Tag Archives: Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Garden Bloggers Foliage Day – December 2014

Seed pods of Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Seed pods of Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Today is the Winter Solstice in the Northern Hemisphere. Arrival time in pbmGarden is 6:03 PM EST.

Tomorrow is Garden Bloggers Foliage Day (GBFD), hosted by Christina at Garden of the Hesperides. In anticipation I walked around the garden with the camera in late morning, when the air was quite chilly and the sky, quite gray and dull. Later the sun peeked out.

The Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) lost its leaves long ago but the seed pods still provide a bit of interest and an interesting coloration on the bark of the Crape Myrtle’s trunk set my imagination to wandering.

Intriguing mark on trunk of Crape Myrtle.

Intriguing mark on trunk of Crape Myrtle.

The screening hedge of five Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’ has grown considerably this year. I like the height, but not the shape of these trees and how to prune them properly is a mystery to me.

Juniperus chinensis 'Blue Point' (Blue Point Juniper)

Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’ (Blue Point Juniper)

Last December the junipers were decorated for the holiday season, but not yet this year. This picture is from last year’s GBFD post.

Juniperus chinensis 'Blue Point' (Blue Point Juniper)

Juniperus chinensis ‘Blue Point’ (Blue Point Juniper).  Lavender is in left foreground.

The small Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ in the Western border continues holding on to its rich fall color.

Hydrangea quercifolia 'Ruby Slippers'  (Lil' Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Hydrangea quercifolia ‘Ruby Slippers’ (Lil’ Ruby dwarf Oakleaf Hydrangea)

Some of the gardenia hedge is not doing well along the Western border where many bushes never recovered from the deep cold last winter. A couple are looking fairly green, but others look miserable. I read it is possible to cut them to the ground to rejuvenate them and may give it a try for those worst affected.

Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

This Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’ is doing well.

Gardenia jasminoides 'Chuck Hayes'

This Gardenia jasminoides ‘Chuck Hayes’ needs rejuvenation.

In the meditation circle many Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue) have volunteered. I keep moving them around into different areas of the garden. The foliage stays colorful and healthy through most of the winter.

Penstemon digitalis 'Husker Red' (Beardtongue)

Penstemon digitalis ‘Husker Red’ (Beardtongue)

When we moved here the front foundation shrubs were underplanted with a row of Liriope spicata (creeping lilyturf). This spreads by runners and is a difficult plant to remove or even contain but it does have attractive fruit this year.

Liriope spicata (creeping lilyturf)

Liriope spicata (creeping lilyturf)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude) is nearing the end of its usefulness for 2014. I really like its early green florets and enjoy watching it move from pink to dark red. I have left its browned flowers alongs with many other plants for birds.

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude)

Sedum ‘Autumn Joy’ (Herbstfreude)

This sedum maintains a brighter, more colorful presence in the garden. It is Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ (Angelina Stonecrop). Most of it is yellow, but some tips are bright pink.

Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ (Angelina Stonecrop)

Sedum rupestre ‘Angelina’ (Angelina Stonecrop)

On the north side of the house this camellia hybrid is full of buds. An unusually cold winter kept this from blooming last year so I hope 2015 will be kinder to it. Its green leathery leaves are glossy and attractive year-round.

Camellia x 'Coral Delight'

Camellia x ‘Coral Delight’

Thanks to Christina for hosting the GBFD review. Visit her to see what foliage she and others are featuring this month.

In A Vase On Monday—Four Seasons

 

In A Vase On Monday - Four Seasons

In A Vase On Monday – Four Seasons

Today’s “Four Seasons” refers to the annual cycle in the garden as this week marks the first year anniversary for Cathy’s weekly challenge called In A Vase On Monday. During the past year Cathy has inspired quite a few fellow garden bloggers to create fresh arrangements each Monday using materials found in our gardens.

I first joined Cathy’s Monday vase project on January 27, 2014, and since then I have been looking forward to seeing everyone’s creations each week. The vases have been delightful and the resulting sense of sharing and community has been gratifying. Thanks to Cathy for hosting and congratulations.

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) and Daphne odora 'Aureomarginata' (Winter daphne) Foliage

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) and Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne) Foliage

Winter:  Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne) was featured last winter in my first Monday vase. Today I used some of the green foliage for concealer leaves.

Spring:  Clematis ‘Jackmanii’ is a spring favorite and has rebloomed for the past month.

Summer:  Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower) and Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower) are mainstays of my summer garden.

Fall:  Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) has compelling orange fall foliage color.

Flowers and foliage representing four seasons of gardening

Materials

Flowers
Achillea filipendulina (Fern-leaf Yarrow)
Clematis ‘Jackmanii’
Cleome hassleriana (Spider Flower)
Echinacea purpurea (Purple Coneflower)
Lavender
Perovskia atriplicifolia (Russian Sage)
Verbena bonariensis (Tall Verbena)

Foliage
Daphne odora ‘Aureomarginata’ (Winter daphne)
Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Mechanics
3 Round Ikebana Kenzan Flower (Frog) Pin Holders
Large round black plastic dish

 

Clematis 'Jackmanii'

Clematis ‘Jackmanii’

Thanks again to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Discover what delightful things she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday. Perhaps you will be inspired to share your own vase.

