Photo: Caroline Clark
Welcome to Crepe Murder 2014, our celebration of the most boneheaded attempts at pruning crepe myrtles from the past year! This year, the competition was so fierce and the entries so bizarre that we couldn’t have just 10 winners. We had to have 13. So it is with great pride for the reporting and great sadness for the plant that I present the submission from our first winner — Birmingham’s own Caroline Clark.
In case you’ve just been born into this world, crepe murder is the term Grumpy uses to describe the inexplicable chopping down of crepe myrtles into ugly stumps that occurs throughout the South every year in late winter. Grumpy attributes part of this to ignorance, part of this to doing whatever stupid thing your neighbor is doing that you are not, and part to rising testosterone levels in bored guys who have no football left to watch on Saturday and instead are presented Olympic curling.
Crepe murder insults its victims in two ways. First, it prevents them from developing the incredibly handsome smooth, flaking, and colorful bark that develops only on unbutchered trunks. Second, it results in the rapid growth of spindly shoots from the ends of the stumps that cannot hold the flowers erect. Why a manly man would create such an unmanly plant is beyond Grumpy’s comprehension.
Grumpy is grateful to supermodel and taste-maker Caroline Clark for submitting this photo despite sinister threats from her troglodyte neighbors. For her efforts, she wins a lavender ‘Early Bird’ crepe myrtle that never needs pruning from our Southern Living Plant Collection.
Check back tomorrow for our second winner whose submission will be every bit as gross. And in case you wondering how to properly prune a crepe myrtle, check out Grumpy’s definitive and world-famous guide, Crepe Myrtle Pruning Step-by-Step.