“Creep” Myrtles

Those of you not from the South may not be familiar with crape myrtles. (Crape or crepe is acceptable, with crape being the preferred spelling.) Crape myrtles bloom nearly all summer, and we rarely have a long enough cold snap in the winter to kill them.

Crape myrtles come in shrub or tree varieties in several shades of pink, as well as red, white and purple.  This is one we have in our yard.

crape myrtle2 7-21-2011 7-33-19 PM

There were several crape myrtles in the yard of my childhood home. Although I’m sure it did, I don’t recall the bark shedding on those like the ones in our yard doing now.  After a particularly hard rain last week, this was what I found when I returned home.

creep myrtle1 7-12-2013 1-27-53 PM

It reminded me of a horror movie setting.

creep myrtle3 7-12-2013 1-27-11 PM

When I showed the pictures to Marshall, he remembered a typo he saw several years ago, where someone wrote about a “creep myrtle”.

cm2 7-12-2013 9-13-37 AM

A fitting description of them right now, wouldn’t you agree?


20 responses to ““Creep” Myrtles

  1. Gosh that is a bit creepy with its skin dropping off like that BUT one thing is for certain – the flowers are gorgeous!


  2. mollieandalfie

    It is spooky, especially at night. Lovely flowers though xx00xx

    Mollie and Alfie

  3. Your Creepy tree looks a little like a Lilac tree. Beautiful! I would leave the strange hanging bark on it around Halloween as it would look perfect! I just love your yard!

  4. I don’t remember seeing any crepe myrtle shed THAT much! You’re so right about not having cold enough temperatures to kill them. But I remember a cold snap around 1980 that did just that. It even killed the one at the end of Mama’s driveway that was as tall as the trees!
    But it came back!

  5. As I child I remember coming home at night. The car’s headlights playing on the shedding bark was beautiful. I still love it.

  6. I love mine. They have to be trimmed up occasionally and it is important to find the right person or get what we call ‘crepe murder’ – just hacked to bits.

    • Renee, I intended to write in the post about “crepe murder”, but I forgot to – thanks for mentioning it. They can be butchered if not pruned correctly!

  7. I had no idea crepe myrtles did that! Of course we have had NO rain so I don’t see that happening. Japanese Beetles that were feasting on ours were dealt with last night. Our crepe myrtles have not bloomed yet! Your’s are beautiful!

  8. I have seen those “skins” lying in the yard but hadn’t thought too much about them. That’s what they are!

  9. You are right…they don’t grow up north where I am from. Am I your only Yankee friend? But I love them and planted one in my yard and I always loved the bark on them because when the flowers are gone you still have that spooky bark. Creepy….

  10. They are in full bloom around here and are just beautiful. The entrance to Peninsula Town Center off Mercury is a site to behold.

  11. i like these trees. my 3 small trees have been suffering the past few years. the heat and grasshoppers have taken so much out of them.

  12. Great post !
    This is very interesting; we had a bunch of these at Bacon’s Castle, but I don’t ever remember them shedding like this ….
    A great effect, though ! Horror movie, for sure …!

  13. Yikes, yes, I’d say those crepe myrtles are looking a bit creepy! :-O

  14. Shirley Matthews Dunn

    I grew up with many crape myrtles on the old home place in Surry,, but I do not remember them shedding ?

  15. How fun…I never knew that you could spell the name “crape.” All I’ve ever seen is “crepe.” But I bow to your knowledge…I can’t say I know much about these trees, except that my mom has several lining her driveway, and they bloom with enthusiasm! Beautiful colors! ~ Sheila

  16. I love crape myrtles and wish that they would grow in harsher climates farther north.

  17. There is trees on the wet coast (Vancouver Island) called Arbutus that sheds their barks! They is much uglyer than your Myrtles.

  18. I didn’t know you’d posted the peeling bark. It does look kind of creepy in your photot!

  19. oooooo lovly, they are supposed to do that, mine does it is smaller, in ne ohio it is hard to get them really big but they still flower beautifully and the one next to my garage the bark is starting to show the patterns typical of crape myrtles. if we keep having normal winters for a change then I might end up with a very large tree to close to my garage, which I don’t fear because I know one winter we will get cold enough to get die back and thus I will have a semi bonsai myrtle that the trunk is super fat (seen someone do that with a maple tree they kept the tops low and the trunk got really big, it looks super cool but they cut it down since I don’t see it anymore)

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