Crape Myrtles always hold a special place in my heart, not just because they’re outrageously pretty when they bloom in the early summer, but because of the memories I have of them. There were three things I loved to play with when I was a kid: Polly Pockets, Fairy Winkle dolls, and my “space ship”.
Now, this spaceship was in reality a 20 ft Natchez Crape Myrtle in the backyard. The trunk was about 30 inches in diameter, and flared out into sturdy branches about 2 feet off the ground, which was perfect for a 3 year old Marta. I would climb in the tree and use jump ropes to make seats in the branches and pretend to rocket to the moon using “controls” that were in fact knobs and crevices in the bark. However, this wasn’t the only Crape Myrtle that I played with.
Another of my favorites was in a public garden across the street at the Carnegie Library, downtown Bryan. Tucked away to the side was a bench, but unless you knew about it you would never have found it because it was sheltered by two huge Purple Crape Myrtles. Imagine a Crape Myrtle shaped like a Weeping Willow. I used to lie on that marble bench and look up and see nothing but lavender blossoms slowly snowing down as they drifted with the wind. It was magical!
Now, when I see kids picking up Crape Myrtle blossoms and using them as confetti or see them running amid our young Crape Myrtles here at the Nursery, it makes me smile to think that maybe one of these trees will grow up to be a space ship too.