Sunday, June 3, 2012

plant the crape myrtle tree

My new red crepe myrtle tree has three little trunks and is about 5 feet tall. I bought it last summer  (2011) at Merrifield Nursery in Gainesville Virginia for a substantial amount of money. I paid extra because this tree suited my needs, it is perfectly red and large enough to stand up to the passing foot traffic for the spot at the edge of our front curb.

56 years old and counting! Wonder if I can dig a hole big and deep enough to plant my tree this year?

I have wanted a really red crepe myrtle in my garden for a long time. Last summer I found that the spot I chose wasn't ready and my strength not up to the hard labor in the summer heat. This type of tree needs lots of sun and that means I have to dig in the sun too!  I reluctantly set the planting project aside on my to do list over and over feeling very guilty that I couldn't get it in the ground to start growing. I discovered sadly that getting old slows you down sometimes when your heart wants to go full speed ahead.

I have a vision of a large crepe myrtle with handsome dark red bark trunks peeling beige skin that is pollarded a bit to give it a bushy top each spring once it is happy in it's new home. At last today after a week of heavy rains that leaves soil soft and easier to dig I went out in the the sun with lots of big puffy white clouds and dug up the ground. It was hard but not as hard as I feared.

I mixed in loads of compost and  because this spot is entirely the remains of the enormous Linden tree that used to live there. The ground was sandy and much of the old mulched Linden tree had broken down to a sort of light brown soil. Sadly it died and was ground up into mulch a couple years ago and now the city won't put a big shade tree there because sensible minds prevail and they don't want the branches in the electrical wires over this spot! They tried planting a lovely delicate red bud a few years back near by but that died even with my careful watering for two summers.  That is when I decided  this is the perfect place for a sun loving, short in stature, red crepe myrtle tree to live.

dug the hole

tree sits at the edge of the hole 30 inches deep before I added compost

Finally, I planted my little red crepe myrtle tree. Now, all I have to do is water and wait. The flowers come late in the summer when ever thing in the garden looks like it is going to keel over from heat and they last into early fall.

It looks small but that rich soil should make it take off soon to reach new heights this summer. 
smile for the camera Frederick the job is almost done

 Below you can see what the flowers were like last year while it was still waiting to be planted it put on a nice display in spite of being pretty tightly packed in a small plastic pot! Oh and the leaves turn a very handsome shade of ORANGE in the fall! It's a perfect end of the season color for our garden at the edge of tenth street.
Last summer's blooms on the crepe myrtle 

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