Many of our best-loved plants first entered the South through Charleston. Here’s the fascinating story of how they got to the region's garden gateway and then to your backyard.
Photo: Van Chaplin, Ralph Anderson
After refusing to bloom in frigid England, Chinese native crepe myrtle (Lagerstroemia indica) showed its true colors when André Michaux introduced the tree into Charleston around 1786. Today, crepe myrtles flourish just about anywhere in the South. Audacious spikes of pink, purple, white, and red flowers crown its sculptural branches in the summer and turn to brilliant red and orange in the fall.