Perhaps one of the most beloved trees of the south, the beautiful crepe myrtle tree is a favorite of Virginians and common to Williamsburg, VA. It’s no wonder that this fabulous tree is a staple in so many gardens; few plants can match their year-round appeal with magnificent summer flowers, splendid autumn foliage, and finely sculpted bark.
With its spectacular hues of red, pink, lavender and white, the crepe myrtle adds explosive color to the streets of Williamsburg in the spring and summer. Its crinkled petals resemble crepe paper, hence its name, and grow in clusters that brilliantly dominate the tree when in full bloom. In the fall, the crepe myrtle produces radiant red, orange, and yellow foliage that add to the crisp charm of autumn in Williamsburg.
In 18th-century Williamsburg, VA, the crepe myrtle tree was a sign of status. As an imported plant from China, you had to be wealthy to get one and then it would be prominently displayed so it could be admired. Some notable Williamsburg places where visitors can view these stunning trees: The Peyton Randolph House; on the campus of the College of William and Mary; the Governor’s Palace; and in gardens along the Duke of Gloucester Street in Colonial Williamsburg, VA.
The crepe myrtle tree is highly revered by northern visitors amazed by their beauty; many of whom have never seen them, as they usually don’t grow farther north than Maryland. Today there are many more crepe myrtles in Colonial Williamsburg than there were in the 1700’s, thanks mostly to John D. Rockefeller, who was a lover of the tree and financed the restoration of the restored city.
Williamsburg Garden Week is an excellent chance for you to check out the colorful blooms of the crepe myrtle tree along with the best gardens in the city!