One Hundred Days of Glory

It’s not possible to live in zone 7 of Virginia and not have at least one crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia) growing in your yard.  All through the hot, dry days of summer, crape myrtles thrive and produce blooms in color palettes ranging from white, red, lavender, pink and purple. Some crape myrtles grow only three feet tall and others can reach 30 feet in height and they all produce long lasting clusters of  blooms when all else in the garden is throwing in the towel.

There were shades of pink and lavender growing in this landscape when we purchased this property but I fell hard for ‘Natchez’ that bears delicate white blooms. In the mid-fifties, a species was imported from China to the United States that was resistant to powdery mildew and it also shed its bark in late summer to reveal a gorgeous cinnamon colored bark. The National Arboretum in DC cultivated popular hybrids from this tree bearing the names of Native American tribes. ‘Natchez’ was one of the hybrids.

'Natchez' crape myrtle

We planted one ‘Natchez’ in a border framing the entrance of the home and three more lining the driveway where they receive the recommended 6 hours of sunlight and good air flow to prevent mildew…. just in case.

It’s an amazing process to observe the bark’s exfoliation from the trunk of the tree, very much like a birch tree. After several days it begins to hang in strips, then finally falls to the ground. We are rewarded with the mottled cinnamon colored bark that is a focal point through the cold winter months.

Ann Hohenberger, The Garden Club of Gloucester

7 thoughts on “One Hundred Days of Glory

    • Your annual tour of crape myrtles on your blog educates and amazes. In my next house, whenever that may be, I’m planning a more vibrant shade of crape…. but right now I’m still in love with the splashes of pure white in this rural landscape.

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  1. As I drive through the city of Richmond, I have been embraced by what I call the second flowering of the city…the crape myrtles. While distraught each time I see them cut back to nubby trunks their umbrella of forgiveness in the most unbearable heat moves me to see them as the “flower works” of summer. Thank you so much for sharing.

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    • The second flowering of the city sounds perfect. I simply cannot figure out why people still are still butchering crape myrtles. But I’ve been told once you’ve done it, you must continue each season as the altered limbs can’t support larger growth ever again. Could that be true?

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