One of the best things about global warming is the opportunity for gardeners in northern states to grow the magnificent crape myrtle tree. (Unfortunately, the advancing warm front also affects other trees for the worse — killing beeches in the forests of Europe.)
All summer long this magenta specimen puts on a dazzling show on a large vacant lot, virtually a park, behind the CVS store in the old Takoma neighborhood on the north edge of Washington, D.C., adjacent to Takoma Park, Md. The tree looks almost as good with deep red leaves in the fall and its smooth, bare bark in the winter.
Update: As of 2016, the tree’s gone and the large lot is iss longer vacant. A fairly attractive low-rise apartment complex, with elements of Prairie and Mission styles, has been built here, and two or three previously empty bungalows have been restored and returned to the housing stock.