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Japanese Crape-Myrtle


Dear All,

The garden has been quiet, and I have been quiet. But as Spring will soon be arriving, its unlikely to remain the case!

Just a quick update on some tree identification work I have been doing (difficult at this time of the year).

Going through a part of our woods at the back I realized we have several trees with beautiful trunks. My wife said she thought it was the Slippery Monkey Tree. A few google searches later, and I found out we have several mid-mature (c30 years old) Japanese Crape-Myrtle. The back is all still a bit of ness (needs thinning etc), but these I will definitely be keeping. The trunks have a lovely reddish and grey mottling. I didn’t realize there are so many flowering trees, but apparently this species has white flowers and is more robust than the Common-Myrtle.

So, one identification down, several hundred more to go!

On the cedar/conifer front, when I was having a quote for something, one of the Japanese men said that – whilst he couldn’t remember what it was called, he new one of our lovely cedars was native to Hokkaido in Northern Japan. Its a clue. I shall go in the search. He was rather in awe of the specimens to be honest, and when one of his fool hardy young colleagues was ‘stupid’ enough to suggest cutting one down to get more light to the weeping cherry growing behind, he nearly throttled him. To be fair, more like would probably help the cherry produce flowers, but the cedars are also much prized (it seems). I like them, but my wife calls one of the Humpty-dumpty for its large egg-like shape (its about 5 metres high and seems to have maxed out – the trunk about the size of a sumo wrestler’s thigh.

A quick (and stupid question attached to this brief blog). I’ve been cleaning the balcony and it has afforded me the opportunity of looking at the climbing rose that I am going to be training along the balcony. Tracing the source of the delicate branches and leaf buds was not easy (up on a bank), but eventually I traced it to several monster trunks (each about 15 cms in diameter). Two were healthy, the third dead. My question, can rose wood be used for wood work? Of course Rose-wood, the fine cabinet maker’s delight is not from the rose, but is wood from roses workable and worth hanging onto?



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