Trimming The Crape Myrtles in Laurel Grove; Or, Oh Icy Hot I Heart You

Sugar and I were at Laurel Grove Cemetery last July in 2012.  He noted that the crape myrtles needed attention.  The Spanish moss was choking them.

This observation was made right after the city workers came through and cut everything that didn’t require the use of a ladder to reach.

When I was a little girl, I remember hearing people talk about how beautiful their crape myrtles were.  It didn’t mean anything to me until I moved to SC and saw extensive landscaping with crape myrtles.  It was breathtakingly beautiful.

So these crape myrtles in the Lawton-Jones plot in Laurel Grove have not bloomed since I’ve been going there with Sugar for the past few years.  It was time for some Sugary action.


Here’s a “Before” shot. The crape myrtles are at the center of this photo at the back of the lot.


Sugar has brought along a step-ladder. It’s the kind of ladder that has a tray at the top of it, like for setting objects like paint cans or tools.


He’s finished the first, biggest crape myrtle on the right, and he’s starting in on the second, and last, tree. I’m dragging branches and debris outside the fence to the front of the lot where the city workers can haul it off.


Why, yes, he IS standing on the tray. The one that says on it, “This is not a step. Do not stand or sit.” He says he’s done it before.


One of the canes splinters off, and I show Sugar that we have a wooden stake in case any vampires show up.

Right after the vampire remark, a city worker drives by in a dump truck.  He looks horrified at what he sees.  He turns the truck around, and stops in front of the gate.  After greeting Sugar with some perceptive remark, like “Cutting some crape myrtles today?”, he tells Sugar that we will be responsible for removing the debris.


Sugar tells him that clearly we cannot do this, because it is the city’s responsibility to maintain and remove the debris, but the crape myrtles have not been maintained, which is why we are there today, and we are in a  van (but if we only had a dump truck, oh, hey, look what YOU are driving.)

The man says that the city will only remove what they cut down, and Sugar reminds him that this lot is PERPETUAL CARE, and that the services have been paid for in perpetuity.  He then threw out the “L” word.  “I’m a Lawton, and these are my people.”

The man left.

The man returned with his business card.  It seems that although he works for the city of Savannah, he also has a landscaping business on the side.  “Hey, man, I’ve got to work on the side.  I work for the city.”  Which does nothing to increase our sympathy for his case.

He then told us that his crew could have done the work.  Here’s where the information gets so sketchy that it boggles the mind.  He meant his crew for his side business, not his crew for the city who are already paid to maintain the grounds, but his crew that he employs so that Sugar would have to pay him so that he could hire his crew.

He said that he could consult with Sugar in the future, and give him a quote for pruning the crape myrtles, and could we please take our snips and cut the trimmings down short so that they will fit into a dump truck or a front-end loader.

I point out to the man that someone cut everything back about 6 months ago, and left debris, and we didn’t want to be held responsible for leaving something that someone else left.  He said that he personally cut everything back himself, and that he had left the stuff on the ground (that incidentally was still there).

Boggled?  I know I am.

Clearly we are in the wrong business.


Sugar clips the clippings.


This isn’t all.


We cut everything that we could with the loppers.


If you are not familiar with crape myrtles, they bloom on new wood. They are generally cut back before spring happens and the shoots start to grow.


It looks stark and just wrong somehow, cutting those little darlings back so severely.


These trees will thank Sugar come June.


That’s my jacket hanging on the fence.


And the “After” shot. There’s light in that far right corner now.


Sugar wanted a shot inside the fence.


This was once a huge oleander. City workerman cut it back.


Here’s a pile of debris next to the oleander that I pointed out had been here since last July. Mr. Workerman said that he did that. Why would anyone want to hire him?

 And now it’s time to go to the Distillery and have a beer some lunch.  Happy pruning!

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6 Responses to “Trimming The Crape Myrtles in Laurel Grove; Or, Oh Icy Hot I Heart You”

  1. TheBarnTales Says:

    It just made me want to say ugly words!! I love crape myrtle. AMD I LOVE OLEANDER. And those people are being paid to be completely incompetent! … I need to go clean something. I am that frustrated. But, yay for you and Sugar fixing it!


    • ruthrawls Says:

      I am still too boggled to cuss. I’ve taken quite a few photos there over the years, and those crape myrtles have just about been smothered by the Spanish moss. Those piles in front of the lot are covered with gray Spanish moss. The branches are actually bare in the wintertime.
      Sugar apparently must owe some dead person something. Plus he loves crape myrtles, too!


  2. Lenore Says:

    I do hope you post a picture when they bloom!


    • ruthrawls Says:

      Blooming usually happens around June, but the winter has been so mild that they might bloom in May! I’ll do a follow-up.


  3. Mother’s Day, 2013, at Laurel Grove Cemetery | Ruthrawls's Blog Says:

    […] Sugar and I went to Laurel Grove Cemetery on Mother’s Day, 2013.  Neither one of us have a mother there.  We simply wanted to check on the crape myrtles that he pruned in January. […]


  4. The Gold Mine in the Closet: Gulie Lawton Read | Ruthrawls's Blog Says:

    […] obituary mentions that she is buried at the Lawton-Jones vault in Laurel Grove. That’s where Sugar and I trimmed up the crape myrtles last year.  We didn’t know she was there because we didn’t have a list of occupants.  The […]


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