More Horror! More Ugliness! Crepe Murder 2016!

March 20, 2016 | By | Comments (11)
Crepe Murder

Submitted by Taylor Williams

If last week’s crepe murders gave you garden variety nightmares, this week’s will seem like a sleepover at Freddy Krueger’s. Why do people do things like this? Some because of ignorance. Some because of hostility. And some because they believe that making it into the Grumpy Gardener gives their little lives meaning. They are correct.

Our first winner (above), sent in by Taylor Williams of Harahan, Louisiana, is so brilliant in a bizarre, cruel sort of way it almost leaves me speechless. These are no common stumps cut back to nubbins. Notice the care and artistry at work. The bottomless galvanized tub at the base adds texture and style, anchoring the murdered crepe to the landscape. The white rocks at the top of the tub match those below between sidewalk and curb. Reddish lava rocks nestled up against the tub echo the shutters of the house in the distance. Bravo, sir, whoever did this! Shall we expect your next work inside the Louvre?

Crepe Murder

Submitted by Janice Rice

Let me present winner #2, captured by Janice Rice outside of this store in Fairfax, Virginia. The owner of the shop is dyeing for attention and wool stop at nothing to get it. I yarn to condemn this outrageous act, but darn it, I just can’t. Needleless to say, colorful trunks weave a tale of a troubled seamstress hanging onto sanity by the slimmest of threads. And sew it goes.

Crepe Murder

Submitted by Taylor Williams

Gosh, everything I need to say about our next winning photo is already expressed in the sign! Dead end, indeed. Kudos, Taylor Williams, again for recording these lovely atrocities carefully pollarded in the European style that are said to have inspired painter Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.”

Crepe Murder

“The Scream.” Photo:

We don’t know what the perps who butcher these trees are smoking, but they likely have the Munchies.

Crepe Murder

Submitted by David Ellis

David Ellis of Lillian, Alabama, wants Europe to know that Bama beats all when it comes to crepe murder as high art. You can tell by looking at this winner that the artist is expressing the angst of high-paced life that hurls us off in every direction, often to cross purposes. Or else he needed a coat rack. Whatevs.

Crepe Murder

Submitted by Lynn Case

The best surgeons understand that learning doesn’t stop when you leave medical school. It’s a life-long process that hones your skills every day in every way. The photo above from Lynn Case proves the enlightened doctors at this medical center take continuing education to heart. When no patients show up for amputations, eager surgeons step outside and practice on the nearest crepe myrtles. A limb is a limb, right?

Crepe Murder

Submitted by Barbara Wise

Despite Grumpy’s repeated campaigns to halt crepe murder, this reprehensible practice continues unabated in the South. So should we wave the white flag? Give up? Surrender? Join with those whose brains function only on odd-numbered days and mutilate beautiful crepe myrtles on even ones?

NO, I SAY! Like Nashville’s Barbara Wise, 2016’s final winner, let us raise our fists in defiance! Offenders may grossly saw, lop, or prune, but we will never be silent. We stand together, forever, in righteousness and disgust.

To all the winners — if you haven’t already done so, please email your mailing address to, so that I may ship you your treasured award — a signed copy of The New Southern Living Garden Book. Bless you, my children!


  1. CC

    Steve, I have some pictures of a yard full of mutilated crepe myrtles. How do I submit them to you? These folks have been doing the same massacre for over 10 years.

    April 21, 2016 at 4:22 pm
  2. Midge

    Is there any way to turn a crepe myrtle tree into a crepe myrtle bush? Ours are very large (25 years old) and the blossoms are forever falling into our pool.
    I hate the thought of removing them but they are driving my husband nuts! Clearly they were a bad choice to put around a pool.
    Thank you

    April 1, 2016 at 4:05 pm
  3. david

    how to repair the “nubbed” crepe myrtle? trim at angle just under the ball or nub?

    March 25, 2016 at 5:44 pm
  4. sandra mcpartland

    For all of those wondering how to prune them correctly…Grumpy has had the foresight to conveniently give us directions!! “Crepe Myrtle Pruning Step-by-Step”. Right here on the Southern Living site. Read it. Learn it. Live it!

    March 23, 2016 at 10:22 am
  5. Rosie Lewis

    I want to leave a copy of why you don’t have to murder your crepes every year to people that do this……

    March 21, 2016 at 3:44 pm
  6. Terri Cannon

    You should not need to trim crepe myrtles. Maybe people need to look for smaller varieties or plant in more appropriate spaces. If pruning is needed the limb should be cut back to main trunk to preserve the graceful shape of the tree.

    March 21, 2016 at 9:51 am
  7. Diana

    Then, please show us the proper way to trim crepe myrtles.

    March 20, 2016 at 10:26 pm
  8. Jim Barnett

    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder !!

    March 20, 2016 at 10:18 pm
  9. Mary Worton

    I wish I could leave a copy of this on my neighbor down the road doorstep. They just murdered about two dozen crepe myrtles out in front of their house.

    March 20, 2016 at 7:55 pm
  10. K.R.

    Ok, I understand what not to do, but what should we do to trim these trees???? Help.

    March 20, 2016 at 7:22 pm
  11. Lois Merritt

    Bravo. Great fun as usual.

    March 20, 2016 at 1:03 pm

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