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"Possibility and promise greet me each day as I walk out into my garden. My vigor is renewed when I breathe in the earthiness and feel the dirt between my fingers. My garden is a peaceful spot to refresh my soul." Meems

Welcome to my Central Florida Garden Blog where we garden combining Florida natives, Florida-Friendly plants, and tropicals.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Crapes of Tuscarora

Crape myrtles are said to be the quintessential trees for southern states. Having grown up with them I would say I became a little bit unappreciative of their many good characteristics.

After all they are known for good drought resistance. And they've been hybridized to resist mildews and pests they once were susceptible to. When they start blooming in late spring their striking flowers will last for several months brightening up the middle story in the summer landscape.

Many years ago (when I knew even less than I do now about gardening) I planted two Lagerstroemia x 'Tuscarora' crape myrtles as specimen trees within a few feet of each other and to the corner of the screened enclosure.

As a matter of fact they are squeezed in between the pathway leading from the brick patio out to the back gardens and the screened lanai. Their large plumes of coral pink are blooming their heads off right now. Fortunately, this variety is a smaller crape than some.

Even so, branches of the trees dangle over the pathway making it necessary for adult-sized passersby to either duck or hold them out of the way. It isn't really an ongoing problem until the crapes come into bloom which causes the limbs to fall a tad bit under the weight of the showy flowers.
Not exactly ideal. All the more reason to be sure the space a tree is given can handle its size all the way to maturity.

This spring, as my admiration of these beauties has been renewed, I've added 4 more to the garden. They haven't cooperated in setting buds... yet. We might be waiting until next year for that.

Hopefully my placement of them has improved over time. But now that I think about it ... I did push the limits even on the newly planted trees.

Why is it some lessons are harder to learn than others!


  1. Dear Meems, Do not be too hard on yourself. Allowing the correct planting space for anything, particularly when very small and very young, is always a problem. However, sometimes slightly incorrect spacing results in that somewhat overblown, romantic look to a garden which distinguishes the personal from the municipal and always affords character.

  2. I am the one who always refuse to follow the spacing instructions when planting the young plants :)

    Your crape myrtles are so pretty! I love this bright color.

  3. meems,

    my two new (from last year) crepe myrtles are setting blooms right now...i am so excited. they do remind me of florida and growing up so they already feel like home. they are red and of the smaller variety. i will plant more as i discover which one i sited well. yours are looking great...what are the colours of your new ones?
    plant spacing can really be a problem...i am really trying to pay attention to this since i am just learning about so many of the tn plants.

  4. I love the color of your crepes Meems. I have 5-6 that are a dark pink, one purple, and a purple Queen Crepe. I love them all. Only one of the pink ones is in bloom right now.

    Enjoy and keep cool ~ FlowerLady

  5. Edith,
    Given the super-fast rate of growth in this part of the country ill-placement can often lend itself to "somewhat overblown"... the "romantic look" sounds thrilling though. I'm going to go have another look at some of my misplacements. :-)

    It is a difficult call at best when plants are young. I know I've crowded some shrubs in the newly built berm. Crowding I don't mind so much usually as long as the plants can still be happy. It's a delicate balance sometimes.

    You've got lots of room for "more". So happy to hear you're getting some blooms. There is always a special excitment when we know for sure a plant we planted has achieved its purpose.

    The others are three 'red rockets' and one 'natchez' (white). It will be a while for the 3 red ones to have any size. The 'natchez' was the single trunk "tree" I planted for Mother's Day.(you can see its leaves behind the tuscarora in at least one of the photos in today's post~ I know you wanted to know that:-)

    Did you say keep cool? Ha. When it gets this hot I always wonder how any plant survives. I've spent lots of time the last few days in and out of the pool. :-)

    I think the light pink crapes are my favorites. Yours must be beautiful.

  6. It is always hard to imagine how big something will really get when you are looking at a newbie for the garden. I'm thinking one of the crape myrtle I put in this year is too close to my walkways too. I may have to read up on pruning crape myrtle next winter.

