Friday, May 23, 2008

Speaking of Lilacs...

As May draws to a close, so has the blooming season for lilacs here, and what a glorious season it was. Each time I walked by our neighbors' large lilac, which borders our property, and caught a whiff of its scent, I was reminded of what my grandma told me years ago. She said that people used to plant lilacs near their doors so when people came to visit, they could enjoy the scent too, as they entered the house.

Our own lilac history began with a white double one I received for my birthday in the early '90s from my friend Jane.

She knew I loved lilacs. When we chose a planting spot for the white lilac, we decided to put it in a place that had lain bare for a few years. There had been a white peony there, planted by the original owners of our house, but had strangely disappeared a few years before.

The white lilac grew and bloomed for many years, until one day, a few weeks after the lilac season was over, I was mowing the lawn and something white caught my eye as I went past the lilac bush. I got off the mower and walked over to it and couldn't believe what I saw. White peony flowers!
That silly peony had come back to life! It was so enmeshed with the now well-established lilac bush, there was no way to separate the two. We dubbed it the "Peolac" and they continue to co-exist to this day, both giving us beautiful white blooms in their own seasons.

The "Peolac" - circa 2004

The second lilac we planted was a Syringa meyeri. It was planted near the trellis, which at that time didn't have a garden surrounding it. Only the honeysuckle clambered up and over it. The lilac grew and became a very nice small green shrub, but it never bloomed. I mentioned it to my mom one day, and she said it was likely not receiving enough sun, so we moved it, and sure enough, the next year we were rewarded with beautiful blooms. (Another reason a lilac might not bloom is if they're pruned in the fall or early spring. Lilacs bloom on old wood, so the best time to prune is right after the flowering season has ended. Like now.)

Then my grandma decided we needed a Japanese Maple. (Oh YEAH, baby!!) Where to put it? The perfect place for it was ... oh, dear ... where the meyeri lilac was. And the lilac was in bud, ready to bloom. Sometimes you just have to make choices that aren't fun to make. We moved the lilac and miraculously, it didn't show a single sign of transplant shock and gave us beautiful lavender blooms for the next few weeks. Then it promptly died.

Two years ago, we bought another lilac, Syringa vulgaris 'Sensation', which has beautiful deep purple blooms with white picotee edges. This year, I bought another. So now we're surrounded by beautiful lilacs and in early May, we're rewarded with heavenly scents when soft breezes blow.

Perhaps the most unusual lilac we have was purchased last year. It's a cut-leaf lilac (Syringa laciniata) and it has a very lacy open look.

The foliage is graceful and reminds me a bit of Corydalis foliage, and its blooms are petite and fragrant. This shrub gives a very different look and provides a more attractive foliage than the common lilacs when it's not in bloom.

Each kind of lilac has its own little bloom season, one overlapping the other. While this extends the lilac season a bit, it's over all too soon.


Lets Plant said...

Your pictures look amazing!!

Anonymous said...

The 'sensation' lilac almost reminds me of a ground orchid!

Lovely photos!

Cheryl said...

I love the thought of the lilac and peony together, what a lovely combination.
The fragrance in your garden must be absolutely divine.

Shady Gardener said...

Fun stories, great memories! (Isn't that a great part of what gardening is about?) ;-) Love the peolac!

Nancy J. Bond said...

All your lilacs are beautiful -- they are truly one of the highlights of spring with their gorgeous colors and heady scent.

Unknown said...

Lovely lilacs, I've never seen a double before. I like the pelac too. I hope my lilacs are still blooming in a couple of weeks so I can enjoy them for a few days.

I've been eyeing up the pink and yellows lately too. I'm going to have a nice large collection of lilacs. Hopefully I'll be able to bring a few of them to my new garden soon.

Anonymous said...

I love lilacs too and I just planted a Miss Kim. Your white one is a realy beauty.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

I just love that first picture of the lilac bloom. You have a nice collection of lilacs. They make me want to go buy some more lilacs for our garden.

Kara said...

Beautiful lilac pics! I wish I had a peolac. :)

Kylee Baumle said...

Lets Plant ~ Thank you! :-)

Misti ~ I never thought of that!

Cheryl ~ It can be pretty sweet at times!

Shady Gardener ~ It's amazing how gardening has brought back so many memories from my childhood. It's like I've always somehow been connected to gardening, even when I wasn't a gardener!

Nancy ~ I love this time of year!

Cinj ~ Oooh! YELLOW! I don't think I've ever seen one of those! Now I'll have to look for one. ;-)

Anna ~ The Miss Kims are great lilacs!

Lisa ~ Well, you have my permission to go buy some, Lisa! You can never have too many lilacs! ;-)

Kara ~ Well, you know how to do it now! LOL

Jane O' said...

I love lilacs, I picked some today with some lily of the vallet, my two all time favorite scents.

Muum said...

I haven't seen the cut-leaf lilac before, it is great, and I love the foliage. I think I want a white lilac, I have a dark purple, two old-fashioned ones (one that is a 'heritage' lilac - a start from my mother, whose plant was a start from her mother) and one I bought and can't remember what it is! I just wish the 'lilac season' lasted longer!

Aiyana said...

Your lilacs are lovely. 'Sensation' is especially beautiful.

Unknown said...

I'm excited that this year our 'Sensation' lilac is going to have a lot of blooms. I just love it, though my Preston and Korean lilacs are more fragrant, I think.

Glad too that the wedding was so wonderful. I knew it would be...and hope you've recuperated from all the excitement by spending a peaceful weekend in your garden.

Shady Gardener said...

I know that my Aunt MEA was the source my gardening inspiration! I am forever indebted. :-)

Yolanda Elizabet Heuzen said...

Lilacs galore! Why don't I have any? Very strange that. Must buy some pronto. Love that double white one, does it have a scent? Sensation looks pretty er well, sensational, love that picotee edging. Wish I could pop round to smell the lilacs!

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