A Rant Worth Reading: Totally agree..

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A Rant Worth Reading

By LarryR
March 7, 2013

Sometimes we gardeners succumb to conventional wisdom, only to discover that it may be conventional, but it's not wise.

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Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
Mar 6, 2013 6:23 PM CST

There's an entire drive just down the road from us, lined with these poor butchered crapes. I want to go yell at these people. They've not really planted anything else, just these poor crapes....
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
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valleylynn
Mar 6, 2013 6:46 PM CST
That was a great news letter. I received it in my email. I love to read what he writes, love his sense of humor.
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
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virginiarose
Mar 6, 2013 7:40 PM CST
I received it also, I loved it and agree totally.
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
A bit of this and a bit of that
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bitbit
Mar 6, 2013 9:04 PM CST
Perfect timing for a rant. As I rode the bus home from work today, the crews were out, chainsawing down the top half of every crepe myrtle in my neighborhood. Grumbling
Name: Arif Masud
Alpha Centauri (Zone 9a)
Native Plants and Wildflowers I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Container Gardener Plant Lover: Loves 'em all! Enjoys or suffers hot summers Multi-Region Gardener
KAMasud
Mar 6, 2013 10:10 PM CST
Hilarious! . They do it over here also. Except for one purplish in colour which grows huge. That one does snap in storms sometimes.
Regards,
Arif.
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
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LarryR
Mar 7, 2013 1:10 AM CST
Sounds like I timed this rant perfectly--dumb luck, but still perfect timing.

Lynn and Susan, since you get Tony's newsletter, I assume that you're familiar with his catalog as well. It has great plants, but I read it just as eagerly for the humor (slightly off-color sometimes, but funny nevertheless).
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Mar 7, 2013 1:25 AM CST
I love his catalog, for the same reason.
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Hibiscus Dragonflies Daylilies
Bee Lover Dahlias Butterflies Hostas Birds Lilies
virginiarose
Mar 7, 2013 4:49 AM CST
I love the catalog and the plants, so big and healthy!

We also have a chainsaw gang in my city. They hacked off all the Crape Myrtles in Old Town right down to 12" stumps, that was around October. Then in December when another crew puts up the Christmas lights there were no trees to hang them in. so they wrapped the lights around the stumps! Blinking
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Name: Lynn
Dallas, OR (Zone 8b)
Charter ATP Member Garden Sages I helped plan and beta test the plant database. I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Plant Database Moderator
Forum moderator I helped beta test the first seed swap Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant and/or Seed Trader Garden Ideas: Master Level Sempervivums
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valleylynn
Mar 7, 2013 9:14 AM CST
Blinking
Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
A bit of this and a bit of that
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bitbit
Mar 7, 2013 9:47 AM CST
Hi neighbor! Take the ferry over to Norfolk if you need a crepe myrtle fix. They at least seem to have some respect for the trees there (the chainsaw crew was in NC where I'm temporarily residing)... though it was frustrating a few years ago when the city installed a new stop sign under my crepe myrtle then deemed the tree to be blocking the sign and came out with their stump grinder. You can't kill a crepe myrtle that easily - it's now shooting up all over my yard! Blinking
Name: Evan
Pioneer Valley south, MA, USA (Zone 6a)
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eclayne
Mar 7, 2013 10:02 AM CST

Plants Admin

As a northerner I'm not familiar with Crape murder. Do the trees send up tons of suckers, post homicidal maniacs? I'll be dealing with that in a few weeks on a Saucer Magnolia that got mangled by an October snow storm in 2011.
Evan
Name: Sherry
Northern California
Sunset Zone 17
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Region: Pacific Northwest Seed Starter Region: California Plant Identifier
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wcgypsy
Mar 7, 2013 10:53 AM CST
They look beautiful as a multi-trunk shrub, stunning. We sold my father's house a couple of years ago and it had a wonderful 40-50 year old crape in front. People would stop just to look at it. It's a rental now and I'm glad we're not there to see it. I hesitate to think what they've done to that crape. The people down the road from me have them done as standards, of course...lollipops that they hack back.
I could be wrong...
and.....
"maybe I should have kept my mouth shut....."
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
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LarryR
Mar 7, 2013 11:52 AM CST
Interesting question, Evan. My family and I lived in Alabama for six years. I had several mature crepes in our gardens. They were gorgeous. I occasionally did some light pruning. I had no trouble with suckering, but then I didn't top them or chop them down within an inch of their lives either.

Crepes are truly a tree/shrub for every season. Not only do they have gorgeous crepy flowers, they have beautiful exfoliating bark which reveals lovely markings, as if someone had come along with a paint-by-numbers kit and decorated the trunk in colors ranging from cream to warm beige and cinnamon. In fall the leaves turn shades of red and gold before they drop, and in winter the limb and trunk markings really stand out.

Thumb of 2013-03-07/LarryR/72c637
Exfoliated branches

Thumb of 2013-03-07/LarryR/fadf93
Fall colors

Thumb of 2013-03-07/LarryR/2ae03d
When we moved back to Iowa (zone 5) from Alabama, I brought this crepe myrtle home with me. I potted it up and for many years moved it into an unheated room in the basement during the winter and lugged it back outside in the spring.

