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||As summer cools down slowly
Crape myrtles (Lagerstroemia indica)
begin to fade we realize how much with love these
brilliant long-blooming trees.
When you begin to consider what to plant this Fall add a
couple of Crape myrtles
to the list of trees to make your
late summer garden glorious.
For at least one month--and often
longer--in the peak heat of summer they give faded gardens a
jolt of brilliant color. The hot pink, shown above, is
We have however, seen a
garden where a row of Crape myrtles lined a boring
concrete block wall and bloomed in alternating colors
of hot pink and pale pink.
They also come in white and
lilac shades, but these always seem a bit washed out in
blazing summer sunlight.
So pick the one that best
complements your house color and plant them in your
parking strip or along your front sidewalk.
In the best of all gardening worlds,
Crape myrtles love having lots of water, but they also
thrive beautifully in low-water usage gardens. With
plenty of water the trees grow to 30 feet, with less water
they remain shorter. But at 30 feet or 15 feet they
are among the best summer trees for color in the garden.
Garden fountain recycled. If you have a real fountain in your garden that
you have drained for water conservation purposes,
fill each level with good potting soil--making it as
deep as you can--and plant lantana (Lantana
montevidensis or L. sellowiana). These
low-growing varieties of lantana have trailing
As the lantana grows it will cascade
over the edges and for at least six months of the year will
give you brilliant flowers. And don't settle for just
Do not plant
which grows upright to 6 feet
tall. It is not suitable for a fountain.
If you have a three level fountain,
pick the hot pink hybrid, 'Christine', for the bottom level
of your fountain. On the next level up, plant a burnt
orange, such as 'Tangerine'. Then on the top level,
consider 'New Gold', a warm golden yellow.
If you are really a fan of the color
yellow, you can go a little bit wild by planting 'Lemon
Swirl' which has variegated yellow and green leaves with
yellow flowers. One bonus of Lantana, bees love it!
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Wait until the temperature
drops. Do not plant until the temperature
drops to below 90 degrees. (37 degrees Celsius). Yes,
yes, we know that there are young garden designers who will
tell you that it is okay to plant during hot summer months.
They say that so they can continue to have work during those
Palms love having their roots in
warm soil and should be planted in the summer.
Virtually all other plants will do much better if you wait
and plant in the Fall, when Mother Nature does her planting.
You will lose far fewer transplants if the soil is cooler.