Wednesday, June 26, 2013

I Love Crepe Myrtles (Lagerstroemia)

"Commonly known as crape myrtle or crepe myrtle, is a genus of around 50 species of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs native to the Indian Subcontinent, southeast Asia, northern Australia and parts of Oceania, cultivated in warmer climates around the world. It is a member of the Lythraceae, which is also known as the loosestrife family. The genus is named after the Swedish merchant Magnus von Lagerström, who supplied Carolus Linnaeus with plants he collected. These flowering trees are beautifully colored and are often planted both privately and commercially. Popular varieties used in modern landscaping include the bright red Dynamite Crape Myrtle, the deep pink Pink Velour Crape and the purple Twilight Crape Myrtle, which also has a bark that changes colors. These trees come in many different hues, as outlined on the Crape Myrtle Comparison Char."

I could not have said it better myself.  So there you have it.  I have four of these wonderful trees in the back yard at Crest Avenue.  They generally bloom in August, however I am seeing some that are starting to show flowers now.  I pruned all the lower branches off my trees early in the spring this year.  This gave them a much more uniform look and got rid of some dead branches.  The derecho and microburst last year did a little damage to one of them, but I was able to correct that.  As I was walking to the train platform this morning, I was impressed with these two trees at the Cheverly Metro Station.

The groundspeople keep this area so clean.  I love how the trunks of these trees have formed.  This is exactly what I am attempting to achieve in my yard.  I removed all the lower branches.  This forces the energy up to the top canopy which as you can see here is just lush and beautiful.  These trees have tiny flowers just starting to peek out.  I planted my crepe myrtles in the fall of 2004, so they are not as mature as these.  But they have flourished these past 13 years and are starting to take on good shape.  I will share pictures with you when they are in full bloom.
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