Finding Connections

Seed pod of Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Seed pod of Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Needed to spend time in the garden this morning, just wanted the connection to the natural world.

Several asclepias tubersosa were reintroduced to the garden last year. The seed pods of this one are showier than the flowers were earlier this year and I got lost studying them for a good long while.

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)-6

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)-9

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)-4

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)-7

Asclepias tuberosa (Butterfly Plant)-3

 

Eventually I moved on toward the front yard. For the past week the pair of crape myrtles at the end of the walkway have been shifting from green to rich orange and golden hues.

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

I do not have the right equipment for taking good bird photographs but this pair caught my attention. Northern red cardinals are generally very patient at the feeder and seem content to share. The small bird is, I think, a Carolina wren.

Northern Cardinal and Carolina Wren

Northern Cardinal and Carolina Wren

Behind the feeder is a passalong Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea) which lost its leaves a month or more ago for some reason. It usually has nice autumn color. Instead of leaves, random white blossoms brave the season at the tip top of the shrub.

Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)

Spiraea prunifolia (bridal wreath spiraea)

Later in the morning, yoga class was overflowing so our mats were closely placed. During our practice we breathed in and out together, sharing our space and our energy, and connecting with ourselves and with each other.

These connections and the ones found in the garden in the early morning light carried me through the day.

In A Vase On Monday—Crape Myrtle Lineup

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) Lineup

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) Lineup

On Mondays it is fun to practice flower arranging by joining in Cathy’s weekly challenge In A Vase On Monday. The goal is to fill a vase using materials gathered in one’s own garden.

My plan this week was for a simple vase. The two Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) at the end of the front walkway had begun blooming last week. I thought I could quickly snip an inflorescence early this morning and drop it the new blue ceramic vase my sisters gave me this spring.

But once outside I saw that four branches of the tree, weighted down by the heavy flowers, were overhanging the sidewalk. This ruined my plan for quick simplicity, because I trimmed those branches back and ended up bringing lots more flowers into the house than I needed.

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)-5

I began implementing my original idea for today’s arrangement and soon decided the shape and color of the beautiful vase I had chosen did not complement the form of this Crape Myrtle with its pinky-pinky tone.

The condition of the flowers was not as fresh as I had expected—petals were already fading and seed pods were forming. Also I was surprised by how much yellow was visible in the flowers and found it distracting. Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)-4

 

More interesting to me were the component parts of the Crape Myrtle and I began dissecting the flower heads and stems. I filled a variety of containers, one with the berries, one with leaves, others with combinations.

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) Berries

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) Berries

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) Component Parts

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) Component Parts

In the end I made a more formal design as well which turned out to be my favorite individual  arrangement.

Formal Design Using Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Formal Design Using Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

My quick idea for today’s vase turned into a more detailed and interesting study of the characteristics of the Crape Myrtle. A collection of vases is something I think works well under many circumstances, using a combination of materials or, as in this case, just one plant.

Materials

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)
3 Flower pins
Variety of vases

Thanks to Cathy at Rambling In The Garden for hosting. Discover what she and others are placing In A Vase On Monday.

Crape Myrtle Glaze

Ice on Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Ice on Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle). Photo:dvm

My husband captured the current state of a Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) this morning with this photo taken en route to retrieve the newspaper from the drive.

We had a light snow yesterday, tons of rain and awoke to everything bent towards the ground. This crape myrtle was blown over about 3 years ago during a summer thunderstorm, possibly a microburst. Despite being broken off at the base it is recovering pretty well, but has a long way to grow to match the stature of its mate just the other side of the walkway.

In the distance the bright yellow daffodils rest their heads against the earth.

Frosty Brr-illiance

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

Daphne odora (Winter daphne)

The sun returned yesterday afternoon after days of rain and gloom. This morning the garden glistened through a frosty coating.

Buxus microphylla var koreana 'Wintergreen' (Wintergreen boxwood)

Buxus microphylla var koreana ‘Wintergreen’ (Wintergreen boxwood)

Echinacea seed heads show varying signs of foraging from the birds.

Echinacea purpurea 'White Swan' (Coneflower)

Echinacea purpurea ‘White Swan’ (Coneflower)

Starkly outlined grass leaves form colorful shadows against the oak leaf’s form.

Frosted Oak Leaf

Frosted Oak Leaf

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle) leaves in cinnamon and citrus hues and rich chocolate-colored seed pods appear to be dusted in sugar.

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

Lagerstroemia (Crape Myrtle)

It is nice to have the sunshine back for a few days.