Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Crepe Myrtles Have Their Day

Just when the scorching temperatures of July have bleached the color from the roses, and the garden is starting to look a bit stressed, the crepe myrtles burst into bloom.


We've planted a number of different types.  
The Black Diamond variety, with their purplish leaves, have a very upright, vertical form.


And the blooms are almost day-glow red!


The white type planted in front of our house, have a different shape: their limbs reach out sideways in long wands, and dangle heavy clusters of white blooms at the tips.


The smaller crepe myrtle beneath the white one is a shrub type.  


From a distance, it could be mistaken for a lilac bush.


We planted another if this type in the back yard to screen the cover to the gas tank.


For years I disliked crepe myrtles because I had seen so many terrible pruning jobs!
There are still landscapers out there who hack the trees back to ugly stubs every fall.  


Here is an example of 'topping', also called 'crepe murder'.

Who wants a tree that is grotesque half the year?
If the goal is flowers at eye level - plant a smaller variety, or choose a different type of plant.


This photo was taken at the Nasher Sculpture Garden in early spring.
Their crepe myrtles are tall and elegant - pruned so beautifully, that the trees are lovely additions to the garden year round.


Once I discovered that crepe myrtles did not have to be attacked like kudzu, I became a fan!
I love the variety of colors.


I love their peeling bark and smooth trunks.
And it's a garden boon that they come in so many different sizes and shapes.