If I were Queen, the world would be a much better place — mostly because of my dungeon into which I would toss all those people who make life miserable for the rest of us. You know the ones I’m talking about: that lady filing her fingernails next to you on the plane, that person bellowing into his cell phone while trying to check out at the cash register, the contractor who doesn’t show up because his grandmother died…..again. There would be special rehab cells for all of them.
But the actual torture chamber would be reserved for people who commit this horticultural atrocity:
I thought the mutilation above was one of the worst ever and then I saw this. I almost drove off the road:
Yes, it’s Spring in Virginia. Crocuses are popping, the birds are returning, and thugs with pruners are mutilating the beautiful Crape Myrtle all over the state. Is there a garden writer in existence – at least down South – who hasn’t ranted and raved against “Crape Murder?” Although the possibility does cross my mind that the perpetrators of these Crimes against Crapes are probably not avid readers of Southern Living magazine.
What baffles me is why? Why would anybody want to have those ugly sticks protruding from their front yard when they could have this:
When we moved to Rosedon, there was one mutilated Crape Myrtle here which I have been slowly helping to recover. The first two years I didn’t prune it all except removing shoots. Now I give it a gentle pruning each spring. It’s never going to be beautiful, sadly, but at least it is no longer an eyesore.
When a crape myrtle is “trunk-ated”, she tries really hard to recover. Proud Southern Belle that she is, she desperately sends out as many branches as she can from the nasty knobs formed by all that pruning.
Sad, isn’t it? And the tree will still leaf out and bloom but it’s never quite the graceful form it should be.
The Crape Myrtle is an icon of the southern landscape. Grown for its beautiful blooms in July and August, I love it for its sculptural quality in the garden and that wonderful reticulated giraffe bark. Throw in some brilliant leaf color in fall and the ice-glazed beauty of the seed pods in winter and you have one spectacular tree.
Here a shot of what a lovely Crape Myrtle should look like if just given a proper mani/pedi and not an amputation:
Okay, I would actually be a benevolent Queen and adhere to Personal Principle Number One: Try Kindness First. Criminals would get a warning the first year. But if I saw it happening the second year? GUARDS! Into the dungeon.
Here’s a how-to on proper crape myrtle pruning not that any of YOU need it, I’m sure.