An unapologetic plant geek shares advice and opinions on gardening, the contrived and the natural landscape, as well as occasional topics from the other side of the gate.

July 15, 2014

Seventh Annual Citywide Bloom Day

     Typing this, I realize just how long it's been since my last post - exactly one month ago for June's Bloom Day. Ironically, my job affords me more free time than I have known in my adult life, yet, I seem to have so little of it. Evenings find me satisfactorily wrung out from work, and the heat. Weekends find me adventuring, usually on my bike or in the kayak, as I feel a need to take advantage of the warm weather (and the fact I can still physically do such things). Which reminds me, I have indeed written a few blog posts, but on my kayaking blog and not here. So to rectify, let's get started.

     Each July Bloom Day, I celebrate one of my favorite trees, the crapemyrtle (Lagerstroemia species). The climate here in Norfolk is extremely well suited for them. Winters are generally not too extreme, the summers are long, hot, and humid, and we usually have ample rainfall. In short, the trees thrive here, and we have a Frenchman to thank for it. Fred Huette was the city's first parks director, and it was he, more than anyone else, who promoted crapemyrtles. As a result our streets are festooned in July with huge pink tresses, and in the mornings windshield wipers are needed to clear the fallen blossoms for safe driving. Huette was also one of the founders of the Norfolk Botanical Garden where I work, so you can imagine we might have a few crapemyrtles planted there. Last year the garden was recognized by the North American Plant Collections Consortium (NAPCC) for our Lagerstroemia collection, which is the only recognized collection of this species in the country. So because opportunity presented itself, and because of a lazy streak, the photos for this month's post were taken at the botanical garden.

Lagerstroemia indica (7)

Lagerstroemia indica (8)

Lagerstroemia indica (9)

Lagerstroemia indica (12)

Lagerstroemia indica (4)

Lagerstroemia x 'Yuma'

Lagerstroemia indica (3)

Lagerstroemia indica (6)

Lagerstroemia indica as backdrop (2)

Lagerstroemia fauriei 'Townhouse'

Lagerstroemia indica (16)

     If you would like to see what July looks like in other gardens, visit Carol at May Dreams Garden, where she hosts Garden Bloggers Bloom Day on the 15th of each month.


  1. Never met a Crape Myrtle I didn't like. Grumpy Gardener said once that they come in different colors so you can choose just one. I manage to hold mine to only four different: 11 of my beloved ancient Lilacina, several white and two other antiques.

    Around the town nearby, Crape Myrtles are planted in the median of the Bypass Highway, lines of from 7 to 11 of one kind followed by another line of a different color, stretching for miles. If a crew didn't murder them in the spring and then let suckers grow around their ankles they would be prettier but they don't consult me about things like that.

  2. The Crape Myrtles are beautiful and one of my favorite trees in the garden. Thank you for sharing!

  3. Oh, I love Crape Myrtles, and those are some wonderful specimens. I first discovered them during a trip to Branson, Mo. I'm too far north here, but I enjoy seeing them during travels. Great post! I'm feeling the same way this summer about posting--I've been so busy out exploring. So much to post about but so little time I want to spend at a computer. ;-)

  4. Your posts stress quality over quantity. I love Lagerstroemias.

  5. I'm drooling over your photos! Awesome Crapy Myrtle love! Nicely done!

  6. If your photos were postcards, I'd be buying all of them. I do miss that glorious tree.

  7. I had no idea you guys were Crepe Myrtle Central in Norfolk. Thanks for the tour, Les.

  8. They are an extraordinary sight, and what beautiful bark too. Oh, and I'm all for getting out on the water whenever possible, sailing and kayaking are pretty much the only things that can drag me away from gardening, you have to seize the opportunities while you can to live life to the full.

  9. Very pretty trees and images Les.

  10. Amazing specimens! Due to zone creep, crape myrtles now grow in suburban Philadelphia and came through last winter unscathed. Southern Living sent me a beautiful one to trial. It has dark purple leaves and is called Delta Jazz, I love it.

  11. Beautiful blooms, amazing bark too!
    There aren't crape myrtles in the Pacific Northwest. They defiantly have that Southern charm.
    And while I'm here I may as well wish you Happy Birthday, Less.