Sunday, May 7, 2017


So many of the good, old yards have at least one large stand of lilacs.

Even when they are not in bloom, the shape and texture of the bark of lilacs evokes familiarity and calm, especially next to lichen covered stones. This seems the case with so many heirloom trees, shrubs, and flowers.

But the blooms themselves, around for just weeks a year, add so much. The shots of color mark the imminent transition to summer. And the fragrance shifts from subtle to strong with the faintest wind.

Planting one’s own requires even more patience. Some wait up to six years for their first blooms. They like sunny, well-drained soil. And they bloom more if you leave them alone.

The lilac is the official state flower of New Hampshire (hardy, like its residents they say) and was first imported from England and planted in Portsmouth in 1750.

Apple blossoms are sprinkled everywhere this time of year.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio Glaucus), Male

Un-pruned, lilacs can grow to twenty feet.

Most are a light purple but can also include white, pink, and a darker purple.

And in a wonderful horticultural zero-sum transition, as lilacs leave, we get lupine season.


  1. We have a white lilac in our backyard that is at least fifteen feet tall. At night the fragrance is very heady. A spring treat.

  2. What a lovely post. I have a special affection for and connection to lilacs that mark my birthday every year.

    1. Fond memories...whenever I would go home for a birthday meal, there was always a vase of lilacs on the table waiting for me. Such simple pleasures that meant a lot!

  3. Lilacs make a great indoor bouquet, however they don't last long. Even slitting the woody stems to enhance water uptake doesn't seem to help.

  4. Thank you for all these lovely pictures, great compositions. The Grumpy Gardener has many good tips on lilacs and their care.

  5. Surprised how hardy lilacs are - there one that creeps up the side of a shop in town that seems to be growing right out of the concrete. My California area can experience a range from 45 to 80+ degrees in one day in the "summer". Droughts, then (esp. 2017) floods. Year after year there is a bower of lilacs over the store with corresponding lovely scent.

  6. My grandmother's house had lilacs all around the front. It is the most nostalgic fragrance for me and can send me into tears at the thought of those beautiful days gone by. Nothing is better than a lilac. They don't grown where I am, not cold enough. We get them at the florist shops around town, but they are not the same, not at all.