A sampling of crapemyrtle blooms in my neighborhood
If I could pick one plant that I ignore and seldom even notice it would be our huge crapemyrtle in the front garden.
It has kept that old, straggly shape for the last 32 years. It has always looked like a bent over 'old man'.
Judging from its trunk, it was probably planted back in the 1960s or even earlier. Our house was built in 1949 so it could be very old.
I have always felt sorry for our crapemyrtle because it struggled for decades underneath our neighbor's line of pecan trees. You can see from this photo how lopsided the poor thing has grown.
That all changed three years ago when the trees were cut down to make way for a new house.
The crapemyrtle that had waited patiently for perhaps half a century had finally been released from its shady captivity.
Our crapemyrtle is also a haven for a naturally occuring species called ball moss.
The ball moss does not take nutrients from the tree, but it can overwhelm its host if left unchecked. I climb a ladder once a year to thin out the hundreds of ball moss babies.
The crapemyrtle is an excellent choice for most of East Texas since it requires no fertilizing, no special soils, no pruning, and will tolerate both wet periods as well as drought.
Our crapemyrtle also has a high canopy that allows that perfect dappled light to filter through to the flowers below. I try to plant flowers and herbs that like a dry soil in and around crapemyrtles since they have an extensive root system that will compete for water. My rosemary plants LOVE this location.
I am a bit color blind in the area of pinks and magentas. So I went around the block and collected a sampling of our neighborhood crapemyrtles. I'm pointing to mine. What color would you call it?
By the way, there were at least three more shades of pink I could have added to the group, but I was on my bicycle and it was too HOT to do any more collecting!
I have one other crapemyrtle in the backyard. It is the white variety with a beautiful tan and white trunk and gorgeous foliage. In the fall, the leaves turn a flaming orange color.
It's a very small plant, so no blooms yet.
Our crapemyrtle will never have a perfect shape or win any prizes. But it does bloom its heart out each and every year for months on end. If it ever dies (which will be decades from now), I will turn some of the smooth branches into walking sticks. We've been through a lot together during the past 32 years of gardening. It would be nice to have a keepsake of my old friend.
All for now!