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Plant of the Month
Crape Myrtle 'Sioux'
Looking for a beautiful specimen tree or shrub that will give you outstanding color from flowers, foliage, and even its bark? Try one of the lovely hardy crape myrtles, Lagerstroemia indica.
The crape myrtle is an exceptional deciduous ornamental that has a long blooming season of showy flowers, a stunning fall season of blooms and colorful autumn foliage, and a winter season of dramatic architectural beauty highlighted by distinctive cinnamon-colored exfoliating bark.
Plant Them NOW!
Crape myrtles from containers can be planted spring through early fall. Balled-and-burlapped crape myrtles should be planted in early spring or early fall. Late August and September are excellent times to plant them. This gives them time to get established before winter.
Crape myrtle blooms brighten the late summer garden.
To perform their best, crape myrtles should be planted in full sun. This is especially true of some of the newer varieties. The red flowering varieties will lose some of their red coloring if they are not grown in full sun.
Crape myrtles prefer well-drained soil and will grow well in sand, clay, or loam. They do not like wet feet or poorly drained areas so be sure to add plenty of good organic material to the soil when you plant - especially if you have clay soil. Once established in the garden, these magnificent trees and shrubs are heat and drought tolerant.
How Big Do They Get?
The mature height of crape myrtles can be categorized into the following groups:
- 1' - 3' tall
- 3' - 5' tall
- 5' - 10' tall
- 10' - 20' tall
- 20' or more
A pink blooming shrub form grows alongside a white tree form crape myrtle.
Pick the correct height to fit your space. This will greatly reduce pruning. Height will also vary depending on your pruning practices, which may be in part determined by how cold the winter gets in your area. Severe cold can damage trunks which may then require renewal pruning.
Certain types of crape myrtle show off beautiful exfoliating bark. This showy bark pattern is best seen in 'Natchez', 'Acoma', and 'Tonto'. After 3 - 5 years, the bark becomes more and more attractive.
Beautiful exfoliating bark gets better with age!
Disease Resistance and Hardiness
The National Arboretum has introduced several wonderful varieties of disease and mildew resistant crape myrtles that are hardy to USDA Zone 6. Once established these magnificent trees and shrubs are heat and drought tolerant.
Three excellent cultivars are listed below:
'Sioux' is a beautiful cultivar that is highly resistant to powdery mildew. It has intense pink flowers that last up to 90 days
'Natchez' is mildew resistant, has beautiful exfoliating bark, and large white blooms that can last for 110 days.
'Hopi' is also very mildew resistant and has medium pink, recurrent blooms that last up to 100 days
We have many different varieties of crape myrtle on display in our gardens.
This year, the Viettes are testing several additional varieties in the gardens, including 'Burgundy Cotton'�, 'Siren Red'�, and The Dazzle� Series.
Download a PDF listing of
Andre's favorite hardy Crape Myrtle varieties.
Click for information on pruning crape myrtles including some of Mark's video tips.
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|Tip of the Month|
|The Importance of Water Garden Aeration|
Water gardeners, whether they're amateur hobbyists or seasoned professionals, are often confused between water "circulation" and water "'aeration". Most people think that as long as the water is moving, it creates enough oxygen throughout. They have been lead to believe that proper aeration can be achieved with a waterfall, a skimmer filter, and a pump but in reality, these elements only "circulate" the top few inches of water in your pond. For a healthy ecosystem, all of the water must have contact with the atmosphere at some point.
Aeration has been recently discovered as a key element to any backyard, commercial or large acre pond. It provides a beneficial amount of oxygen that most pond water lacks and also moves waste from the bottom of the pond to the filter. Most pond owners do not realize how important this is. Here at Harper's, we highly recommend setting up one of these aeration systems in your water garden.
What about aquatic oxygenating plants?
While they do provide countless benefits to the pond ecosystem, there are some things that you should know about these natural aerators. At night aquatic plants run a process known as reverse photosynthesis, in which they actually pull oxygen back out of the water! With enough of these plants, the oxygen levels can become dangerously low every night. In the morning, when you think your fish are starving for food, they may actually be starving for oxygen, gasping at the surface for air.
Aeration is beneficial to the entire pond ecosystem.
There are many problem areas that can be alleviated with aeration; most importantly, the oxygen levels and circulation of material within the 'water column' (a conceptual column of water from surface to bottom sediments). Harper's incorporates air stones at the bottom of their ponds to allow oxygenated water to rise up through the entire water column, moving organic waste, and allowing pockets of toxic gas that form underneath to release out of the water. The circulation of waste also allows your skimmer filter to catch and clean the water more thoroughly, which reduces the unsightly growth of algae at the surface of your pond. The added surface current also prevents mosquito breeding.
Fully oxygenated water means that beneficial aerobic bacteria can thrive throughout the entire water column and sufficiently decompose all the circulating organic waste. This will give you nice crystal clear water to enjoy even during the hottest summer weeks!
