It’s almost the end of April here, and the Lilacs are just starting to come into their own. Lilacs are a favorite shrub here for a lot of reasons – one being that they bloom pretty early in the year, another that they come in several lovely colors and are SO fragrant.
Lilacs are the State flower of New Hampshire, can grow up to 22 feet tall, and are tough as nails! They come in purple, blue, white and pink, and I’ve seen photos of a yellow one, as well. They only flower for about three weeks, but if you’ve ever had a bouquet of them, or better yet, walked past a lilac “fence”, you know why we gardeners are so enamored of them.
Lilacs have a special place in my heart because they will even grow in the high desert of Arizona, where I got to know them first. As I said, they’re tough, and drought tolerant as well. Even after the blooms are gone past, they’re a welcome sight with a thick covering of thin, deep green leaves.
One of the great joys of having a yard big enough for lilacs is being able to gather armloads of flowers to bring into the house. They will spread their scent throughout the room they’re in, and for those of us who grew up with them, they evoke childhood memories of Moms smiling at bouquets given by grinning kids.
If you’re going to plant lilacs in your yard, be aware! If they’re happy, they’ll spread out and take over a LARGE area. They spread from the base of the plant, and I’ve seen old specimens that were easily 20 feet around.
They prefer full sun and a neutral or alkaline soil, and are an easy-care choice for the novice. You can train them into a tree shape, if you start when they’re young, but most of us just prune them up into a hedge or column.
Lilacs are an important early season pollinator food source early in the year, when many flowers are just getting started. Bees, butterflies and even hummingbirds will visit your lilac shrubs. Although Lilacs are not native to North America, they’ve naturalized here extensively. Thankfully, they’re not considered invasive, though, so plant as many as your yard will hold!
As always, corrections, comments, criticism is always welcome at FlamingPurpleJellyfish@gmail.com! Hope you have a grand day!
With Grace and Gratitude