Thumb of 2013-03-07/LarryR/54bb12
An ice storm in late fall, before I moved the pot to the basement
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
A bit of this and a bit of that
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Herbs
Composter Container Gardener Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader
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bitbit
Mar 7, 2013 3:08 PM CST
Beautiful pictures, Larry! As much as I enjoy the flowers, my favorite thing about crepe myrtles is their gorgeous bark Thumbs up

And while we're on the subject, I have a random question... Are there different varieties that do better as trees versus shrubs, or is it all about the pruning? Mine (technically they belong to the city, between the sidewalk and the street, but I think of them as my own until someone shows up to chop one down Whistling ) are very much trees, but there's one I pass on my commute that has been pruned into a table - lots and lots of stems coming up, but all the leaves and flowers in a thin, flat layer at the top. I don't think I'd ever have one like it, but it is interesting to look at.
Name: Larry Rettig
South Amana, IA (Zone 5a)
Charter ATP Member Tip Photographer I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Cottage Gardener Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Composter
Foliage Fan Garden Photography Houseplants Hybridizer Organic Gardener Cat Lover
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LarryR
Mar 7, 2013 4:28 PM CST
Bit, I believe I've read that more recent breeding has produced mini crepes, only about two feet tall. I'm guessing that there are varieties available in all sizes.
Gardener was the label imprinted on me when the souls were handed out and so be it. --Margaret Roach (Thank you, Sharon!) Notes from the Garden: Articles of interest on all aspects of gardening
Cottage-in-the-Meadow Gardens: Come on in and take the tour! Check out the photos!
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier The WITWIT Badge Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Moonhowl
Mar 7, 2013 5:42 PM CST
Bitbit, give this link a look. You can find Crape Myrtles that range from a 1-2 ft creeper all the way up to a 25+ ft tall beauty.

http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/databases/crapemyrtle/cra...

http://www.southernliving.com/home-garden/gardens/crepe-myrt...
Baltimore County, MD (Zone 7a)
A bit of this and a bit of that
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! I helped beta test the Garden Planting Calendar Garden Sages The WITWIT Badge Herbs
Composter Container Gardener Seed Starter Vegetable Grower Dog Lover Plant and/or Seed Trader
Image
bitbit
Mar 7, 2013 7:04 PM CST
Thanks for the info, Larry, and the links, Moonhowl. I had no idea there were so many, or such tiny ones!

And somehow from those links and the wonder of the internet, I ended up at my own local botanical garden's website Hilarious!

http://norfolkbotanicalgarden.org/explore/collections/crape-...

We have Crepe Myrtles all over the city, and now I know why! Turns out that Fred Heutte, who helped found the botanical garden, was a big fan of Crepe Myrtles and panted them along many streets... maybe even mine! I've been meaning to pay the garden a visit for years now... maybe this summer when they're in bloom. Thumbs up
Name: virginiarose
Virginia
Money talks but Chocolate Sings!
I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Garden Ideas: Level 1 Avid Green Pages Reviewer Hibiscus Dragonflies Daylilies
Bee Lover Dahlias Butterflies Hostas Birds Lilies
virginiarose
Mar 7, 2013 7:18 PM CST
There were hundreds in my mothers neighborhood. They had been planted by the builder about 50 years ago and they were all dark pink, all up and down every street, every where! Problem was they were all planted under power lines and eventually they got too big and the chainsaw gang would chop the tops out of them and they would sucker something terrible.
I planted a dwarf in my corner garden, it is white and only gets ten feet tall. But it is a slow grower and this year ,#3 it might hit the 4 foot mark. Green Grin!



I agree bitbit,.. I love the ferry!
Susan

In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.....Margaret Atwood
Name: Jean
Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a)
Charter ATP Member Plant Identifier The WITWIT Badge Garden Sages Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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Moonhowl
Mar 8, 2013 7:30 AM CST
You are most welcome Bitbit....glad you enjoyed the links. I do know that many times when you see Crape Myrtles suckering like that it is from stress....drought, damage to the tree, radical pruning. They are truly lovely trees and the cultivars make them very versatile.
Name: Jean
Hot Springs Vlg, AR, DeLand, F
Region: Florida Daylilies Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015
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rocklady
Mar 8, 2013 2:56 PM CST
We have a huge crepe at the end of our driveway. The first year we lived in HSV (after renting our home for 5 years), I was cutting off the seedheads in order to make them rebloom and one of our neighbors came by and said, "Oh, you don't trim them until February," and I told them what I was doing. I don't think they knew much about crepes having lived in North Dakota all their lives. I also told them that ours wouldn't be butchered in February or at any other time. That year we had three flushes of beautiful blooms.
Any day you wake up on the sunny side of the grass is a good day.

"The moving hand writes and having writ moves on. Neither all thy piety nor all thy wit can lure it back to cancel half a line nor all thy tears wash out a word of it." The Rubiyat by Omar Khayyam

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