  7. I am one of the worst to plant things too close together or too close to the house etc. You would think I would learn. I haven't yet. I do give them a little more relief. I always tell myself I can trim them into submission. ha... I don't trim much. Your crepe looks beautiful.

  8. Well, because, Meems. Your first thought was to follow your heart and plant your new Crapes where they felt right to you. Methinks they will thrive in this spot because despite your self doubt, it's obvious by your stunning garden that you really do know what you're doing.

    If you were a high and mighty gardener you wouldn't be nearly as charming as you are.

    And there's always the loppers. LOL

    I've got the same problem. The branches bend to the weight of the blossoms and need to be moved if I'm to walk past. Oh well. Happens to the best of us.

    Mine don't bloom until late August.

  9. Meems, I just planted my first Crape Cyrtle (Candy Cane). My yard has alot of shade so I don't know if it will bloom. Now for the size I may have made a mistake on that as well. Just have to wait and see. Janis

  10. Meems, I love the color of your crapes! Twenty years ago i bought a Natchez for its beautiful trunk coloring and now Hedge is crowding it! No Natchez is not crowding Hedge, but it is much taller then i ever thought it would be back when nashville was zone 6! Also back then there were fewer color choices~Did I mention how much I love your Tuscarora! gail

  11. Meems,
    I know what you mean about the abundant blooms. Our landscaper planted 3 Tuscarora along our path. They produce viable seeds that are true to the parent. I have a few knee-high seedlings that are already producing blooms!

  12. This is my favorite color crape. It's the one I have. I just barely nipped the spent flowers last year, and I have the biggest show I have ever had this year.

  13. That color is dazzling. I love crape myrtles and their new-found popularity. I didn't know there were so many different varieties. A smaller sized one might find a home in my garden someday. I can only imagine your spot with all of them in bloom. Maybe that will happen yet this summer, but if not, it's going to be gorgeous next year!

  14. So true, Meems. I bought a tab tree about three years ago and placed it in a very tight spot. My intention was to move it as soon as I got the gumption to go dig up a huge chunk of St. Augustine sod on the north side for a new garden. Unfortunately, I never got around to it, and the tree has become too well rooted to safely move. We too are ducking to walk around it.

    Your 'Tuscacora' crape is a superb shade of pink. Crapes are favorites of mine, unless you ask me in winter. ; )

  15. By the way, I love the title of this post. Sounds like a novel or a movie title.

  16. Meems, this problem is incredibly easy to correct! Just chop your plants down into ugly stumps in spring like everybody else does. If you don't they'll go absolutely wild. Wild, I say!

  17. It's not hard to fall in love with crape myrtles...such pretty flower colors and fabulous bark. It's hard not to buy one in each color. My favorite is Natchez.

  18. Rhonda,
    Pruning crapes is easy. Just take the tips off... please don't commit crape murder like is seen so often in our area.

    I suppose we all do this. It is SO easy to do.

    I suppose we could have worse problems... like NO blooms to hold out of the way. :-)

    There are varieties that bloom well in shade... not sure if Candy Cane is one of them. Shade will also keep them smaller... so that might be to your benefit.

    I now have two Natchez crapes. They get VERY large. Might be my fave crape. Ask me again next week.

    Hmmm... no seeds or seedlings here. Interesting.

    I'm going to try to barely nip the tips of these as they fade and see if I can get a second flush. Have you tried that yet?

    These two are blooming better this year after having the giant Drake Elm removed. I almost hate to say it but the crapes blooming is actually an up-side to having that wonderful shade tree taken down.

    Oh, I actually LOVE crapes in the winter. One of the few deciduous trees here and the bark is beautiful to stand all alone naked and free. Can't say that about too many things. :-)(Glad you liked the title).

    I'm going for wild. I cringe when I see how folks murder their crapes around here.

    Crapes truly are beautiful this time of year. And there are many colors and shapes. Standardized trees of them have been planted in medians along the highways and they are stunning right now.


Have a blessed day,

September 2010

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