|This is our Crepe Myrtle in full bloom,|
a straggly and neglected plant when we moved in almost four years ago.
|This kind of pruning is called Crepe Murder,|
sometimes an entire row is topped off this way.
|We get gigantic blooms from extra watering|
and year-around mulch, plus moderate pruning.
The newspaper article made me stop in mid-pruning. Cardinals love the seeds formed by the blooms. No wonder I have Cardinals nesting there.
I needed to shape the plant, since it overlaps the mailbox and the sidewalk. Pedestrians should not need to duck under undisciplined plants, and the mailman does not need to reach the box through flowers and hovering bees.
I will leave the entire top in bloom to create a fine set of seeds for the birds. Moderate pruning will shape the plant and encourage roots, branches, and blooms.
Mulch Feeds the Plant
Long ago, as a beginner, I joined the crowd in raking leaves from under the bushes, little realizing how much food I was taking from the plants.
In Springdale I started adding mulch or manure to the base of the plant every time I had a new supply. Each time the food disappeared into the soil. When I piled up leaves under the plant - for the winter - they also disappeared by spring. Once we had huge blobs of grass and clay from under the mower blades. I piled them under the plant and saw them disappear, as soil creatures turned nitrogen rich grass into usable nitrogen for the roots.
The newly pruned blooms go onto the mulch, adding a festive pink decoration for a few hours, and a few seeds for the ground feeding birds. The layered mulch is a food bonanza for all of God's workmen, from the spiders eating the insects to the birds harvesting bugs from the mulch.
I dasn't water the flowering part of the bush now, as I did in years past. The nestlings need to remain dry and secure. Instead, I soak the mulch, which decomposes better with moisture added and holds the water in for the benefit of the plant. None of the actors think about what they are accomplishing together - they just continue their lives and their agendas, the divine. management system already in place.
In the early spring, the entire mulched area took on a new look. I noticed that a mole made his feeding tunnel go under the bush in a perfect circle - following the area of greatest bug, larvae, and earthworm concentrations. Do I mutter against the tough little diggers? No -
- Moles stir and mix the soil.
- They eat the pests when the pests are still grubs, like the hated Japanese beetles.
- They eat the earthworms they find, but rich soil will refill the supply immediately.
|The Sower and the Living Seed of the Word - by Norma Boeckler.|
- sharing His Word,
- broadcasting His Word,
- teaching His Word, or
- encouraging those whose primary work involves the Word.