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Crape Myrtle: "Muskogee"

So my husband and I had been admiring a really pretty tall skinny flowering tree in one of the islands in the road around the corner from our house...and turns out it was a crape myrtle, one of those trees I have planted in my last two towns, and failed miserably at. Yet when I was wandering around one of my favorite nurseries this past winter, I couldn't help myself and invested in a bigger version. As the woman told me about them, "as long as the ground isn't frozen, you can plant it." And that I did.

A crape myrtle is a bit picky in the beginning, I read, meaning it needs lots of water the first spring and summer until it gets established, and then you can leave it alone. We also learned about the many different varieties, and the fact that you can let them turn into giant flowering shrubs, or trim them at the bottom to make them into tall, bouquet like trees... like the one in our neighborhood!

It has definitely bucked the trend of mine with this particular plant, and has taken off, doubling from around 3 ft in height to well over 6 ft, and will ultimately top out around 15 ft, which is so perfect to be the star of the backyard. I also love it because just as everything else is finishing up blooming (I'm looking at you, gladiolus and lavender!!), this beauty is just getting started and will bloom into September I'm told. Hot damn!

As we close in on the end of our second year back in the city, it's pretty amazing to see the progress of not only this tree, but so many more. While I've been gardening for 20+ years, my husband and I commented that since being here we have almost exponentially up to our game when it comes to things like what will grow the fastest, what will thrive in part sun, what will transplant well and what will fail miserably, and so much more. I guess it helps being in a climate of Northwest Washington that is not quite as cold and damp as the Oregon Coast where we came from, not to mention as achingly hot as Portland has now become with the rapid onset of climate change. As I try to explain to people, Seattle is now what Portland was when I was a kid... climate-wise, that is.

In the meantime, the pollinators are thrilled at this new addition...

"Garden as if you will live forever," as the saying goes...


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