Our hot, dry summer continues although some parts of our region has received welcome rain, albeit from patchy storms.
I mentioned crepe myrtles briefly in my column last month and wanted to expand my commentary on them this month as they are flowering beautifully across the region at the moment. They are one of the few trees that produce great flower colour at this time of year and they are tough small to medium deciduous trees that are well suited to hot, dry growing conditions.
There are 3 groups of crepe myrtle cultivars that I wanted to highlight. Firstly, the Indian Summer range that come in a range of flower colours from white (Natchez; grows to about 8 metres high), to red (Tonto; grows to about 3 metres) and pink (Lipan; grows to about 4 metres). The Indian Summer range have dark green leaves and attractive, smooth grey bark trunks.
The second range of cultivars of crepe myrtles are the Diamonds in the Dark which have near black leaves, grow to about 3 metres and come in a range of flower colours from white to pink, red and purple.
Finally, there is the Chopin range of crepe myrtle cultivars that are low growing shrubs, 0.5 to 1 metre high and spreading 1 to 2 metres wide at maturity. They, too, come in a range of flower colours from white to pink and red.
Some of the older style crepe myrtles are a bit susceptible to getting powdery mildew on the leaves in cool, humid conditions, but the Indian Summer range have been selected to be more resistant to this “infection”. All crepe myrtles will grow and flower best in full sun positions. Ian Rogan
Millthorpe Garden Nursery