A few years ago, while waiting for Miss JJ to finish her skating lessons at the rink in McKinney, I took a detour to visit the Crape Myrtle Park nearby and was pleasantly surprised to see such a wide variety of crape myrtles. Since then, I have visited a couple of times, but as is common in young families, with increasing demands on time and attention, the focus on parks and nature trails diminished. Of course, the pandemic has changed all that, one silver lining in an otherwise difficult situation.
A couple of weeks ago, the children and I decided to re-visit The World Collection Park of the Crape Myrtle Trails of McKinney. Spread out over 7.2 acres, the focal point of the Park, as its name implies, is to collect every known species of this plant and grow it here. And it’s the only one of its kind in the world!! The Crape Myrtle Trails website offers more information: “Landscape architect Rowland Jackson developed the landscape plans, and the fully planted park was dedicated in 2011. Extreme weather later that year (drought) and in subsequent years (cold) caused the loss of several varieties of crape myrtles, but the Crape Myrtle Trails Foundation and the City of McKinney have continued their work to complete and even expand the dream of the park.”
McKinney has a Crape Myrtle Trails, with several trees spread out over a wide area of the McKinney landscape, with a heavy concentration on El Dorado Parkway. You can visit the Trails by following this self-tour information and this map. In 2014, a resolution was passed honoring the City of McKinney as “America’s Crape Myrtle City.”
As for the Park, the trees have grown since the last time I visited. Perhaps because we went in late July, there was not quite the profusion of blooms as I anticipated. The website mentions that most will bloom between late June and early July. Still, the plethora of colors, and the differences between the varieties were worth investigating. The Park has many paved walkways that allow access to see the trees and blooms, up close and personal. A sundial at the northern end of the park piqued our curiosity; I don’t think we have yet figured out that one. There was signage detailing crape myrtles and their history in the US, their taxonomy, etc. There are several benches placed all over the Park for visitors to use, as also picnic tables. Parking is available at the entrance to the Park, and admission is free. Of note, no restrooms are available on-site.
The World Collection Park is located at 6452 Collin-McKinney Parkway, McKinney, TX 75070. Its open seven days a week year-round. You can read more about how the history of the Crape Myrtles in McKinney, and information about visiting here.