Monday, July 07, 2008
Landscaping Makes for Beautiful
Summer in my hometown is glorified by its landscaping. Main street and neighborhoods are showy places worth driving through. Anywhere in Madison and nearby Ridgeland, two neighboring cities outside Jackson, the capital, some of the most beautiful plantings can be found on street corners, fronting wooded areas, gasoline stations, private businesses with drive-up access, entrances to schools, parks and subdivisions. The largest plantings use crape myrtles, those gorgeous trees whose flowers resemble bunches of grapes. They bloom from spring through fall. The colors are magnificent: lavender, light and dark rose, and white.
The name crape has been often seen spelled as crepe. We give it the hard sound that rhymes with "grape." I've never heard "krehp" despite one spelling it as "crepe". The family name is Lagerstroemi. They are so popular that some nurseries specialize in producing and selling just this one tree. (see www.crape-myrtle.com) They grow up to 40 feet and as short as three. One breeder sells miniatures as small as eight inches. Because this shrub/tree can grow anywhere in the world, in temperatures as low as –15 degrees F, it’s any wonder gardeners haven’t discovered and planted this beautiful flowering wonder. They are a “genus of some 50 species of deciduous and evergreen trees and shrubs native to the Indian subcontinent, southeast Asia, northern Australia and parts of Oceania…the French botanist Andrew Michaux introduced this species to Charleston, SC circa 1790.”(www.Wilkipedia.com)
We decided to join the rest of our neighbors by planting two in our yard in April. Already they are blooming. The one below can be seen from our bedroom window.
Crape Myrtles are hardy, woody, perennials that deserve a spot in everyone's yard.