There’s a crepe myrtle tree in my garden that was planted by the previous owner. It needed some love so, last year, I cut the branches back heavily to promote a better shape and encourage new growth. Now it is in full flower and looks splendid.
I love crepe myrtles (Lagerstroemia). They are the ultimate trees to admire all year round. In autumn, their leaves turn wonderful shades of orange and red before falling to the ground to make a colourful carpet. The leafless branches form shapely silhouettes against winter skies, especially those clear blue skies we experience here on cold days.
As a crepe myrtle gets older, the bark becomes a fabulous sight in winter. It has mottled shades of brown, silvery grey and even salmon pink and creates beautiful patterning that invites closer inspection. As the bark ages, it peels off in layers to reveal a smooth trunk underneath.
In spring, the new leaves start to show on branches. They are, like leaves on most deciduous trees, fresh and unblemished. This is followed by clusters of flowers held in panicles in summer.
I’ve discovered that my tree flowers later than the tree I had in my Sydney garden. Whether that’s normal here or a one-off due to the wet year we experienced in 2022, I’m not sure.
You can now buy miniature forms, plants with dark foliage, and powdery mildew resistant forms. With the range of hybrids available for purchase, there really is something for everyone.
My only regret about my crepe myrtle tree is that it was planted behind our garden shed, so can’t be admired from any window in the house. It’s too big to relocate so I’ve done the only sensible thing – I planted another one!