I've been thinking for quite some time about clearing out the hodge podge of shrubs and perennials around the sun room and replacing them with plants normally grown in the south, including camellias, crepe myrtles and possibly crinums.
I actually started to call this area of the garden "The Garden of Southern Follies and Delights" a few weeks ago, even though I wasn't totally set on replacing those plants with marginally hardy southern plants.
Then I went to the grocery store for some salsa, just one jar of salsa. The entrance to the grocery story is a minefield for gardeners because they always have some tempting plants on display out front. Good plants, too. I've found some interesting plants in front of the grocery story over the years.
As I walked up to the grocery store, I tried my best to keep from looking at the plants, from making direct eye contact. But a flash of pink caught my eye and I looked.
It was a crepe myrtle. Specifically Lagerstroemia indica 'Strawberry Delight'. I tweeted out "Temptation, thou takes the form of a crepe myrtle." I wanted it. But I didn't buy it. Instead I made a deal with myself. We all make deals with ourselves when there are temptations tapping us on the shoulder, don't we?
I made a deal with myself that if I went back to the grocery store the next day and they still had a crepe myrtle out front, I would take it as a sign to proceed with my plans to plant The Garden of Southern Follies and Delights.
The next day, I went back to the grocery store. I was delighted. There were three crepe myrtles sitting out in front of the store. It was the sign I was hoping for, times three. I looked from one to the other to the next one. Should I buy all three? Should I buy two? Or should I just buy the one with the nearly black leaves called 'Midnight Magic'?
I bought Lagerstroemia indica 'Midnight Magic'.
Depending on who is selling it, this particular crepe myrtle is advertised as either hardy to zone 6 or zone 7. If it is only hardy to zone 7, then I have purchased a lovely annual crepe myrtle. If it is hardy to zone 6, then some winters it will probably die back to its roots but grow back in the spring. It will likely never get to its full height of four feet.
I'll plant this crepe myrtle soon and then I'll have Midnight Magic in the Garden of Southern Follies and Delights. It has a nice ring to it, doesn't it?
Now that the new garden has been started, I'll pull out the hodge podge of shrubs growing there and prepare the border for camellias. I've been reading about camellias for over a year thanks to Eudora Welty so I know there are actually some winter hardy varieties that should survive my zone 6 winter. Should.
I'll plant the camellias this spring to give them a good chance of establishing roots before winter arrives.
Crinums? I haven't quite figured those out yet. Perhaps I can dig them up each fall, like we dig up dahlies and cannas each fall? I'll do my homework on those this winter when I plan out the rest of The Garden of Southern Follies and Delights.
I sure hope it grows more delight than folly... or I won't be whistling Dixie.