Saturday, July 14, 2012

Do You Know Crepe Myrtle

Don't misunderstand.  I truly have great respect for Burpee, and every thriving nursery out there.  They offer a vital service to the gardening and landscaping community.  However when I can look at my harvest and know it is 100% me I feel even more satisfaction.  When I can see the sections of landscape that I created from scratch I have pride.  After all, everything started from something right?

Pink Velour Crepe Myrtle-2 years old
Take for example the southern beauty Crepe Myrtle Tree.  The wide variety of colors available make these beauties a staple in nearly every yard in my neighborhood.  Many landscapes showcase a variety of specimens together.  I've long admired the vibrancy of these delicate saplings, but was never fortunate enough to have one. They are true in nature and physic to their native India.  Sure, I could run down to Lowe's and pick one up for around $25.00.  My stubbornness wouldn't allow me to do that since I'm prone to finding a way to get anything free.  Finally, thanks to a gift from my neighbors, I have not just one but three.  They don't know it yet though.  A line of Pink Velour Crepe's divides one neighbors land from our home.  The shade and moisture make a perfect breading ground for seedlings.  The trees are kept well trimmed and seedlings are plentiful.   It wasn't hard to find one to dig up.  I let these in the picture reach a height of at least eighteen inches before I dug them up.  The stronger the root the more stable the growth.  Why did I choose to dig them in the first place?  For one thing they landed right in the middle of my Elephant Ears.  Mostly I want to transport them to the back yard.  As soon as they are strong I (correction-my husband) will strategically place them.

Muskogee Crepe Myrtle-4 years old

My neighbor on the other side has a Crepe Myrtle growing along the fence line that drapes over and provides perfect shade for my garden. I won't profess to be an expert, but I believe the variety of this tree is a Muskogee.  When I found one growing in my garden I couldn't resist the opportunity to take advantage.  Now the tree is a little over four hears old and beautiful.  It sits along the far end of my garden about 3ft tall.  Soon It will provide addition shade for my crops in the sweltering heat of the south.  I'm sure neither of my neighbors would mind one bit.  I hope they would be a little proud of the additional beauty they've provided my landscape.

It is not difficult to give these small seedlings the life they desire.  Once they are strong enough to retrieve dig them carefully to be sure you do not damage the available root system.  Plant them in a very large, deep container with plenty of compost and rich soil.  They will survive well inside during the cold winder for the first few years.  Just be sure to provide plenty of natural sunlight.  Monitor the water closely.  The soil should remain moist, but not soggy.  If the tree is well cared for within two to three years it will be ready to cover that special spot you visioned.

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