Getting the crape myrtle you want is tough when it’s not in bloom

White-flowered crape myrtles are common, but there are dozens of different colors and sizes from which to choose. (Walter Reeves for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

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White-flowered crape myrtles are common, but there are dozens of different colors and sizes from which to choose. (Walter Reeves for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

Q: Last fall, I purchased what I thought was Zuni crape myrtle. It is showing lots of powdery mildew, which it’s supposed to resist. Its flowers don’t resemble Zuni. I suspect it isn’t a Zuni. Robert Twilling, Cartersville

A: You are absolutely correct. Crape myrtles have a wide assortment of bloom colors, ranging from white to pink, red, purple and lavender. ‘Zuni’ is one of the best purple-blooming crape myrtles. It was released by the U.S. National Arboretum as a superior cultivar due to its resistance to powdery mildew. You didn’t say how the flowers don’t look like ‘Zuni’ but if the flower color doesn’t match, it’s not ‘Zuni’. Contact the store where you bought it and ask them for a replacement. In case you are curious about the huge selection of crape myrtle colors, sizes and mildew resistance, I’ve collected everything you need at bit.ly/GAcrapevar.

Q: I have an arbor with a Confederate jasmine planted on one side. It is growing great up the post and across the top. I am attempting to train the vine to grow down the post on the other side of my arbor because I don’t have room to plant one in the ground there. Is there a way to do it? Chris Withers, email

A: A vine’s natural habit is to grow toward light. This is called phototropism. The tips of the branches of your jasmine will always grow upward. But that doesn’t mean you can’t fool it somehow. Your task now is to select two or three limbs growing from the main vine closest to your house and allow them to grow 6 feet long. It would be best to hang 6-foot lengths of twine above the main vine and train these sub-vines to climb up them. When these sub-vines have grown to 6 feet high, clip the twine and gently bend them down along the bare arbor post. Tie them loosely to the post. As time passes, the sub-vines will send out shoots that will grow upward, covering the post and showing greenery on both ends of the arbor.

Q: We read that putting colorful plastic snakes in the garden can help deter deer, rabbits, and birds. Is this true? Scott and Gail, Dalton

A: There are plenty of companies and “experts” that claim plastic snakes scare birds and other animals. They may be deterred for a little while, but eventually birds and animals become “habituated” to the snake, especially if it doesn’t move. Plastic owls, balloons, pie pans, scarecrows and shiny tape are useless against birds and other creatures.

Email Walter at georgiagardener@yahoo.com. Listen to his occasional garden comments on “Green and Growing with Ashley Frasca” Saturday mornings on 95.5 WSB. Visit his website, www.walterreeves.com, or join his Facebook Page at bit.ly/georgiagardener, for his latest tips.