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The name “lilac” (Syringa Vulgaris) comes from the Persian word meaning bluish.  Purple lilacs considered the symbol of first love, are called the queen of shrubs.

The photo (left) is part of a series taken by Carla Coulson, a professional photographer who has done a series of similar photos of young women carrying massive bundles of flowers down a street in Paris.

French nurserymen so loved and nurtured lilacs that France became known for its beautiful lilacs…French hybrids.  If you’ve been to Paris in the springtime, you have no doubt happened upon the sweet smell of lilacs in the air.

The charming bistro in Montparnasse in Paris, “La Closerie des Lilas”, (meaning small enclosed lilac garden) was named for the lilacs that once surrounded the cafe.


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Screen Shot 2020-05-30 at 8.40.40 PMLilacs originally came from Eastern Europe and are in the same family as olive trees. These cold-hardy shrubs (trees), zone 3-7, require a dormant period of cooler temperatures to trigger flowering.

Demanding little effort, lilacs do best in a sunny location (6 hours a day), well-drained soil, and some compost added in the spring.  If you over-fertilize lilacs, they will not bloom.  This may explain why lilacs grown in public urban places bloom year after year with very little TLC.

If lilacs are left unpruned they can grow up to 30 feet tall, however, it’s best to prune soon after the flower petals start to run brown.  This encourages the shrub to produce large blooms for the following spring.

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For many years lilacs fell out of favour for modern gardeners, however, in the last five or so years they are making a comeback.

I’m always thrilled when my lilacs start to bloom, and for the first couple of weeks in June, the house smells heavenly.  It marks the beginning of “garden bouquet season“…first the lilacs, then the peonies, then the roses and in the fall, the hydrangeas.  Ahhhh……….

xox Judy

8 thoughts on “Lilacs…”

  1. Beautiful lilacs! Every years I send pictures of liliacs to my Polish friend who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. They don’t grow there and she misses them terribly. In Poland May/June lilacs of different colors fill the air with their heavenly fragrance, followed by chestnut trees blossoming. In July fragrant linden blossoms permeate the hot summer air.

  2. Probably my favorite tree in the back yard is a grafted Korean Lilac. When the breeze is blowing in the “right” direction, the scent wafts over the patio and deck. Heavenly on a warm summer evening! If I could only get that breeze to co-operate every evening when it’s in bloom!
    Thanks for the lovely post Judy.

    1. Hi Karen, Having a soft breeze on a warm summer evening with the scent of lilacs in the air is the perfect trifecta. The gale-force winds we’ve had lately makes this almost impossible! I did pick up a diptyque lilac candle the last time I was in Paris. It was the exact scent of lilac…unfortunately I think they may have discontinued that scent as I couldn’t find it on their website.

  3. They are right up there for some of my favorites!! I had these on my tables when i got married! I can still remember how the hall smelled!

    1. Hi Tina, Your anniversary must be close to mine which is today, June 6. When I got married the flowers were simple too and I loved it…I must have been a bit of a hippie then…my bouquet was just a handful of daisies.

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