Crape Myrtle - A Great Late Season Shrub
Crape Myrtle is often grown in climates warmer then ours. Bun it can thrive in protected areas around the island. There are a couple nice examples of this cool plant downtown on Liberty Street and on Step Lane. I had never seen one before, but I fell in love with them when they had an amazing summer bloom several years ago. Of course, we had to put one in our yard, which is quite protected from wind. We chose a nearly full sun location, amended the soil, planted it, fed it and watered it and waited. And we waited some more. Two years ago, after it had been in the ground for three years, it finally produced some beautiful hot pink blooms. This year it bloomed later than the previous two years, but what a treat to have this hot, hot pink shrub in full bloom in the front yard in September. We prune it lightly when it's done blooming, only to take off the spent blooms and do a little shaping. In less protected areas, it's possible that Crape Myrtle could die back to the ground each winter. Fortunately, that has not been the case in our yard.
After having success with the Crape Myrtle, I'm ready to try a Camellia. I have only seen them thriving in the microclimates of very protected yards on Nantucket, but I like to push the limit when it comes to trying new plants in the garden.