning the standard brilliant green.




This Taxodium standard is young.  With maturity, its head will fill in as well as enlarge, forming a dense oval about four feet high and wide.  The trunk that it is grafted atop will slowly thicken, perhaps to four or five inches thick, but will not grow taller.  Overall, the mature standard of 'Cody's Feathers' should be seven to eight feet tall.  This individual is one of a quartet, a pair on either side of a crosswalk that is perpendicular to the grassy main axis of the garden. 


With the billowing Fall growth of the surrounding perennials, the crosswalk is almost hidden from view not just in this picture, but as you walk the garden itself.  When mature, the quartet of standards will be the crosswalk's stunning as well as significant marker, making it impossible not to notice that you have an option to turn to either side of the grassy axis and explore more gardens.



Here's how to grow this dwarf form of this tough and adaptable tree.


FacebookTwitterRSS Feed

Stay in touch!


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


* indicates required