Crepe Murder 2014 — California Screaming

March 9, 2014 | By | Comments (3)
Crepe Murder 2014

Photo: Dee Dee

With apologies to the Beach Boys: “Well, the West Coast peeps are hip, they wouldn’t murder all their trees. They wouldn’t take a saw to a crepe myrtle row and cut them all off at the knees.” Whoops! It appears crepe murder is alive and well on the Left Coast. From Elk Grove, California, here’s winner #6!

Grumpy knows what you’re thinking. “We thought Californians were the taste-makers, the trendsetters, those beacons of enlightenment and culture that show benighted regions like the South the right ways to do everything. You know, like blue hair; building homes on fire-prone ridge tops; and through the miracle of excessive plastic surgery, looking like former movie star Kim Novak does today.”

Crepe Murder 2014

No wonder “Vertigo” director Alfred Hitchcock couldn’t keep his hands off of her!

But we were wrong. When it comes to a time-honored Southern tradition like crepe murder, Californians are following our lead! The Laguna Gateway Shopping Center uses the same sophisticated pruning techniques to maul its mall that ours do. This shows shoppers the right way to prune at home. I mean, if the Sizzler restaurant prunes like this, shouldn’t we all? Sizzler thinks fresh every day!

For sending Grumpy this superb example of West Coast wisdom, Dee Dee wins a lavender ‘Early Bird’ dwarf crepe myrtle that never needs pruning from our Southern Living Plant Collection. I can think of no better color for California than lavender. Am I right? Can I get an “Amen?” Amen!

Well, this has been one of Grumpy’s favorite crepe murder episodes ever, so I’ll leave you with one of my favorite songs from California’s own, The Mamas & The Papas.

All their limbs are gone
And our lives are gray
I saw how they pruned
On a winter’s day.
I just wish they’d put
Their stupid saws away
California Screaming
On such a winter’s day.


  1. Donna Howell

    I never thought we would do it… crape murder! I am always on the lookout for it. We love our tall beautiful crape myrtles that grow on the corners of our front yard in Aiken but when the February ice storm hit central South Carolina several of the tall branches were broken off. If we had trimmed only the broken ones the tree would be misshapen. It broke my heart to cut the tree back to 10-12 feet. Hopefully when it starts to regrow it will regain its beautiful shape again.

    March 14, 2014 at 9:49 am
  2. Betty Simmons

    I saw some crepe myrtles yesterday that looked exactly like this! I wanted to take a picture to send to you, but my husband ( who is also called Grumpy) wouldn’t stop the car. They were at the library in Lexington, SC. I was going to caption the picture, Illiterate Lopping at Lexington Library. I know they have a subscription to Southern Living. Apparently, they don’t read it.

    March 9, 2014 at 6:02 pm
  3. Martina Creger

    Thanks for the song! It’s now playing in my head over and over and over….

    March 9, 2014 at 11:03 am

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