July 12, 2021

Several weeks ago, I noticed the beginnings of some small shoots coming up in both beds beside the driveway.  These beds had been dominated by crepe myrtle bushes for over twenty years until we decide to remove them last year.  It was not that they looked bad, we just wanted to try a new look.  I had cut off the trunks and even dug into the ground to remove as much root as posible.  After we cut out the crepe, melissa planted both beds with a large agave and several smaller hen-n-chick succulents.  You may recall that between the moles and the harsh winter we lost everything in the south bed, but the hen-n-chick in the north bed survived and are flourishing.  I pointed out the unknown plant last week to Melissa as we got ready to leave the house.  Without hesitation she told me it was the crepe myrtle.  Apparently, my eradication had not been enough.

When I looked online, I found that common crape myrtle bushes (Lagerstroemia indica) are “attractive varieties of multi-stemmed flowering shrubs with showy red, white, pink, or purple flowers.”  It seems the only difference between the crepe myrtle bush, tree, and dwarf varieties are their size.  Crape myrtle trees can be as much as 20 ft. (6 m) taller than the bushes and grow up to 35 feet (10 m) high.  Dwarf crape myrtle bushes may be as short as two feet (0.6 m). The larger crape myrtle shrubs can be between five feet and 15 feet (1.5 – 4.5 m), depending on whether the bush is a semi-dwarf variety or a small shrub-like tree.  Most types of flowering crape myrtle shrubs have a broad crown that is usually wider than the bush is tall.  The spread can be between five and 15 feet wide.  I recall that this is what we had before (and now), as it was about three feet high and four feet across.

Since our agave had died anyway, Melissa decided we should allow the crepe myrtle to regrow rather than cutting it out again.  It had looked nice, and she thought it would provide good shade for the hen-n-chick that would do well in the shade.  This time we are planning to monitor the bush.  Rather than allowing it to take over the beds, I am determined to keep it pruned and allow it to grow taller with the foliage confined to the top cap.  This will provide both protection and sun for the succulents and the creeping phlox that are currently in the bed.  At times you just need to bend with the will of nature.

Thoughts:  Just like with my crepe myrtle, there are times when we think we have resolved a problem when it comes back to haunt us.  That is the case with covid-19.  At the end of May it looked like we were approaching the end of the pandemic, at least in America.  That is when complacency set in.  Governors and states relaxed precautions and people went back to business as usual.  Biden’s prediction that we would be free from the worst of the virus by the Fourth of July was predicated on the rate of vaccinations we saw during April and May.  There were whisperings that the virus had been defeated, and America lost all sense of precaution.  The masks came off and gathering in large groups returned, but the required vaccinations to reach our goal of 70% stagnated.  Now cases of a deadly mutation are again rising, and the hospital beds are full.  Few of these cases are among those vaccinated.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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