Proper aeration benefits the pond ecosystem in winter.
Poorly aerated water can prove detrimental to fish in the winter months because the lower half of the water column will not only be very low in oxygen but also very high in toxic waste and gases. This is the leading cause of the winter fish kill that some experience. Aeration units also prove to be a better alternative to a winter de-icer, as it will keep a portion of your pond from freezing over and leave less chance of oxygen depletion. So, along with proper oxygen levels and reduced waste, your fish will live a longer healthier life.
On top of all the beneficial qualities of proper aeration, another advantage is the low cost and maintenance of an aeration system. Harper's can find a system for most any budget. Most aeration systems will only equal a very small fraction of the costs people put into chemicals and other pond maintenance equipment. On average, a small aeration system can run around 6 watts of electricity, a fraction of a light bulb. Aeration units are easy to install to either new or existing ponds, and they require very little upkeep throughout the season.
Harper's Statuary & Water Gardens can provide a wide range of aeration systems to fit any pond application. Conveniently located in the Shenandoah Valley off I-81 and just 30 minutes from Viette's, they provide aeration units and kits for small backyard ponds, all the way to large multi-acre ponds. Stop in today and let Harper's help you set up a proper aeration system, so you can achieve beautiful, healthy, crystal clear water all year round!
|"In the Garden" Weekend at The Homestead|
Need a "COOL" retreat from
the August heat?
Join Andre and Claire Viette for a fantastic gardening weekend in the cool mountains of western Virginia.
13th Annual "In the Garden" Weekend
August 19th - August 21
The Homestead Resort in Hot Springs, VA
Get away from it all!
Enjoy a beautiful weekend basking in the cool mountain air of this well known National Historic Landmark luxury resort nestled amidst the breathtaking scenery of Virginia's Allegheny Mountains. Enjoy seminars from leading gardening experts, tour the spectacular Homestead Gardens, relax in luxurious accommodations and feast on delicious food.
As part of this event, you will receive a complementary membership to the American Horticultural Society which includes a subscription to "The American Gardener", the official bi-monthly magazine of the AHS.
Hurry, don't miss this wonderful "Getaway Weekend"!
Click here for details. Time is running out!
August Lectures at Viette's!
Wednesday, August 3rd at 1:30pm
Saturday, August 6th at 1:30 pm
Gardening with Hosta & other Shade Perennials
What is shade? Many gardens start in the sun and end up in the shade! Learn all about creating a beautiful shade garden and selecting the proper plants. By following a few easy steps for color and low maintenance, you can make your shady spots come alive with Hosta and other shade loving annuals, perennials, and shrubs. Free lecture
Wednesday, August 10th at 1:30pm
Saturday, August 13th at 1:30 pm
Hummingbird and Butterfly Gardening
Who doesn't love to see the colorful butterflies and hummingbirds skirting and flitting around the gardens? Did you know there are plants which act as "hosts" for the butterfly larvae and plants which supply nectar for the adult butterflies and hummingbirds? Come to this valuable seminar and discover the marvelous perennials, annuals, and shrubs which will attract these delightful creatures and keep them coming back for years to come!
Wednesday, September 7th at 1:30.
Don't miss Sam Harris for "Transforming your Summer Containers for Fall".
|Our friend Jef Naunchik - Master Designer|
"Jef is like Monet ..."
Last Saturday, July 30, Jef Naunchik joined Mark Viette on the "In the Garden" radio show answering questions on trees, shrubs, landscaping, and a host of other questions related to all aspects of gardening.
"Jef is an artist," says Mark Viette. "Jef is like Monet - he can walk into a property and within seconds, he creates a picture. This picture includes multiple spaces. The key to a design is that the spaces are soothing and flow from one space to the next."
"Jef also has a handle on costs that allows a landscape for any budget." Many of us homeowners stay much longer in our homes than we originally anticipate. Add enjoyment and value by creating an oasis around your home.
Jef has been working as a designer for 30 years, including retail experience and 15 years of teaching horticulture and design at both vocational and collegiate levels. His gardens can be found in publications in Southern Living Magazine, Southern Accents, and The English Gardener.
In most cases Jef and his crew can handle the entire landscaping project from conception to completion; and maintenance when necessary. The landscape department at Village Garden Center offers a complete service including: consultation, designs, grading, plant material and hardscape installation (patios, walkways, retaining walls etc), night lighting, water features and professional hydro seeding. Our CAD computer program can network directly with builders and architects to develop plans.
For a landscape consultation with this talented designer, contact Jef at Village Garden Center (540-887-1226) or visit the Village Garden Center website to view some breathtaking images of some of their landscape designs.
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|American Horticultural Society|
Are you new to gardening and want to learn more? Or a seasoned gardener, looking to deepen your involvement in the gardening community? |
With a bi-monthly gardening magazine, webinar lecture series, seed-exchange, reciprocal admissions program, and more, we offer many opportunities to enhance your gardening experience.