Our crepes myrtle has endured storms,children climbing on its branches, and people snipping off its flowers. It’s a treat that makes the graveyard brighter in July and continues well into August.
The first crepes myrtle was brought to Charleston by botanist to Louis XVI, André Michaux in 1786. Originally from China and exported to England, it did not bloom since the clammy British climate wasn’t hot enough. But the south was!
Southern Living writes “Audacious spikes of pink, purple, white, and red flowers crown its sculptural branches for months in summer. In fall, leaves turn a brilliant red or orange, and its peeling bark brings winter interest. Crepe myrtles are found in many shapes and sizes, but their arching branches make them a mainstay for framing many a courtyard. The tree loves heat and humidity, tolerates drought, and grows quickly. Unlike the azalea, camellia, and gardenia, which pine for acid soil, crepe myrtle flourishes just about everywhere. No wonder it ranks as the South’s most popular (and coveted) ornamental tree.”