Is a 95, 96 or 98 degree day too hot for you?  Cool off in the shade of a crepe myrtle. Crepe myrtles love the heat and humidity and they offer an added bonus of the scent of high summer.  It is a scent that is hard to describe and hard to place until you walk under a line of white flowering ‘Sarah’s Favorite’ Tuscarora or ‘Sioux’ on a warm, humid and lazy weekend morning.  Lazy is an important word here.

You won’t be able to take in this summer scent if you are racing off to work or speeding by in the car.   Although all these crepe myrtles are very visible to anyone who is speeding down a southern expressway where the gaily flowered trees greet everyone coming into town.  I particularily like being welcomed to Atlanta by the masses of bright pink ‘Tuscarora’ on interstate 85S from my summer weekends in Highlands.  My dear friend Elizabeth Feeley would squeal with delight when she saw them after a cool mountain getaway.

Crepe myrtles are not just for public plantings.  They belong in any Atlanta garden that has a hot sunny spot that needs shade and color.  Pair the trees with a patio and table with chairs, but don’t plant them near the pool where the flowers and seed pods can become messy.   Lower level heat loving plants are Rudbeckia ‘Goldstum’ in masses or a mixed perennial border of Setcresia, rosemary and portulaca.

If you have containers in full blasting hot sun, plant them with a combo of sedums for texture and Calibrachoa for color as we have done in the photo.

These are very compatible with each other and the sun.

Summer can be glorious or tedious for us.  Make it a glorious time to celebrate the slower pace, lazy days, and scents of summer that are there for us to enjoy in spite of the temperature.

Marcia Weber

Gardens to Love