Thoroughly enjoyed your story! It was fun to read, and informative. My dear mother used to love crepe myrtles, and had several in our yard as I grew up...whites and pinks. She tended to them like they were a flock of favorite animals, so I can identify with your story. It wanted to live so badly, but no one would let it even get out of the ground! You saved its' life, and now it is paying you back with its' beauty. You should be proud. Incidentally, you live in a beautiful home as well as having a beautiful lawn. Keep up the good work. Sunbug1
I'm always admiring the pictures of other people's crepe Myrtles, and yours are no exception. Beautiful. Up here, I'm afraid it would be too easy to actually murder one, besides which, I seem to have used up the space in the yard. Next lifetime, I'm gonna get one, though. Nice article! But, what happened to the free birch?
Thanks Sunbug1! I'm so glad you enjoyed it. I have come to love and appreciate my Crepe and it is growing well now despite its sad history.
Carrie- Thanks! Sorry to say the free Birch was deceased when I pulled it up. It never did take root :-( I hope you get some Crepe for your yard and if nothing else you can always just keep a little shrub sized one. They come in such glorious colors now that I am thinking of adding another to my limited space.
We really don't have space... at the moment. If the dreams about backyard second patios and garden rooms ever become true, maybe I'll add one then. We have some space that's just generalized LAWN, where it's really too shady for grass and too sunny for shade - we pruned a gigantic monster in the yard into a shape that shade plants do actually grow under and now the sunny space beyond it is more accessible. So I'm not ruling out the possibility altogether!
Joyce, you sure have a talent for a story! I don't know anything about crepe myrtle, but I read your story completely entralled, and then I read again because there were parts I could put to use with my own trees. Thanks once again for an informative and entertaining start to my day!
Your article comes at a good time; I just planted 6 crape myrtles this year and would love them all to grow into graceful trees. So it is great to learn how to prune them, especially since they are new, I want to get them started out right. I am also trying to make something out of a neglected yard, I like stories like this!
Thanks CRice. They are so beautiful , you will love them. They are everywhere here in this area and nothing is more gorgeous than driving down a street lined with them. Your six should make an impressive stand in your yard. Just wait till spring to prune them and by summer you'll be greatly rewarded. Good luck on your "neglected" yard. I'm sure you will turn it into a beautiful garden. I have been working on mine for four years and am still discovering new plants and where they grow best in my yard. Its so much fun I practically live outdoors, who woulda thunk it? Me, from The Bronx? I even have an apple tree! Ha.
A great story; informative and entertaining. I grew up in NC where crepe myrtles grow quite well, we had 2 in our yard and the semicircular drive at my school was lined with them. I hated to see them bloom! To me it meant the end of summer and the start of another school year. Now this memory viewed through layers of many years is still vivid.
I wish someone would have taken a picture of when a Crepe Myrtle tried to murder me! When I was a kid growing up in New Orleans, our street was lined with them. For some reason, I got the urge to poke my head between two crossed branches, and couldn't get it out. I screamed and cried, and my mother, aunt, and grandmother looked out the window and just cracked up! Then they sent Grampa out to pull the branches apart and set me free. The things we do as kids, huh? LOL
I fell in love with crape myrtles when we were living in Charlotte, NC. I also learned the term "crape murder" while we were there and would smile and shake my head every time I saw one treated that way. You'd think that with the circulation of that memorable description there would be fewer "victims", but hat-racked and murdered crapes were an all-too-common sight in early spring. I have a pair of watermelon pink flowering crape myrtles flanking my front door here in Connecticut. Even though they are supposed to be hardy enough for my zone 6 garden they will spend the winter in my garage since they are in containers. Thanks for the heartwarming story and the pruning tips. I will keep the pictures for reference!
One final thought: do you know anything about the origin of the "crape" vs. "crepe" spelling?
Glad you enjoyed the article! I had the same question about crepe vs crape. Its called Crepe because the flowers have crinkly petals that resemble the material or paper called Crepe "(which according to Webster is a "light crinkled fabric woven of any of various fibers"). Crape would be a misspelling whose origins I cannot trace but "crepe paper" seems to make more sense than "crape paper" (as one authority amusingly explained :-).