Crape Myrtles here in my Cottage Garden

Over the past year I have been helping homeowners locally with landscape design.  I had a Instagram follower, Flowertown Charm reach out from Summerville South Carolina. Chris and Jenna who had recently purchased a historic home and wanted a similar style garden designed for her home that I have created here at Fishtail Cottage.  You'll have to go see her amazing blog called Flowertown Charm. I was honored with the idea of the collaboration of a garden in such a dreamy place as South Carolina.  I was definitely up for the challenge.  When I started working on design ideas, I found it fascinating that I could suggest plants that I grow here in Washington State because our Garden Zones are both Zone 8b.  That seemed crazy to me, but its true!  After the design process was completed and submitted to my client, it was offered that I come stay at the bed and breakfast and explore Charleston....I was over the moon with the opportunity to visit both her and the area she lives in person. Being on Cloud Nine is an understatement.

Are you like me and when you travel somewhere and you see plants and flowers that you wished you could have in your own backyard…well that is totally how I felt when I visited South Carolina earlier this year. There are so many unique and tropical looking plants there to appreciate in the conditions there, but bringing them to the wrong elements can be devastating. When I was in South Carolina, I saw Crape Myrtle trees everywhere!!! They are so glorious in the southern parts of the United States - the stunning shape of the trees and bloom colors are so very pretty,

This one below had to be my absolute favorite! Its called " Muskogee Crape Myrtle".  The bloom color is sort of a lilac pink hue.

Check out what the bark looks like! Doesn't it just scream at you with character!
When I returned home from South Carolina it was almost July here in Washington State.  I actually noticed a crape myrtle tree in downtown Kirkland that I had never noticed before. I guess I had just assumed the necessary conditions for these trees were out of reach for us here in Washington.  But seeing this fabulous tree local made me wonder if I too could grow the varieties I saw in South Carolina?  I started working with and they suggested I give it a try...I jumped at the opportunity.  

Within a week I had a huge box filled with three Crape Myrtles on my door step. The Muskogee (my favorite) still had blooms showing!!  I couldn't believe how quick the shipment arrived and how healthy the plants were and how absolutely beautiful the blooms were. 

The healthy and beautiful plants did not last for me, within just weeks of planting, the trees all lost any and all signs of life that they arrived with. I quickly contacted and they were so helpful with explaining that the trees may be in shock from the temperature differences between their nursery in North Carolina and here in Washington.  They instructed to do a scratch test.

A "scratch test" is literally just that....a little scratch with my fingernail to see if under the bark there is any green - seeing green means that the plant is still healthy and happy...which as you can see in the photo below - these trees are just fine. The tree had just gone into shock and quickly went dormant for our fall/winter. offered me a sweet little Frost Proof Gardenia to love while I await spring time to see if my three crape myrtle trees winter over. I can't wait to share what they look like next spring. But for now I am absolutely enjoying this Frost Proof Gardenia set inside this salvaged apple bucket.  How lovely is the foliage of this plant...I'm really looking forward to seeing and smelling the blooms when they appear. 

So curious to hear what you would plant in your area if you could but not sure if its possible? I would love to help you out! Maybe I can find a similar plant that might work for you if the one you want is absolutely out of reach for you! Thanks so much for coming over and visiting my blog today.  Be sure and go take a peek at

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xoxo, tracie


AH, THAT is what they mean by a scratch test! I didn't know either and wonder how many things I threw in the compost pile all these years. I can't even think about it.

Hope your Crepe Myrtles come back strongly for you next year. Keeping my fingers crossed for you!
Your lilac/pink crepe myrtle trees are so pretty. I have crepe myrtle bushes. I've had them for a few years now, and they are still just bushes. So I suppose they are not a tree variety. One year I thought they were dead from an extremely cold spell we had during the winter, but I thought I noticed a greenish tint to the stems, so I didn't dig them out. Thank goodness. It took them longer to leaf out, and one of them actually started all over again by shooting up branches from the ground. I noticed crepe myrtles throughout the neighborhood had the same problem that year, even bushes that were old and huge.

I love my crepe myrtles. There is nothing subtle about their color. They are bright fuchsia pink. They look pretty with the bright colors of the zinnia beds I plant. It is amazing how long my crepe myrtles bloomed this year, from very early July until the end of October, when it snowed a bit and the few blooms that were left turned brown.

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