Friday, September 7, 2012
My Patch of Tropical Paradise
The Daily DuBrule
I didn't think it was possible but I was wrong. I CAN grow crape myrtle in Middletown. I have admired Lagerstroemia plants all over the shoreline and in New Haven where they grow very large and bloom beautifully in the heat of August and into September. Honestly, I have been stopped in my (tire) tracks countless times by specimens of riotous beauty. There are many new cultivars that are supposedly hardy to zone 6, but I didn't think they would work here. Nevertheless, I planted one on the south side alcove of my house, a very warm and sheltered spot where my winter jasmine (Jasminum nudiflorum) thrives.
The first year it sprouted, albeit very late in the spring, and grew but didn't bloom. Who could blame it, after going through the winter from hell. This year it came through our mild winter like a champ. Of course, I cut it back, but not to the ground, because I could tell by scratching the bark that it was very much alive all the way up to the tips. Because it blooms on new wood, cutting it back was needed to encourage lots and lots of bushy, blooming wood. July came and went and my heart sank. I didn't see any buds but my crape myrtle was growing very well. A few weeks ago there they were! Then they opened and I have been enjoying them out my living room window every since. They simply glow with vibrant color. They don't have any of the yucky funguses that some of my other plants are suffering from this year. The Japanese beetles weren't interested, nor were any of the other pests. Beautiful, exotic, tropical crape myrtle, I am SO happy you like it here! Now I just wish I had saved the tag so I could be sure of the variety...