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The art of bonsai is very old indeed. The first people recorded to practice the art were the Chinese who, in the 14th century, collected naturally dwarfed plants from the wild and transplanted them into containers.
The Crape myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) is one of the most commonly used flowering trees in landscaping today. It also has the dubious distinction among gardeners and horticulturists as the plant that gets butchered in the worst way by homeowners and property maintenance companies.
Perfectly pruned crape myrtle. Note the umbrella
There are certain plants that just have a natural association with gardening in the South: magnolias, azaleas, camellias, and, of course, hydrangea. In previous generations, it would be hard to find a little white frame country home without a big bush of puffy, extravagant pink, blue, or white hydrangea blooms in a place of honor by the front door.
Crape myrtles are one of the most commonly planted small flowering trees in Georgia. There are numerous cultivars and flower colors available. These durable landscape plants are also known for having attractive bark, drought tolerance, and site adaptability.
The bleak, blustery days of winter often give us the feeling we should be working inside instead of attending to our landscapes. On the really cold days, this certainly makes sense; but there are actually a number of important tasks that should be done now to prepare our landscapes for the coming spring flush.