At the beginning of August Mayer and I drove to Minnesota.  Being landscape and gardening enthusiasts, we love observing the change in the flora as we drive from planting zone 10 to planting zone 4.  No one can drive through the south during August and not be in awe of the crape myrtles' amazing display of color.

 

Few summer blooming plants can compete with the colorful and lush crape myrtles that beautify landscapes across Florida and the southern states.  Crape myrtles come in a variety of sizes and are grown as shrub like multi-stem trees or single trunk standards.   Depending on the cultivar, the crape myrtles can start blooming in May and continue into the fall.

 

The crape myrtles brighten the summer landscape with beautiful clusters of flowers that can extend for 6 to 18 inches.  The flowers come in a variety of colors including shades of white, lavender, pink, red and purple, with interesting names such as Red Rocket, Natchez, Tuscarora and Muskogee.

 

These plants thrive in heat and humidity and they are also drought tolerant.  Crape myrtles provide autumn color and are deciduous in the winter.  During the winter we enjoy the sculptural quality of the tree shape and the interesting appearance of the tree's exfoliating bark which reveals mottled colors in shades of cream, reddish brown, tan, and silver.

Multi-trunk Crape Myrtle

Crape Myrtle