The Latest Plants Louis Is Loving
Gold-needled Dawn Redwood
Conifers with gold foliage can be too much of a bright thing: Their often-rigid habit combines with their vivid, usually-evergreen foliage to ensure a year-round prominence that succeeds only if you've provided the center-stage spot they crave.
Gold-leaved dawn redwood, by contrast, brings grace, subtlety, seasonal variety, and unexpected flexibility to its performance. No wonder it's essential.
The Best Season Ever: 'Rubyglow' Passionvine in Bloom
The hardy passion vine has been in flower for months, and is just completing its floral show for the year. The floral season of this giant tender form, Ruby Glow, is just beginning.
Summer's leafy growth was the definition of exuberance: Next year, I'll supply a tower twenty feet high, not "just" fourteen. These massive, colorful flowers are even more exciting.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Despite the name, the immense flowers are deep pink; they are shameless in their revelry in summer's steamiest weeks.