One of the first trees I noticed when we came to Texas was the lovely, flowering crape myrtles. Especially the ones with deep red- or pink-colored flowers. “I definitely want to plant one of those in my yard,” I remember thinking.
Six months later I still feel strongly about having a crape myrtle, although I know now that technically, it’s a shrub and not a tree. And my new book, “Texas Gardening Guide,” (hereafter referred to as the Guide) tells me that I should be able to easily grow a crape myrtle. But wow, are there a lot of varieties. We don’t have a huge backyard, so I don’t want one that will end up 25 feet tall and wide. On the other hand, since we’re in a subdivision, I also wouldn’t mind one that’s big enough to give us a little privacy from our neighbors. Of course, it can’t take away too much space from my yet-to-be designed/planted veggie garden. You see my dilemma?
Well, after looking through numerous descriptions of crape myrtle varieties, I came up with several possibilities: the Pink Velour or the Mandi or Centennial Spirit. I’m leaning toward the Pink Velour because it appears to grow a bit taller than the other two, but not really, really tall. And I love the color, which set against our dark brown fence, I think, would look gorgeous. Now I just have to see if I can find it at a local nursery. One that I checked today only had a white-flowering variety, but I also wasn’t looking that hard because I was checking out other shrubs that might go along the north wall of our house, where there currently is just grass.
I took some photos (gallery above) of shrubs that I liked, then checked them out in the Guide when I got home. I think the photina may get too large to go alongside the house, but I really like the red-tipped leaves, so maybe it’s an option for along the fence in the backyard. The viburnum, too, may grow too large, so that probably means I’ll go with the holly or boxwood. If the boxwood is easier to clip and maintain as more of a hedge, like the Guide suggests, that might be the answer for me. I’d still like to find one larger shrub/bush, preferably with yellow or purple flowers/leaves that could accent that wall, too. Or maybe a white flowering shrub would work, too. I’d love to hear any ideas from gardeners in zone 8a. Or those who have experience/knowledge with what works in my zone.
As much as I want to read the Guide more for flower suggestions, I think I should turn my attention to vegetables and my other new book, “Month-By-Month Gardening in Texas.” Because I think I’ll be planting tomatoes before I know it. Woo-hoo!
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“Shrubs not trees?” My 35-ft tall crepe myrtle “shrubs” may beg to differ with you…I have two variety: white and hot pink. Both of them are prolifc flower-ers in the summer to fall and require only every-other-year pruning (not cropping!!) just to keep them off my roof. Leafguard gutters help keep their flower “fluff” from clogging the drain system, ’cause we get a lot of drenchers here.
Another shrub: loropetalum. Evergreen (ever-purple?) foliage, with showy reds and oranges in the fall, bustles of pink color in the spring. My favs! Also indian hawthorne.
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Yeah, I thought it was strange the gardening book put them in the shrub category, too. So you like the hot pink? I hope it comes in a dwarf size. We just don’t have a lot of room. Thanks for the other suggestions, too. I’ll check them out.
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