Crepe Murder Contest Deadline Looms! Make Them Pay!

February 21, 2013 | By | Comments (14)
Crepe Murder

Oh, the inhumanity! Crepe murder most foul! Photo by Steve Bender.

I was taking the scenic route to work this morning, past the county landfill, when this horrifying sight appeared. Two formerly lovely trees were chopped into ugly stumps. “Crepe murder most foul!!!!!!!!!!!” I screamed. “How can this still be happening?”

For years, Grumpy has railed against this hideous act like a voice in the wilderness, yet the crime wave continues. What more can I do? More importantly, what more can you do? Suddenly, a voice thundered from the heavens.

“Show the world what they have done! MAKE THEM PAY!

One More Week to Enter!
And this is how you can do it. Every time you see an innocent crepe myrtle butchered by some ignorant slob in your town, I want you take a digital photo of it and email it to Grumpy by going to this address: You can even give your photo a clever title, like “Ashes to ashes, sawdust to sawdust.”

In doing so, you will be publicly shaming the offenders into changing their ways, as folks did in olden days by putting scoundrels in stocks in the town square and pummeling them with rotten vegetables. (I miss the olden days.) And you just might be one of 10 winners chosen in Grumpy’s Third Annual Crepe Murder Contest!!

Winners will not only have their bravery and sneakery lauded on this blog for millions to see and applaud, but will also be presented with an ‘Early Bird’ crepe myrtle from our Southern Living Plant Collection. This superior plant grows no more than 8 feet tall and never needs pruning. And it starts blooming as early as Mother’s Day.

But remember — the deadline for entering is February 28, 2013. This gives you a whole week to scout your neighborhood for offensive acts of violence and photograph them when nobody’s watching. MAKE THEM PAY! You don’t want to disappoint the Big Guy.


  1. neighbornancy

    As a Master Gardener I’m not into the public shaming of my friends and neighbors, but would rather share the science-based information they need to prune appropriately. This is a fun contest, however, and if any crape myrtles are saved from murder in the process, go for it!

    March 6, 2013 at 2:15 pm
  2. Kim

    I always say don’t rape the crape. It is a tree !!!!

    March 6, 2013 at 12:53 pm
  3. NCGardener

    Hi, Steve,
    I never can enter this, because the local “murderers” here in the North Carolina Piedmont seem to start about 2-3 weeks later than your contest typically runs. So sad there’s no opportunity to publically shame and expose my neighborhood evildoers. Some are so bad, they may in fact see the winners, and decide to emulate them — after all, who doesn’t want to copy a winner?!

    March 6, 2013 at 9:14 am
  4. Steve Bender

    It just takes a little while for the entries to appear.

    People do it for two basic reasons. One is they planted a type in front of their house that gets far too big, when they could have planted one that stays a lot shorter. The second reason is that people are copycats. They see their neighbor do something and feel they have to keep up.

    March 3, 2013 at 1:39 pm
  5. Kim

    I echo Jeni, above. I am not from the south and have just become aware of beautiful crepe myrtles…WHY are people chopping them off like that? Is that their idea of “trimming”?

    March 3, 2013 at 8:26 am
  6. Carol Hartman

    Hi! Will the entries be updated before the end of the contest tonight? I sent one in yesterday, but was hoping to see it among the entries so I would know if I did it correctly. Thanks!

    February 28, 2013 at 7:33 pm
  7. Steve Bender

    You should have no problem sending photos from your iPad to the link provided. Keep in mind that it takes a couple of days for them to appear on the site.

    Southern Living has no connection to Southern Lady other than being located in the same city.

    February 25, 2013 at 10:43 am
  8. Rhonda Sells Lott

    Okay Steve Bender, you’ll love this. I opened up the latest copy of Southern Lady yesterday and low and behold on page 4, there is crepe murder in the background of the page picture! I could not believe my eyes, they had grown fairly tall and then hacked off. You can see just a little bit of the new green leaves growing from the top. So is Southern Lady tied to or related to Southern Living?

    February 23, 2013 at 3:59 pm
  9. joanne king

    how sad! adams co. master gardener try to teach them with a class each year, on NOT murdering these beautiful trees. they are so pretty in the winter. but still we see some that are choped off.

    February 23, 2013 at 5:47 am
  10. Jeni

    Why are people murdering these trees?

    February 22, 2013 at 10:40 pm
  11. Betty Burgess

    I want to enter the crepe murder contest by sending photos directly from my iPad. Is there an e-mail address where I can do that? I have photos of a massive assault of fifty or more crepe myrtles t the entrance to my neighborhood in Auburn, Alabama.

    Thanks, Betty Burgess

    Sent from my iPad

    February 21, 2013 at 5:47 pm
  12. Garden Walk Garden Talk

    I just sent a blogger to your site and told her you are the King of Crepe Myrtles. Please be kind, Grumpy. I did forewarn her though!

    February 21, 2013 at 2:22 pm
  13. twoofus55

    A shame what they did to Crepe Myrtles, I love them.

    February 21, 2013 at 10:41 am
  14. Barbara Whitehead

    This may be the BEST CONTEST EVER for crepe myrtle lovers.

    February 21, 2013 at 9:16 am

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